With the growing high-end competition in the online market sector, it is necessary to think beyond the traditional marketing channels and adopt creative ways to endorse product offerings. Today, major growing companies are testing beyond A/B testing across the entire customer’s journey rather than just sticking to the top of the funnel. But, what if you are a new start-up looking to create your identity within the market? How will you cope with the current and extraordinary brands in the market? How will you drive the potential traffic to yourself?
Startups conduct minor tests using paid ads and organic search to make this happen. Making changes will let them know what channels are getting them more traction and what variables worked most. They also A/B tests different scenarios and tweaks to get optimum results and a high conversion rate. The improvement process does not end here, and it continues with time. It leads to data-driven experimentations that help them succeed and grow their business, called growth hacking. Growth hacking is one of the innovative ways to take your brand to another level and create a reputation within the market.
The term growth hacking is the new buzzword in the market and has gained popularity since 2021, as it marked the rise of start-ups exponentially. It had shown an immense impact on businesses by taking a less-traveled path. For many people, this might be the new term and wondering what it is, how it is helping the business to grow, challenges, benefits, and other details.
This article will enlighten you with this terminology and how it has done wonders differently for many existing and upcoming businesses.
Growth hacking is gaining more attention due to its primary focus on the growth of the business based on the hard facts and experiments conducted. In 2010, Sean Ellis (GrowthHacker’s founder and CEO) coined this term and has used it to help many businesses to grow.
Growth hacking is a process that helps in accelerating the business’s growth using innovative methods. It starts right from the early development phase and lasts throughout the SDLC. There is no impact of the budget and timelines on growth hacking. It helps in optimizing the website to provide a fantastic user experience. Growth hacking is majorly associated with marketing. It provides short-term strategies to get success and retain most of the customers.
But the line between the product and marketing is getting blur day by day. Thus most companies prefer to have a dedicated growth team. These growth teams provide solutions to connect the marketing effort with user experience.
They go through the entire funnel from awareness to referral and conduct tests based on those insights to unlock business growth.
This process is repeated repeatedly to scale up the business quickly and efficiently.
Before the rise of growth hacking, traditional marketing strategies were popular to improve the outlook for any online business.
Traditional marketing mainly focuses on promoting finished products and services, which differs from growth hacking, which deals with products under development.
Traditional marketing increases the sales of your products and generates revenue. Though the methods used in traditional marketing are similar to growth hacking, the goals are significantly different.
Unlike traditional marketers, growth hackers look for the most efficient, effective, and small “hacks” or strategies “shortcuts,” ensuring definite success with low costs. Several factors impact the performance of any website; thus, there is no clear image of what factors lead to high conversions, making it challenging for the team to understand where to invest their time, energy, and money.
Growth hackers only focus on what works, and they keep on continuing with the testing process until they reach a concrete conclusion. They do not consider how big the process is, and they only need results driving the business’s success. It does not matter how many people know your brand, product, or services for growth hackers. What matters is that you are under the radar of potential customers to become loyal customers.
Growth hackers use a data-driven approach to achieve their goals rather than making decisions based on assumptions. Thus, they can get measurable, trackable, and calculable results to prove their point. Growth hackers are involved in product development to improve the product consistently. They do rigorous user testing, data mining, and other market analyses. It helps them improve the product by making required changes as per the requirement of the potential customers. They go through the entire marketing funnel to trigger product/market fit (PMF) to ensure growth.
They make decisions based on analytics, landing pages, and A/B testing to go through the customer’s changing behavior. They do not work on assumptions.
Most startups do not have the required resources to manage their metrics and achieve success with limited budgets. Growth hackers are only concerned with the lifetime value of potential customers. They work to optimize the entire “AARRR” sales funnel, which stands for.
Awareness: make sure that the customers know about your brand.
Acquisition: How do customers find you?
Activation: Creating an amazing user experience and inspires them to take action.
Retention: influencing customers to come back.
Revenue: generating revenue streams.
Referral: creating more happy customers, so they become your sales force.
Growth hackers measure each part of the sales funnel to understand their customers’ pain points and take mediate actions to eliminate those pain points.
Exponential business growth gives rise to the high demand for a growth hacker by working in crucial environments and utilizing a systematic approach.
Due to the tremendous hike in the startups, growth marketing came into consideration. Most start-ups have a small budget, and their success depends on their continuous growth. Many companies came up with innovative ideas and strategies to scale up their business with less budget to maintain continuous growth. Programmers seem to have developed those cost-effective strategies, not the marketers.
Thus making both the marketing different. We have mentioned some of the significant differences between traditional and growth marketing.
Uncertainty in Startups
While starting a start-up, there is no certainty of how well the business will go and how much time you will start getting traction. Apart from this, identifying the potential customers, in the beginning, is challenging. It is always risky without knowing whether your brand will work or not. Analyzing everything in a small period is important as well as challenging.
This crucial environment makes growth hacking different from traditional marketing. The work of growth hackers is to spread the word about your brand to generate sales. On the other hand, traditional marketers considers the brand’s overall marketing.
The Product Approach
In both cases, the significant difference is the way the product is designed. The traditional marketing approach focuses on attracting the customers to the products via various methods such as websites, ads, etc., while growth hacking is where the efforts are made to make the product unique that the customers will like. This minor difference makes both approaches work but in different scenarios.
Thus, there is a high requirement of growth hackers to redesign the products to make them more effective while considering all the essential facts about the customers to come to the product. But, marketers only come into the picture when the product is entirely ready to be launched in the market.
Different Approaches to Promote the Brand
Both traditional marketing and growth hacking uses different modes of promoting their product. With traditional marketing, you need to invest in paid ads on social media, platforms, TV, etc. traditional marketers have to work within the limit of the available budget and adjust that budget based on analysis.
But, in the case of growth hacking, growth hackers use cost-effective strategies yet provide maximum results to promote the brand and the product. They use engineering and innovative tools and techniques to increase the reach of their products without putting a hole in your pocket.
The Difference in Growth Rate
Startups have an accurate scope of expanding their business faster than the already established businesses. Startups only require a person willing to help them make cost-effective strategies to double or triple their growth within months. Growth hackers can handle the situation well and achieve their target with limited resources.
But with traditional marketing, markets cannot predict the growth at the early stage of the development. It might result in a slow growth rate, as they have to act according to the development and budget constraints.
Variations in Required Budgets
Both marketings approach differs a lot when we talk about budgeting. Growth hackers proceed with their target on growth, and here budget does not impact their decisions throughout the development phase. It is because startups do not have much funding at the start compared to well-established businesses.
Growth hackers always go for cheaper alternatives to maximize outcomes and ensure definite growth.
Traditional marketing does not have dedicated sales funnels. It spreads brand awareness and build a solid reputation at the top of the funnel.
But the marketers do not have ample results as the analysis is not data-driven like growth hacking. Traditional marketing considers several metrics to predict the result of their marketing campaign.
While growth hacking has defined funnels that help the growth hackers to conduct tests to optimize their sales, growth hackers define some actionable goals, form hypotheses based on the feedback, and prioritize their goals accordingly. Growth hackers use analytics to analyze the progress.
Marketers are required only to have the online marketing ability, while the growth hacker comes with a high-end skill set, including online data analytics, programming, and automation. Not only this, the growth hackers must have experience with A/B testing, creating and designing custom landing pages, behavioral tracking, and generating analytics reporting.
Growth hacking is majorly related to the system and processes included. It’s about implementing new ideas, testing, and optimizing the process. It is all about finding the potential weakness within the system.
Growth hacking helps customers grow while providing a general methodology or approach to achieve exponential growth. We have mentioned the most important pillars of growth hacking that can be considered while implementing it.
Achieving Mindset for Growth
Growth hacking cannot be achieved if you do not have a positive mindset. You need to focus on all your efforts to ensure a specific growth goal, for example, “to reach to revenue of 10 million by 2020.” make sure that your analysis and gathered metrics are measurable, achievable, and straightforward. This will help you guide your team members to move in the right direction.
As a growth hacker, all your actions need to be in the direction of achieving your goals.
Growth hackers are risk-takers by constantly questioning about “what if?” It requires the growth jackets to come out of their comfort zone and makes them more effective. So without the right mindset, growth hackers might not be productive enough to find the most reliable solutions to enhance growth.
Creating a Dedicated Growth Team
Growth hackers must be cross-skilled, catering the T-shape where the horizontal bar determines the skills required, and the vertical bar determines how deep those skills need to be. A single person cannot possess each skill; thus, we require a dedicated team that is well-skilled in different niches.
Having a solid team helps the growth manager to get instant results with less effort. Thus, choosing the team wisely do wonders.
How and What to Measure?
As a growth hacker, you need to measure all your and your team’s actions. If you are succeeding, it’s excellent, but if not, you need to stop and jump to the next idea to implement. Growth hackers ignore assumption-based decisions and consider hard facts to ensure growth. If you want to know what works and whatnot, you need to measure each step towards success or failure.
In the case of marketers, they do not measure, thus not predicting their ROI based on their marketing campaign. It might be possible due to the lack of knowledge of measuring and measuring. This is why growth hackers are more efficient and focused, as they measure and help them understand what led them to success to eliminate the chances of failure in the future.
Measuring your steps have been made easier with the availability of the right tools at your disposal. Some of the tools are- CrazyEggs, Google Analytics, etc. These tools help growth hackers to get valuable insights and track their performance.
Analyzing the Market Trends.
The main reason for the startup’s failure is that they do not have a unique product to offer. Even if you have something unique, there is no guarantee that it will get the customer’s attention. But, if you successfully get the insights in your market early, you can save a lot of holes in your pocket. His why growth hackers are essential, as they get this insight for you and help you understand the market trends. They do detailed market research and tweak your product according to market requirements.
They will also analyze the changing behavior of the customers and understand what drives them. You can use surveys, focus groups, interviews, and other traditional market research tactics to understand your customers.
The Product-Market Fit (P.M.F)
Once you analyze the market, you can understand if your product is a perfect fit, determined by P.M.F. growth hackers looking for alternate and practical solutions to eliminate the uncertainties your customers have about your product.
Mostly in companies, product development teams and marketing team works differently. The product developers create the product, and the marketer sells it to the customer. But, there are no such boundaries for growth hackers.
While working on the goals, growth hackers consider each option, including making changes to the product based on their market research, measurement, and testing. Based on test results, the team should make the required tweaks per the customers.
P.M.F is all about talking and implementing steps to enhance growth into your product. It is considered that if your product has at least 40% of users report, which would be disappointed if they could not use your product, you probably have a PMF. A company with about 40% PMF has more chances to succeed.
Using the Proper Channels
Many companies spend much money on paid advertisements on Google and Facebook without understanding if it will generate ROI or not. If you are not getting effective results, it is time to change your working approach. We did not mean that these advertisements are not effective. But you cannot consider them the only available traction medium for your business. You need to expand on various unknown platforms or channels to increase your radar. How will you approach the targeted and potential customers if you have not done this yet?
You can leverage several marketing channels to reach your customers and help your business to scale. These channels aim not to increase the reach but how effectively it attracts customers. You might be able to use every channel simultaneously, but choosing the right platform is necessary as it will target the customers to make the sale.
No one can predict the market’s future, so continuous testing is essential. The basic requirement is that the right people know about you. If you get stuck with some common channels, you tend to miss out on significant opportunities. Invest some time testing the possibilities.
The Key to Optimization
After having the proper growth mindset, putting together a well-rained and cross-skilled team, measuring the steps taken, analyzing your market’s trend and customer’s behavior, and opting for the most effective traction channels, it is time to see the results of their combined effect.
The key to ensuring growth is the continual testing process. Analyzing the data and market, you to know how to optimize the process. Go with a systematic approach to develop hypotheses and then test them using facts.
Below are the six essential elements that you should constantly monitor, measure, tweak and optimize to quick growth.
Value: communicate the benefits of the product you are offering with clarity.
Relevance: make sure that the design elements on your site are motivating and stimulating enough to make the desired action.
Clarity: focus on eliminating the chances of confusion for every customer.
Distraction: make sure that no elements on your website stop the customers from making the desired actions to enhance sales.
Anxiety: make sure that your website is credible.
Urgency: make sure to add a sense of urgency for people to take action.
The scope and usage of growth hacking are constantly evolving as growth hackers are rushing towards finding new hacks and methodologies to ensure definite business growth. Many companies have adopted for running experiments with the same techniques. Growth hacking is no longer limited to startups but is expanding quickly to well-established markets.
You can see various top giants who have leveraged the benefits of growth hacking to get instant business growth with the right strategy at their disposal. Some companies are DropBox, Airbnb, Instagram, etc. These companies use growth hacking techniques to make their place in the market within no time.
Also, with the right tools and technologies available in the market, any business can implement growth hacking within their business. All you need to do is gear up and hire a dedicated growth team that will take your business to another level by analyzing the market trends.
By Vijay Singh Khatri • June 28, 2022