The “growth hacking” phrase causes a lot of hype and confusion at the same time. In a world of business and marketing there is much buzz about it and whether it already is redefining marketing, or whether it is a kind of marketing in disguise.
Yet, as a brand new thing it also evokes misunderstanding. A big part of it is the use of term “hacking” as it strikes people as wrong and shady. But no one is actually hacking into personal accounts or data illegally, and it is a figurative denotation for business growing ways.
Traditional marketers are skilled in promoting conventional products and services, but the world of internet and mobile devices has changed drastically the perception of a product. Now it is not only a physical thing, but non-material bits of information and software. Snapchat is now a product.
The goal of growth hacking is to find a working method for a specific product.
So called growth hackers realize the hidden potential of software products to spread itself and try to come up with news for it. Unfortunately, there’s much misperception and misrepresentation. Often growth hacking is mistaken for something other than what it is – a legitimate and innovative form of business growth.
“Hacker” is usually used to describe a person trying to get unauthorized access to systems or account. In other words, breaking into something without permission. A growth hacker is not hacking in the illegal sense of the word. He/she is seeking to go beyond what is generally advised. He might take advantage of any available exploits, but not necessarily.
A focus here is on methodology that is both scalable and testable, and on multiple disciplines. The aim is to extract insights and identify the right incentives for attracting users and potential customers. For example, when a new social platform publishes its interface a growth hacker might use it to attract users. Growth hackers are always in search of such tricks and opportunities.
Hacker may also refer to a software engineer in some cases. Software, databases, API’s, and related tools are in constant use to find ways for growing the business. All products nowadays are technology based so skills in tech tools are vital.
A growth hacker is not certainly a programmer, though is urged to use tech solutions.
Lines between product development and marketing are growing thinner. Teams are urged to work together in result-driven ways. Growth potential requires numerous technical details. Marketing efforts are still about getting customers interested in products, but the shift is about how they are doing it. A transition from user-centered to a technology-centered approach is happening.
Growth Hacking Myths
Myth #1: growth hacking is all about self promotion.
Strangely, growth hacking has been often viewed as a pushy method of business owners to allure attention to their companies. Of course personal branding is one of the methods, but not the whole essence of growth hacking. It may be not even required and used at all times. On the contrary, it is about potential customers appreciation, not simply self-promotion.
Myth #2: growth hacking means hyping up on social media.
This was born due to social media entrepreneurs who jumped into growth hacking wagon early. And due to a rise of social media itself, surely. The initial efforts here have been focused on getting marketing messages across every social platforms and were almost equal to spam. But real growth hacking does not necessarily require social media. In cases where it does pundits usually identify the target audience and its preferred social channels, and then build a loyal following.
Myth #3: complicated back end programming and unlawful stuff.
There have been cases of growth hacking abuse, sure. But that’s not all what it is. Famous Airbnb’s trick with Craigslist is not the entire representation of the concept. Good growth hackers may be actually lacking skills in programming at all. They are more of strategists, focused on numbers and analytics.
Myth #4: growth hacking is only good for tech companies.
Not the case. All businesses are in need of growth. Much of the coverage is on innovative businesses like Dropbox. However, growth hacks and new marketing ways are being discovered by marketers regardless of the industry or a target audience.
Myth #5: expect immense and rapid growth.
Instead of gaining adopters with this proclamation the most damage is caused, probably. There is no magic wand, you need to work hard and try hard as always. A bummer for some, but a source for inspiration for others. Growth hackers make effort not to grow the business quickly, but to make growth sustainable. It is more about growth-focused mindset and new methods of growth.
- Growth hacking is the mindset more than anything else;
- Commitment to growth with or without traditional marketing methods;
- General marketing is important, but a narrower focus on growth might be quite beneficial for startups or struggling businesses;
- Distribution channels are reshaped, understanding online activity of users is crucial to capture them;
- Growth hackers use the knowledge of product to find technology-based ways for growth that often are unconventional;
- Growth hacking is trending within and along marketing right now and is expected to be adopted by companies and enterprises.
For more information on the subject, check out The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking.
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