Every now and then a buzzword comes about driving both marketers and entrepreneurs into a frenzy of discussion. One of the latest buzzwords to hit the business community is “growth hacking”.
Since entrepreneur Sean Ellis first floated the concept in 2010, numerous articles have been dedicated to explaining the concept and why it is relevant. So what does it mean, and how is it relevant to you?
A growth hacker is someone whose sole role is to find ways to reach a wide audience.
The original idea behind growth hacking applies mainly to start-ups. In the early stages of development of any start-up, achieving growth requires adopting imaginative, experimental, highly-focused approaches to marketing.
These approaches involve rapid cycles of testing, feedback, and adjusting course with the goal of rapidly discovering the tactics that boost your company’s growth (particularly, growing a base of customers.) The promise is faster, more efficient growth compared to the slower, more expensive, less focused traditional approaches.
Scalability is key
The most important part of achieving growth is having a scalable product. The product or service offered needs to hold the potential for serious scalability. Classic examples are platforms such as AirBnB and Uber.
In the early stages of development, AirBnb and Uber concentrated on creating services that delivered and generated useful client feedback. Once the model achieved a sufficient level of robustness, it would then be rolled out and allowed to grow organically.
The second major requirement is that the business model is both simple and flexible: it must be able to adapt easily to different business environments and the demands of the market.
Ultimately, growth hacking is best defined as more of an attitude than a rigid set of rules. It allows you to focus purely on growth techniques – test creative approaches, request (and incentivise) feedback and sharing among your customers, and implement changes rapidly.
Of course, growth hacking is not a magic formula; applying the principles doesn’t guarantee growth, but it does tilt the odds in your favour of quickly achieving scalability.
The feedback from customers helps you improve the product or service before rolling it out on a large scale. This step is important as it will not only contribute to identify potential problems but it will also provide a taste of how the market might react to the product or service on offer.