I just returned from an interesting event in Maratea in Italy, Heroes, where I had the pleasure of meeting Luca Barboni, a true engineer of marketing, a pioneer of Growth Hacking techniques, that has managed to cleverly illustrate and raise awareness of an issue still so mysterious but that needs to be disclosed and especially used in any business that really wants to improve its performance from the marketing side.
In Silicon Valley it is now using it to grow rapidly every business and in recent years the techniques have now landed in Europe. We talk about the Growth Hacking.
It can be defined as a set of unconventional marketing strategies used primarily in the Startup growth. The Growth Hacking is an approach to marketing that allows for disruptive results by following a scientific method, measurable and scalable. It’s a speed trial process, I would call “lean marketing approach“, through marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective techniques to grow a business.
From where comes the Growth Hacking?
The term was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010, a serial entrepreneur, business angel and now founder and CEO of GrowthHackers. He comes from a long and illustrious career in Silicon Valley: Founder and CEO of Qualaroo, marketing director of LogMeIn, Uproar, Dropbox, Lookout and Xobni, marketing advisor in KISSmetrics and Eventbrite mentor and even today in 500 start-ups. In short, an enviable career that includes in its track record many examples of Startups that resulted in a short time with its innovative marketing strategies to grow up to millions of users.
And on what principles it bases its model? And why is it so successful?
The Growth Hacker is a very difficult profile to find on the market, is usually a creative, a product manager, a figure in some ingenious ways, to be an expert in marketing but also a technical invalid, who knows programming and technology. The Growth Hacking techniques are in fact marketing strategies to be applied often decline of making engineering changes directly on the product. The goal of each Growth Hacker fact consist in increasing the number of visitors, traffic and conversions to turn more visitors as possible users / customers of their products / services.
I tell you a prime example of Growth Hacking technique, which made history and that was conceived by the mind of Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia throwing even the basics of viral marketing. They managed to change in a very simple but clever their product, creating a unique and efficient viral mechanism.
In order to spread their free e-mail providers, they decided to put on the footer of each email that was sent to a simple but effective communication:
“Get your free email account at www.hotmail.com”
which favored unconsciously spread the service because for every e-mail sent to its recipient the sender advised the use of its own service. It was the birth of Hotmail, one of the top email providers in the world that provided the free e-mail service.
The excellent results achieved by them was that in less than a year and a half Hotmail managed to get as many as 12 million users spending less than $ 500,000 and with a CPA under 4 cents.
Another example disruptive was adopted by DropBox that gave space to every user who did enroll its own friend. Before long all know that the results reached.
But why in a Startup classic Marketing it is not efficient?
A Startup as we know lives across the bootstrap phase of uncertainty, does not have a business model perfectly defined, does not yet know the impact and the response from the market for its services / products, not perfectly know the cluster users who require his product / service. For these reasons often set a classical marketing strategy, it would be extremely expensive with no certain outcome and a startup can not afford it, especially after having invested one realizes of which channels to acquire customers worked and what did not gave the right performances. But this must be discovered soon, because if you realize only after consuming the budget for a startup means the failure. A startup needs only to grow and scale quickly, refining and strengthening day by day and reaching its business model in an increasingly timely to change their product / service to be the perfect answer to the needs of users of its niche market.
What are the main techniques to use?
The Growth Hacker must produce devastating results in a short time and with limited investments if not cleared. Therefore they base their main techniques making engineering changes to products, focusing on low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing, such as using social media, viral marketing or targeted advertising instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspapers and television.
An important element of the Growth Hacking is as said earlier the measurability of results arising from the application of the techniques.
In order to achieve its objective, the Growth Hacker, it must therefore measure all 5 elements of the funnel. The traditional Marketing tends to focus too much on top of the funnel, ie in procuring new visitors and convert them to users / customers. But often they do not bother to check their retention and maybe invest your entire budget to procure new customers but that will never return, so if you have performed in the phase of acquisition, but not creating loyalty, the results in the short / medium term will be completely bankruptcy. In Dave McClure pirate metrics (AARRR) there are five stages that are very important and must be well managed, measured, and shall return the correct conversions to achieve success: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue.
Know the Growth Hacking techniques today makes the difference of a marketing consultant. It ‘important to become masters of these techniques before competitors. But the most important thing is to understand that the market as a driver customers and their needs, the products must be adapted to the need and is not the product that must be brought by force to be loved by its users. Using AAARR metrics you realize if the funnel is performing or where you encounter bottlenecks. And ‘then at that level that you have to invest to bring the entire funnel with minimum budget to achieve overall satisfactory conversions and fast growth.