Growth Hacking: Rendering Marketers Obsolete?
Is growth hacking rendering traditional marketers obsolete? The short answer, is no.
As described by Andrew Chen, “growth hackers embody the hybrid between marketer and coder needed to thrive in the age of platforms.” Put simply, he main difference between growth hackers and traditional marketers as we know them, is that growth hackers are increasingly and extremely important during the start-up phase of a company, while the role of a traditional marketer comes into play once a company has left the start-up phase.
The number one goal of a growth hacker, is growth. Stated differently, “a growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.” Traditional marketers obviously care about growth as well, but not to the same extent.
So how do growth hackers achieve this growth? First, we need to understand that the definition of a “product” has radically changed over the past decade or so, thanks almost solely to the rise of the internet. In today’s world, a product can mean virtually anything. Products used to be only tangible objects. Clothing, kitchen ware, cars, coffee, etc.. Now, social media platforms like Facebook, Linkdin, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are products. Platforms like Pandora, or Spotify that give you access to millions of songs, are products. A product is no longer necessarily a tangible object. And this transition requires a new method of thinking.
According to Lars Lofgren, the marketing analyst for KISSmetrics, there are 6 “best” growth hacks that all businesses should consider employing. These are:
- Site Speed
- Social Proof
- On-Ramp Program
- Bare-Bones Home Page
- Product Integrations
- Increase your Viral Coefficient
Site Speed- The speed of your site has a huge impact on whether or not people will stay on your page. “A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.” Just by reducing the amount of time it takes your pages to load, you could increase your conversions by 15-21%. A simple change that can make a big difference.
Social Proof- It’s fairly common knowledge that most of us base part of our actions on what others are doing. If we’re unsure about something, we look to others for verification that we’re making the right choice. So, show your customers that they are making the right choice. Give them proof that others are doing the same thing they are. Whether that be via customer testimonials, statistics, or displaying logos of companies who support you, it doesn’t really matter. Choose the proof that works best for you, and display it prominently.
On-Ramp Program- How are you treating new customers? New customers require a different approach than your loyal customers. Help them along their journey through your website. Give them step-by-step, simple guidance. Make it easy, and preferably interesting for them as they get to know your company and product.
Bare Bones Homepage- I love this quote: “Remember, people are risk averse and their default decision is to turn away. They’re looking for an excuse to walk out the door.” Don’t give them an excuse! People hate being faced with an overload of information. Make your homepage as simple, streamlined, and sexy as possible. Twitter is a great example of a bare-bones homepage. As shown below, they have a simple two sentences of copy, a pretty picture, and a call to action (sign up/sign in).
Product Integrations- Integrate your product with the platform that best matches it. Airbnb’s integration with Craigslist is a great example of an ideal product integration. Craigslist already has a following of 10’s of millions of users, which makes it a great way for Airbnb to get access to users without having to create their own base. The integration allows Airbnb users to post their rental properties to their Airbnb page as well as to Craigslist. When a Craigslist user clicks on the posting, it will re-direct them to the Airbnb users page.
Viral Loops- Viral loops are the ultimate goal of growth hacking. Put simply, a viral loop means “if you start with 10 customers, they’ll bring more than 10 other customers to you. Each batch of new customers gets larger and larger as you go viral.” Which means that after your initial investment to get those first 10 customers, you have virtually no maintenance to do or money to spend in order to keep the growth going. Which is pretty much every businesses dream, right? A great product example is Skype: where one person gets it, then gets their family to use it. Then their family gets other friends or extended family to use it. Then their friends get their families to use it. And on and on and on.
Growth hacking has already proven beyond a doubt that it can be an indispensable tool for businesses. The trick is to not get growth hackers and marketers confused when trying to find someone to fill that spot.