Growing a business is not easy, every dollar and every day counts. But what if, we could “hack” growth? Sounds exciting rite? To understand the term Growth Hacking, we need to understand the term hacking. Hacker is a person, whose goal is to achieve a specific objective and he is not concerned about the process of achieving. In a simpler way, hackers care more about what needs to be done than how it should be done. As the need arises hackers come up with new and innovative ways to get things done.
Growth hacking is a process, where the objective is to grow the number of users for a specific product or service. Although it sounds like the work of marketing department, growth hacking involves many departments including product development, operations, marketing, etc.,
While you may think that growth is possible only through traditional marketing like the media, radio and television, growth hacking is a philosophy, which believes that every decision taken by the company, should have the entire focus on the impact it can have, on the growth of the company. Since it is actually more of a philosophy about how marketing should be done in a startup, growth hacking involves all the departments in the company. If you are familiar with lean theory, recently put forth Eric Reis in his book “The Lean Startup” the concepts with growth hacking may not surprise you.
Growth hacking is taking lean concept to the next level. Growth hackers go forth from the process of starting to the process of growing. Since growth here is calculated by the number of users a product or a service has, growth hacking is the ability to innovate minimum viable strategies for user acquisition and user retention without wasting time and money. So before we wear the growth hackers hat and devise strategies, lets talk about the process of growth hacking. Most of us have used the DMIAC steps for process improvement. The same with little modification will suit the process of growth hacking.
First things first, we need to start with a goal in mind. Yes, when you want to grow, you need to start with the end in mind, like Stephen Covey says in his book “7 habits of highly effective people”. Although the ultimate goal is growth, narrow the down the goal to make it as simple as possible. If you have decided on a goal, check if it is narrow enough. If your goal depends on direct action and not on any other activity or decision, then that is the narrowest goal.
Now that you know what to do, the next step is to have a system in place to check how you do it. Basically start tracking the process. Create specific metrics, which would relate the story of growth. Without analytics, goals are empty. Analytics give you the exact location, where you are in the path of success. Using analytics in the early stages in a startup is very important because it shows the number on goals you have achieved over the period of time and this history of data will give a helping hand in later stages also.
Eventually when you create a different goal, you might have all the data and the tracking metrics in place, which will help you to fast forward your growth. Here comes the third and the most important phase in growth hacking. The time to take action. Growth hacking is all about achieving greater growth, with the least possible investment. Now, take a list of existing strengths you have as an organization. And try leveraging all your strength, in the way that it becomes united and get the balls rolling. Archimedes once said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” This isn’t just a quote but the truth. Without correct leverage all plans, goals, tasks and action items are just going remain in your inbox.
This brings us to another important phase is growth hacking. Once the plans are in place and the ball starts rolling, you need to analyze the result. Every time and whatever you hack it is actually a new process and it is going to disrupt a normal flow a little. Keep everybody informed about this disruption. Always be optimistic, try to attack the goal from various angles. While most of them fail, and bring only mediocre results, but you will succeed eventually, stick to that angle, and leverage your resources. You are now seeing the fruits of growth hacking.
And lastly, take control of the process. Implementing a new process is like experimenting. And experiments are like fluids. They take the shape of the container. So act like a container and control the experiment.
Now it’s the time to repeat the whole process again with another goal. The startup world has given many terms for this experiment, some call it Growth Hacking, some call it Lean Marketing, sometimes its also called Agile Marketing. Whatever you call it, its already here and its here to stay for a long time and it is sure to bring exciting results too. So happy growing folks.