4 Things to Consider Before Growth Hacking Your Business Venture Growth hacking can be done at a product, marketing or even at a sales function level
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If you are associated with a business venture either in a startup phase or expansion, it is highly likely that you have heard about the term "Growth Hacking". While many assume growth hacking is an easy way or a quick route for exponentially growth, in reality, it involves doing a lot of activities - identifying problems, coming up with innovative solutions, building hypothesis, testing them by conducting several experiments across product, marketing, sales & other areas. For an easier understanding, think of growth hacking as a strategic approach to grow your business, in a most cost-effective & efficient way, in the least possible time frame.
Growth hacking, if done the right way, can take your startup to the next level. But if growth principles aren't followed or executed by a marketing team that's operational, the outcome may not be a great one and hence, doesn't meet the business's strategic objectives. Below are the 4 things that you should consider before growth hacking your business venture
Developing a product is only a small part of the startup lifecycle. Once the product is ready, it has to be tested in the real market to see if there are buyers for the product that's built. To know if the start-up has achieved product-market fit, one has to answer this simple question – are customers paying to get this product? Achieving a product-market fit is one of the most important objectives for any startup. Isn't it? Before this phase, the startup is in a phase called as "traction" – a phase where founders & startup executives find innovative ways, mainly for acquiring customers and understanding "how" the product is used by their customers or what is the need for this product/service or simply, within customer's journey where will this product/services comes handy. If the growth hacking process is done without a clear understanding of proper product-market fit, you end up burning a lot of money and will leave you confused. Only after you achieve this holy-grail of reaching your product-market fit, you should think of growth hacking your startup.
Find a Skilled Resource
The mindset and skill-set required are very different for growth hacking. Many founders/startup executives think that digital marketers are also growth hackers. They aren't. You may think of your digital marketing team as an operational part of your marketing arm and a growth marketer is more of a strategic person who can answer "what" and "why" questions, rather than "how". Digital marketers are more focused on driving traffic and acquisition, while the growth marketers are much more strategic in their approach, they go deeper across the depth of the funnel to define, find and exploit growth. Growth hacker or a growth marketer, on the other hand, is a person with multiple skills – be it PR, digital marketing (across various channels), content, copywriting, psychology, understanding customers & their buying behaviour, digging into data to find opportunities. In short, find a growth marketer who is an entrepreneurial thinking marketing expert.
Track Important Metrics
Before starting the growth hacking process, it's a best practice to document what metrics you are going to track, at different stages of the funnel. Peter Drucker, one of the most famous marketing consultant and author rightly said, "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it". Imagine running a highly targeted email marketing campaign that is launched and realizing that they cannot be tracked. There can be nothing worse than realizing that the tracking code or analytics aren't working the way it should, after running A/B tests. Sometimes, invariably, with a focus and excitement to start off growth focussed experiments, we tend to forget to test and re-check if we have a tracking mechanism in place. For measuring analytics online, there are a plenty of tools available, both free and paid. The most common one used for online tracking is google analytics. Though google analytics gives an innumerable number of metrics, which can be intimidating many times, you can create custom reports to carefully track that you want to.
Growth hacking can be done at a product, marketing or even at a sales function level. For a B2B industry, growth hacking can be executed across various sales funnels – be it across awareness, activation, retention, referral, revenue in case of B2B industry. For a B2C industry, it can be executed at various stages like awareness, activation, action, use, re-purchase, advocacy & referral. While a very wide opportunity exists, it is often so tempting to start working on growth hacking at every stage, simultaneously. In these situations, it's best to work with the management team and align the growth hacking process with the business goals. For example, if the startup wants to reduce its acquisition cost, its best to understand their customers and work on acquisition, develop hypothesis specific to this problem & create experiments. With various frameworks already available, one can prioritize which of these activities/experiments may give the best result, in the least possible resources.