Growth marketers don’t build a marketing strategy to implement, because their strategy is to adapt to whatever seems to be working best. In order to know what’s working, they have to just get out there and get started. You could say it’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks—if you then measured exactly how much each and every noodle stuck. Then, one at a time, you’d slightly alter cook time, the type of noodle, temperature, angle of the throw, and more to see how each affected noodle stickiness. But you still wouldn’t be done, because then you’d test the best settings of each element together and fine-tune further to eke out just a bit more stickiness. By the time you finished that, someone will have remodeled the kitchen with fresh wallpaper. So you’d start all over.
If it sounds like a never-ending process, it is. But that’s the point. Your business environment is constantly changing, and so are your offerings as a company. And they’re changing faster than ever before. If you decide on a marketing strategy that isn’t dynamic, in the way that the Don Drapers of the world did, you’ll be out of touch before your campaigns ever go live.
Elements of Growth Hacking
So what do you need to hack growth? More than ever before, marketing depends on technical savvy and the ability to gather, interpret, and act on data. So here’s what you’ll need:
- The ability to test everything. That means views, clicks, and visits, as well as time spent on web pages and how much is made over the customer lifecycle. Some things are hard to measure, like exactly how many points of contact a customer needed before making a purchase, but a growth marketer will measure everything he or she can.
- Robust data tracking solutions to accompany that testing.
- A team full of both creatives and analysts. They’ll need to work closely together to brainstorm, roll out, measure, and refine each and every strategy.
- The ability to think outside the box. Just because many companies succeed using tried and true formulas doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to eke out a few more leads or improve your ROI by a few more cents.
- A willingness to commit to the long haul. Sure, “growth hacking” and “growth marketing” might sound like magical incantations that instantly improve your marketing. But as any programmer (the original hacker) will tell you, hacking is a long process where each small success builds on the next to get big results.
If you can roll with all that, growth marketing could be the greatest thing for small businesses since the internet.
Growth Marketing for Small Business
How can you get started implementing growth marketing in your small business? With so many variables to test and measure, and so many metrics that contribute to overall success, you could get lost in the possibilities. Here’s how to get started without losing your mind.
Step 1: Prioritize Ideas and Opportunities
Whether you hire an experienced growth hacker or take on the task of learning the trade yourself, you’ll come across tons of ideas for how you can improve your efforts. But that doesn’t mean you should act on all of them right away. That would be chaos to implement, and you wouldn’t know which strategy changed your metrics in which way. Instead, focus on tactics that:
- Have the greatest potential impact on your company. This means those that will have the greatest growth in revenue and your company’s KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators.
- Are the easiest to deploy and test. You want the greatest results, but not if you have to spend all your resources to achieve them—at least, not at first. Go for the low-hanging fruit in the beginning, then use your growth to fund exploration of more challenging opportunities.
- Are most likely to succeed. For example, if your team includes a skilled graphics designer, an experienced PR manager, or a phenomenal webmaster, go after opportunities than lean on these people for success.
- Take less time to test. At this stage in your efforts, you need feedback about what’s working—and what isn’t—fast. You need to understand the big picture as soon as possible so you can structure your next efforts accordingly.
Kev Kaye of Growthboks recommends dumping each of your ideas into a spreadsheet, then rating them for each of the above criteria. Add each rating into one overall score, and use that score to prioritize your efforts. Then knock them out one at a time.
Growth Hacking, Growth Marketing, and Traditional Marketing: Same Goals, Different Methods
- Growth Hacking
- break things
- Revenue focused
- Startup focused
- Agile processes
- small teams
- Growth Marketing
- Tradittional Marketing
- Perfection over speed
- Big Budget cost center
- Awareness focused
- Unwieldy processes
- Big teams