Growth Hacking - How To Implement a Program
Growth hacking is all about finding the most effective way to grow your business through experimentation. You seek to continuously improve the performance of every aspect of your marketing and sales program . You are never satisfied, and if something is not contributing to growth, it is eliminated. We show you how to begin the process.
STARTUPSGROWTHMARKETING/SALES ALIGNMENTGROWTH HACKING
If 2024 is going to be more successful than 2023, you will need to be bold, assertive, and take charge of your marketing program. The time for being timid has passed. You tried the slow, but sure approach, and you are only incrementally better than before you started.
The person who said that any progress, no matter how slow, is good progress, was wrong. Victory will favor the bold and those whose progress is swift and certain. If you are not experiencing 30% growth month over month, you are falling behind your competition. If you are a startup, and are not seeing exponential growth, you are likely to run out of money and time long before any investor will consider you a viable opportunity. Investors favor those companies with hockey stick growth charts.
If you don’t have a lot of revenue and resources, the thought of getting a steep growth curve may seem to be a pipe dream. If you are willing to become (or hire) a growth hacker, it becomes more than a possibility. It can quickly become your new reality.
Over the course of several blogs, we are going to provide you with practical ways to initiate a growth hacking program and provide you the ammunition to convince your company that this needs to be a strategic initiative of your organization. Finally, we are going to share the growth hacking programs/campaigns that had the greatest impact for our clients.
Today, we will begin with how you initiate a growth hacking program at an organization.
What is Growth Hacking?
In our blog entitled, “The Magical Mysterious World of Growth Hackers,” we defined growth hacking as:
“A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.” (Sean Ellis)
Growth hacking is all about finding the most effective way to grow your business through experimentation. You seek to continuously improve the performance of every aspect of your marketing and sales program . You are never satisfied, and if something is not contributing to growth, it is eliminated.
Growth Hacking is marketing/sales on steroids. The entire organization is conscripted into being part of the growth team.
If your company is having a period of stagnation, or if you are a startup or early-stage company, growth hacking is not an option. It needs to be your way of life, your company’s culture.
Over a series of articles, we are going to share our thoughts, experiences, and the most effective growth hacking strategies . We know that if you are committed to implementing them, you will change the stars of your organization.
Developing a Company's Growth Hacking Mentality
If you want to have a successful growth hacking program, you need to change the mindset of every person in your organization. They must ALL be focused on making whatever changes are needed to increase growth, even on an incremental basis. Every member of your company, from the lowliest intern to the CEO, must be part of the program and equally committed. If they are called upon to help, they need to show a level of cooperation that they did not know was possible. They need to be prepared to step out of their defined roles and comfort zones and engage as and where needed. We have utilized the following program to transition inbound-centric teams to one that is entirely driven and focused on growth hacking.
Companies who adopt a growth hacking philosophy will find that their employees will quickly develop a bond committed to the task of growth. Your team will feed off each other to enhance previous work and demonstrate they are up to the challenge. A friendly and cooperative challenge will emerge among the ranks. It is at this point you will see the type of growth and prosperity that becomes case study material. How do you foster that corporate growth mentality?
Teams – We find competition can be extremely helpful to kickstart a growth hacking effort. What we have found most successful is where you have two or three teams with equal representation from Marketing, Sales, Product Development, and Customer Support. Of course, if you are a startup, you will not have that luxury. In those cases, we often have one individual from Marketing in charge with the authority to loop in whomever they need to complete a task, including the CEO.
To get the competitive aspects of this effort initiated, we often give each team a similar charge, such as optimizing a landing page in the next 10 days. Every day we look at the conversion numbers for their efforts and post the results. A new assignment is conducted every 10 days for an entire month. While a habit is not necessarily formed in that time period, it does serve as a solid foundation for the program.
After they get the spirit of competition, we set them loose to look at every aspect of the business to identify and optimize performance.
Rewards – If you want there it be legitimate competition, there needs to be rewards with winners and losers. For the first 30 days of the effort, we have daily prizes for each member of the winning team. When we look at the daily performance metrics, the team that won will receive a gift card of $25. When the ten days are completed, each one on the winning team gets a $100 award. If you are a startup and revenue is scarce, be inventive. We have found offering swag at the end of the ten-day period can be an equally inspiring reward.
Brainstorm Ideas – At the completion of the first ten-day trial, have each team begin to identify areas they would like to implement a growth experiment. This has to be more than just a random idea. It has to include concrete action steps they wish to try, an explanation of how the current state is hampering growth, the goal they are trying to achieve, and the length of the initiative. While each team is completing their first 30 days of this new corporate mindset, they are accumulating ideas and how they wish to implement them.
Prioritize the Ideas – At the end of the 30 days, both teams present their ideas to each other and an oversite team. We often invite individuals from outside the company to listen and share their feedback. The outcome is a prioritization of initiatives that will be tried and tested. In many cases, the feedback from the panel and each team will modify aspects of the program by changing the testing period, implementation approach, or anticipated results. The goal is to have well-defined objectives, with all the parameters clearly identified.
Implement the Experiments – For any experiment to be successful, it has to be focused on each participant's efforts and attention. Every person in the company needs to be committed to its implementation. If someone outside the implementation group is called in to help, they need to be given the task as their immediate and primary focus.
While it is possible to do multi-variant testing, for those starting out, stick to a simple A/B testing program where only one variable is being tested at a time.
Analysis Results – If you have sufficient traffic, you should be able to accumulate enough data to have a daily analysis of the performance of your test. Every day, the version that performed the best is elevated to be the primary model and is tested against another variant.
Wash – Rinse – Repeat – Growth Hacking is never done. Once you get results, you use the new information to further optimize your strategy and as a basis for new experimentation. You will find that ,over time, the information you glean from a seemingly unrelated experiment will help to formulate new ideas and strategies in a new area. If you are committed to this process, and continuously optimize one campaign or an element of a campaign, the impact on your revenue and profitability will be amazing.
Pro Tip – While the steps outlined above seem very straightforward and easy to implement, they can be daunting for those who have never run a growth hacking program. We recommend that you let an expert help you. If you do not have the in-house capability, try hiring an agency or a fractional chief marketing officer for a three-month period. The cost you will incur will be quickly covered by the increased revenue and savings they can quickly generate.
Growth hacking is a highly effective strategy for generating growth in organizations, regardless of their size. Whether it is a startup, or a Fortune 500 company, this method has proven to be powerful in driving success. The key to its success lies in the commitment and involvement of every member within the organization. Each member plays a crucial role in implementing growth hacking techniques and contributing to the overall growth of the company. By adopting a growth hacking mindset, organizations can identify innovative and cost-effective solutions to achieve their growth objectives. It requires a collaborative effort from all departments and levels of the organization to generate the maximum results. By embracing this approach, organizations can stay ahead of the competition and constantly evolve to meet the ever-changing market demands.