Growth Hacking - Making the Case to Management
Implementing a growth hacking program can bring numerous benefits to a business. We explore the reasons you should implement a program and how to get senior management's buy-in.
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I have had countless marketing professionals ask me how they can convince their management that their company should implement a growth hacking program. More often than not, the inability to get such a commitment from senior management has more to do with the lack of understanding than fear or indifference. Most Founders and C-Suite members are not marketers but financial experts, product experts, or developers. They are reluctant to upset the applecart to avoid unforeseen consequences. Today, we will provide you with all the ammunition you will need to get senior management approval.
It begins by coming to the realization that your customers are not your only clients. Every member of the C-Suite, and every person who is superior to you in your department, are also your clients. As you already know, all clients need to be nurtured to where they become advocates and influencers. The only difference is you are marketing the concept of growth hacking.
The process we are going to share is one that I have often used to convince clients, or members of the C-suite, when I knew that the idea or concept I wanted them to adopt would meet resistance. While we are sharing this for the specific purpose of getting buy-in for a growth hacking program, it can be used for any program you wish to introduce to a reluctant management team.
If this process seems excessive, it is only meant to be used where you want to introduce a major marketing change that either was previously rejected or you know will have no chance if presented to management.
Buyer Personas – If you want to market something, it is incumbent that you develop a buyer persona on those that you plan to target. The personas you will develop are not fictional characterizations but are the exact people you will need to sell your ideas. Just as you would if you were creating individual personas for an account-based marketing program, you are not going to conduct interviews with these individuals. You don’t need to because in your everyday interactions, you will learn where they go for information and entertainment, and what type of content and messaging will be the most likely to sway them.
Create Content – Because you will have a number of individuals you might need to convince, you may have to create a variety of content to help educate them. Treat them as you would any client. Create content that will address their pain points and concerns. The CFO will need to see messaging that the new program will not incur costs or reduce revenues. The head of Sales will need to be reassured that they see an increase in qualified leads. The CEO will most likely need to be assuaged that the program will result in customers, revenue, and profitability. Create the eBooks, blogs, videos, and infographics you might normally create if you were marketing to a prospect.
Distribute the Content - Information a person discovers for themselves is often deemed as more trustworthy. So, rather than send each member of senior management nurturing emails with your findings, plant the information where they go for education or entertainment. Post blogs on your LinkedIn feed. Share information on LinkedIn groups you know they frequent. Use hashtags that they follow to help ensure that your information is seen.
Incorporate Influencers - Reshare content from influencers who are discussing the benefits of growth hacking. Third parties may have more creditability to a CEO than members of his own staff, so don’t be shy in tagging them in the post or sending them links. Follow up with them to get their opinion on what was shared. Really listen to what they are saying, as it will give you the blueprint for addressing any additional concerns they might have.
Nurturing Campaign – Once the groundwork has been laid, have an open discussion about the viability of implementing a growth hacking program. Begin a drip campaign every three to five days, and send them an additional piece of content that will gradually educate them and nurture them through the decision-making process.
Laws of Influence - If you are not incorporating the Laws of Influence in your everyday interactions, then you are probably losing a lot of opportunities. If two people are talking, one of them is trying to sell you an idea or product. In convincing senior management, take advantage of the Laws of Influence.
What to Share
To a business, the benefits of growth hacking are numerous and substantial. We have distilled the ones that tend to be the most effective in convincing senior management to give it a try.
Growth - The principal reason you implement a growth hacking program is to obtain unprecedented growth. While there are no guarantees with any marketing program, we have found that after a 60-day rollout, our clients have experienced a 30% increase month after month in top-of-the-funnel leads. Over the next few months, each stage of the sales funnel begins to see a similar growth pattern. By the end of six months, you should see a month-over-month increase in sales of 15 - 30%.
Lead Quality Improves - The first question we are asked, when we show those statistics, is how come there is not a more significant drop-off when you get to the bottom of the funnel. The reason is due to the higher quality of leads that growth hacking brings to the company. The continual process of improvement is not just to the number of leads but how to refine the process to ensure that the leads are of better quality as well. The data-driven approach will show you clear paths to attracting and converting the best opportunities.
Faster Results - Because growth hacking is an all-hands-on-deck approach. Everything gets done quicker, and the bureaucracy found in every company ceases to exist, as the most important task each day is how to achieve growth. Nobody can say they have other priorities that take precedence. Because A/B testing of each element is constricted to days, rather than months, improvements happen faster and results follow.
Cost-Effective - Growth hacking is all about extensive experimentation to find accessible, efficient, and low-cost channels that were previously not being used. Part of every test is measuring the cost per lead and cost per sale. We are not only looking for more sales but how we can drive the cost of acquisition down without compromising on results.
Data-Driven Decisions - Your company will be tracking more metrics than you ever thought possible. You will be making decisions based on concrete data, not on your opinion or gut feeling. For management, this is ideal, as they can actually track your progress daily if they want. The ability to track progress, and know that each decision is based on prior performance and results, is often the linchpin that convinces them to give it a try. A data-driven approach enables companies to make informed decisions based on real-time insights and feedback. This allows for more effective resource allocation and optimization of marketing efforts.
Better Products - Remember growth hacking is not just about doing better marketing. It is about identifying any and every element that can be optimized to improve growth. This means finding ways to reduce costs, improve product features, and enhance processes that may be hampering growth. The feedback that Sales, Marketing, and Customer Support bring back to the Product team needs to be treated with the same filter. Will it contribute to growth? If the metrics state that it will, it should be given priority. This results in quicker product development cycles and the ability to stay ahead of competitors.
Corporate Culture Improves - The camaraderie that is found among members of a growth hacking team is exceptional. Every day they go into battle to try and improve and optimize yesterday's results. Working together closely each day for a shared goal creates trust and an experience that will make that period of their life the "good old days."
The main objection that many companies raise, despite the multitude of benefits that can be obtained through growth hacking, is the company lacks the knowledge and skills necessary to implement such a program. It is true that it can be a daunting experience for those who have not run such a program before. We offer the following recommendations to overcome this objection.
Demonstrate Competence - Many online resources are available for you to learn how to run a growth hacking program before you present the idea to management. Some of these are free or very inexpensive. We have found the following programs to be well-taught:
Fractional Chief Growth Officer (CGO) - There are a number of Fractional CGOs who are well-schooled in how to run a growth hacking program. Make sure you find one that has practical experience. The best reason to take this route is even when you have the training, it is never the same as someone who has spent years developing their skill set and the process to implement. You can hire a Fractional CGO, for just the first 60 or 90 days, on a part-time basis. They will provide you with the assurance that you are not missing any important elements or steps. To learn more about how to use a Fractional CGO, please check out this blog.
Implementing a growth hacking program can bring numerous benefits to a business. Firstly, it allows for rapid experimentation and iteration, enabling companies to quickly identify what strategies work and discard those that do not. This agile approach helps businesses stay ahead of their competitors and capitalize on emerging opportunities. Additionally, growth hacking focuses on data-driven decision-making, using analytics to measure the success of various initiatives and fine-tune marketing efforts accordingly. By leveraging data insights, businesses can optimize their customer acquisition and retention strategies, leading to increased revenue and customer satisfaction. Moreover, a growth hacking program fosters a culture of innovation and creativity within the organization, encouraging employees to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to drive growth.