Growth hacking is a very fashionable concept and is currently experiencing some buzz on the web. Beyond the effects of ephemeral fashion, it should establish itself as a true trend, or a discipline in itself.
The success of growing hacking is quite normal …
Growth hacking is one of the explanations for the dazzling success of many jewels in the digital world.
Spotify, Airbnb, Uber, Instagram, Facebook: all these companies have managed to develop and deploy growth hacking techniques allowing them to achieve not only phenomenal success, but in record time.
How to define growth hacking?
Growth hacking is generally defined as a set of methods and techniques – hacks – allowing a brand to grow quickly. A process of experimentation and permanent modification is carried out during the very phase of design and launch of the solution to be marketed. The idea is to develop, market and market a product while testing it, adapting it and modifying it so that it can perfectly fit the market it is supposed to target.
Growth hacking: A perfect complement to marketing
Growth hacking is very close to marketing in that it places the question of market-fit (the match between a product and a market) at the heart of the economic process for which it is supposed to optimize performance.
However, growth hacking differs from marketing in that it primarily targets very significant growth in the very short term: the rapid increase in sales, subscribers, members, Internet users, consumers, etc. with the addition of ultra-fast development of notoriety, visibility and brand image.
Experimentation is at the heart of the principle of growth hacking. It's all about testing while developing and developing while testing, including testing hacks for better selling afterwards.
This is made possible thanks to the multitude of digital solutions. The emergence of growth hacking is intrinsically linked to the evolution of digital technologies. Today, digital solutions can automate a set of processes, which allows you to test a set of business models and hacks on a large scale and to devote your time to what will really be the business priority. .
All the time that you will not go through technical, administrative, accounting, bureaucratic or organizational glitches is the time you can fully devote to setting up your business model, your marketing mix and your digital solutions. .
Among all that you can automate, there are for example:
♦ Outsourcing your website;
♦ Your landing pages;
♦ Management and routing of emails and newsletters.
But also :
♦ Presence on social networks;
♦ Your competitive intelligence;
♦ performance indicators;
♦ The administrative.
If you are for example the owner of a website powered by the CMS WordPress, you can install one or more plugins in order to set up questionnaires to receive the live notice of users who visit your site. site.
You will immediately have very high quality results – even though, until recently, you would have had to work with survey institutes or economic research companies to obtain exactly the same type of results, but after waiting several weeks while investing large budgets.
One of the many strengths of digital is that it allows to set up so-called processes of A / B testing. In theory, you can test everything on your website: home page, landing pages, CTA buttons, colors, wording, punctuation, etc. The list of tests tends to infinity.
Example – The choice of one adjective rather than another will give diametrically opposite results in terms of interpretation – and therefore of decision-making – with the result of very significant differences in the conversion rates and therefore the sales made.
A / B testing allows you to test B solutions versus A solutions and opt for solutions that have by far the best performance on webmarketing dashboards. These include those provided by Google Analytics, the Google Search Console, the Webalizer or Jetpack (if you use WordPress). So we could say that the growth hacker is a marketer who tests, re-tests and re-tests to find the perfect match. But there are many other differences with marketing.
Marketing, traditionally, focuses more on the market, as its name suggests. The goal of the marketer will be to establish a brand in a market in a sustainable way while ideally increasing and its sales and market share and its margin.
The goal of growth hacker is performance in terms of marketing, but also in terms of timing. In a few months, a new brand must be able to impose itself on its market. Studies show that the first factor that influences the success of a startup is timing.
The growth hacker's methodology is therefore different from that of the marketer. A marketer will very often establish a schema over a semester or a year with a sequence for the design and validation of the marketing strategy, a sequence for operational implementation and a sequence for the analysis of results.
It is the classic and conformist configuration found in many multinationals and the traditional marketing departments of many large groups.
Growth hacking: A model perfectly adapted to startup type structures
Growth hacking is more of a startup spirit. It's about being able to modulate your business plan and your business model at any time. And know how to seize the opportunities in terms of hacks that the digital world, and by extension the economy, create day by day.
The growth hacker must be able to completely change its mind, direction and strategy in seconds and at any time, according to new imperatives that business and market reality will impose.
The concept of growth hacking is therefore very close to a new concept very popular in the world of startups: agile marketing. The notion of agile marketing is precisely the possibility of succeeding completely out of the frame while staying perfectly in phase with a global economic project, namely that of the company that it is to develop.
To manage to forget an idea or a strategy of departure to arrive at an even more successful result. This requires the intellectual capacity to be able to mentally shift from one new economic model to another, depending on the opportunities that a market will offer. This also applies to events, news, the evolution of technology, the emergence of a whole new societal movement, the appearance of a new fashion or a new trend.
Example – Imagine that guest blogging is a growth hacking technique that will allow you to significantly increase the audience, the reputation and the visibility of your website. If you receive a positive response from the reference site in your market during the day so that you can write articles as a guest editor, you will need to have the mental capacity to abandon certain projects that have become secondary. , immediately reorder all your priorities and organize your next work days in a completely different way.
One of the big differences with the world of large companies is also the financial means that a growth hacking expert will have to help promote the rapid growth of the brand for which he works.
A multinational will generally allocate large sums of money to establish a benchmark brand in its market.
A startup, except in the case of large fundraisers, will have much lower budgets and will have to capitalize on all the inexpensive means available in the arsenal of any web marketer, such as: social media campaigns, implementation of emailings perfectly segmented from a marketing point of view (thanks to the harvest, beforehand, emails on the newly created website), natural search to appear quickly in search engines (including Google ), the animation of fans of the brand through social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
The growth hacker will continually search for marketing techniques – hacks – relatively inexpensive to ensure exceptional performance of its brand, which in itself represents a real challenge. For that, either he will use hacks that already exist, or he will create hacks of all pieces which, if they are successful, will be able to become growth hacking techniques of reference.
One of the keys to the success of growth hacking is precisely to find these hacks that will allow the dazzling success of a brand just before the same hacks are known to all and are therefore massively used by the majority of marketers in the world.
Because once the notoriety of these new successful hacks spreads (precisely because of their success and thanks to social networks), they lose de facto their power to influence the course of things (and they lose their success – precisely because of their success: these hacks become victims of their success). This is the paradox.
It is therefore ideally to find this famous hack that no one knows yet and that will allow a brand to acquire an international reputation in a lightning-fast way – and that precisely will serve (almost) nothing more once it has known his hour of glory.
The life cycle of such a hack, as well as growth hacking, is more in the moment than in the long term. Its expiry date would be closer to that of a multivitamin orange juice rather than that of a cruise liner. In terms of business, it is not at all the same space-time.
Example – One of the hacks that remained in the legend is the famous phrase "PS I Love You", which allowed an email solution to acquire millions of users worldwide in space of a few months. But if you created a new brand today with the slogan "PS I Love You", it would (probably) not happen at all.
A few years ago, using Twitter to develop your brand could be a very successful growth hacking method. It's less obvious today because (almost) everyone is on Twitter.
The number of hacks tends to infinity. In itself, contacting influencers or experts on LinkedIn to develop your business is a growth hacking technique. Finding the right fit will not ultimately be in the search for hacks that could ensure interplanetary success, as a startup is spoiled for choice in terms of hacks.
The most difficult thing is to select the hack or the hacks that will really make a difference to competitors, vis-à-vis the market and vis-à-vis future fans.
Let's not forget, however, that the explosive success of brands such as Facebook, Spotify and Airbnb is not solely due to the design and implementation of growth hacking strategies and techniques.
Numerous other parameters come into play: the genius of the founders of the aforementioned brands, the teams of these companies, societal movements, changes in consumer habits and behaviors, anthropological issues, and so on.
Example – The SEB brand works primarily with anthropologists to ensure the successful commercialization of its innovations. For SEB, digital is good, but the most important thing is to understand crowd phenomena and societal movements, much more than to understand the psychological behavior of the consumer vis-à-vis digital products. Because people usually buy what other people buy – and products that have sold very well. The fact is that in many cases simply replacing psychologists with anthropologists will provide a very simple answer to a multitude of very complicated questions. In an organization, the growth hacker is not the only one responsible for the development of a business. In addition to growth hacking, many other disciplines need to be considered.
To explain the success of such companies solely through the perspective of growth hacking would therefore be to build a tree hiding a set of other factors that are really decisive: the economy, society, technology, the evolution of markets, competitors, science, ideologies, currents of thought, etc.
Anyone trying to create a new Snapchat today would not do it, because it would really happen after the battle – that is, way too late. And anyone who tried to create Snapchat 15 years ago would not have succeeded because of a lack of technology.
Growth hacking: The art of analyzing the conversion tunnel
One of the specificities of growth hackers – and by extension digital marketers – is to focus on what happens in the conversion tunnel. This distinguishes him from, for example, a marketer (who will focus more on the product and his market), an economist (who will model a business more from a micro and macro-economic point of view). or a financier (who will further analyze issues related to expenses and margin).
Any business is always the consequence of a more or less important influx of visitors. Among these visitors, some will prove to be quality leads. Some leads will be prospects who eventually turn into consumers. And among consumers, some will make more or less regular re-purchases, others will become true fans of the brand. Fans will take the place of sales teams, because the first sales force of a brand is often the community of fans who promote it with (an excess of) zeal.
The growth hacker, throughout the development and simultaneous launch of its product or its service offer, will spend all the time necessary to analyze precisely what exactly happens to each link in the chain described in the previous paragraph.
It's a professional job. And the best professionals will get the best results. In the case of launching a new website, the growth hacker will ask for example the following questions:
♦ Is the influx of visitors sufficient?
♦ If this is not the case, how can the number of Internet users drastically increase?
♦ What about the qualified leads transformation rate? <=> quality prospects?
♦ How to increase the conversion rate of the website (by optimized CTAs, better designated pages, a reformulated slogan to have more impact, more efficient landing pages, etc.)?
If you create a website, you can globally increase your sales by increasing either:
♦ The number of Internet users;
♦ The conversion rate;
♦ The number of users and the conversion rate.
The art of growth hacking is to analyze the processes described in the previous lines to better model them, and transform a digital model into a marketing success.
The ideal is the positive community viral phenomenon where a beneficial buzz is created around the brand. Hence the importance of fully understanding the inner workings that drive a community of fans who prescribe the newly created brand.
Once this community is established, you have to know how to pilot, animate and develop it positively. It is certainly the role of the community manager, but also that of the growth hacker.
Growth hacking is a method that involves experimenting with a set of techniques to develop, promote and bring a product to a market while ensuring that it can perform in a very short time: a few months, ideally a few weeks and utopian way a few days.
It is a very beautiful challenge.
Also, the judgments emitted by some prominent growth hackers on the performance of certain companies are sometimes very severe. Let's stay down to earth: the probability that a new brand will become the next Spotify, the next Airbnb or the next Uber is still more than inferior.
Articles dealing with growth hacking often cite as examples brands that, although they do represent locomotives, do not always reflect the economic reality of many markets and the many players that compose them.
Locomotives and wagons. For example, there will be a single Spotify for thousands of newly created brands in the music industry.
Such successes are rare.