March 30, 2016

Fallacies of Growth Hacking Online

By Jennifer Klostermann

Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox, and LinkedIn

Though growth hacking certainly works, it’s by now clear that tremendous company advancement through one or a variety of growth hacking strategies is limited to the lucky, and often early, few. Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox, and LinkedIn are just a few of today’s giants that successfully used growth hacking tools to engineer their success, but many more organizations have taken advantage of hacks such as exclusivity, referral programs, and piggybacking off free marketing platforms to encourage business development and expansion. An assortment of growth hacking devices have flooded the web, and with them many more misconceptions.

What Growth Hacking Isn’t

  • Growth hacking isn’t limited to startups though many of the success stories have come from this sector. Marketers across the breadth of businesses are using growth hacks to streamline the process of customer targeting, increase the flow of potential business, and create positive product impressions.
  • Growth hacking isn’t cheap and easy. The game has already changed, and the company making great strides from little or no investment or time in their growth hacks is highly unique. In order to build high volumes of traffic using only social media, businesses need sizeable budgets, and growth hacking experts agree that these tools are most useful when applied to projects that already have a good deal of public interest.
  • Growth hacking isn’t limited to a single division. The joint efforts of product management, marketing, engineering, and data analysis departments to improve growth are key to the development of any business, and tying growth hacking into this practice ensures a tight and streamlined course to customer satisfaction.
  • Growth hacking isn’t fanciful. Though often very imaginative and creative, growth hacking is all about the data and data-driven content decisions. Growth hacking calls for the use of tools like Google Analytics to measure website traffic, enhanced social media engagement through careful data analysis, and the judicious wording of email subjects to boost open rates. The try-and-see approach is a waste of time at the very least, and could even go so far as to damage company reputations.

Growth Hacking Misconceptions

  • Growth hacking alone will grow your business. Every company that’s successfully pulled off a growth hack has backed it up with a reliable product and a host of traditional marketing techniques.
  • Growth hacking results in fast growth. Though some organizations have been lucky enough to achieve rapid growth through growth hacks, it’s more about method and mindset.
  • Growth hacking only works if it goes ‘viral’. Though growth hacks work best when they reach a broad audience, the key is a targeted audience. 15 million YouTube views doesn’t mean business success.

Growth hackers may come from any industry and may sit in just about any position. They have an assortment of dissimilar skills, but their focus is always on growth. Says Sean Ellis, entrepreneur and startup advisor, “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.” From marketers to programmers, copywriters to engineers, this relatively new engagement encourages a creative and practical collaboration that is settling into a steady but active role in today’s marketing approaches.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Jennifer Klostermann

Jennifer Klostermann is an experienced writer with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in writing and performance arts. She has studied further in both the design and mechanical engineering fields, and worked in a variety of areas including market research, business and IT management, and engineering. An avid technophile, Jen is intrigued by all the latest innovations and trending advances, and is happiest immersed in technology.
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