Growth hacking applies to you too

Growth hacking .. learn from companies like Uber.

UNLESS you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll have come across the term "growth hacking" before. Growth hacking is a marketing technique usually associated with technology startups. It uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and services, and gain exposure.

"But we’re not a tech startup!" I hear you say and that’s totally okay, because growth hacking has grown up and is now used by all sorts of companies. Perhaps you’ve just launched a new service or product, or entered a new market, launched a new website or mobile app, or rebranded – wouldn’t you want the news to spread as fast as possible to as many interested people as possible? Enter growth hacking, stage right.

Virtually anything can be growth hacked and there’s much established companies can learn from startups when it comes to marketing their services and products in a cost effective, yet highly impactful manner. That’s were growth hacking has its roots. It was born out of the necessity to take products or services to market as quickly and as effectively as possible. Have you ever seen a billboard or newspaper advert for Airbnb, Uber, or I haven’t and yet these companies are among the most successful players in their respective niches. The first two seemingly came out of nowhere a few years ago; the other one has been around for longer, but has grown exponentially in recent years. Yes, they’re all products of the Internet age, but that’s beside the point, because we’re more concerned with their marketing tactics than with their platforms or offers.

What then can companies in our industry learn from tech startups when it comes to growth hacking? The three most important points are: segmentation, customer engagement and use of customer feedback, and online focus.

Growth hacking heavily relies on compiling sizeable customer databases as quickly as possible and then segmenting the data correctly, so that the different customer segments can be targeted in the most rewarding manner. If you’re still having issues getting people to sign up to your email newsletter database, spend some time and google terms like "How to increase email list signups" and then implement as many of the techniques as possible. Then look at your target audiences and segment the data appropriately, e.g. by location, product, customer loyalty or average spend. You’re then ready to send out marketing messages that target the right group of people with the right message at the right time. Incentivize existing subscribers to invite others to subscribe to your database, like your Facebook page, or connect to you on Twitter.

Secondly, engage with customers and collect feedback whenever possible. Many tech startups are very good at soliciting customer feedback simply by engaging existing customers online and, in the process, find out how products or services should be improved to make them more appealing. Relook at how you interact with customers, how you collect feedback, and how you use it to improve your operations. If, like many companies, you’re suffering from slow internal communication and decision making, try and find ways to streamline things, because speed = competitive advantage.

Lastly, when advertising, let your audience's online behaviour guide you as to which publications or platforms to advertise in – it’s all about speed, targeting, and making your marketing budget go further or achieving a higher reach.

You may not want to be the next Airbnb or Uber, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t learn from these companies.

By Martin Kubler