It’s the buzz-word of the moment and found on every marketer’s lips and in every white paper on marketing transformation. Today everyone is talking about “growth marketing” or “growth hacking”.
This is the new reality: Marketers are now responsible for managing the overall customer experience and start having a new role to play in each and every business decision and its impact on a company’s overall growth strategy. Now, more than ever, they are truly plugged into the core business.
Putting aside all the basic definitions of these new notions, especially the ones found online, I have tried here to outline some personal thoughts that I believe should drive an efficient transformation of the traditional marketing model, which while some people believe is no longer valid, others still hold dear.
1/Hack to find the short cut:
The world is changing fast and and all organisations must adapt and embrace the quick pace of digital culture. Bringing a product to life in 12 to 18 months is no longer viable, when audacious start-ups are bringing new, compelling products and services to market in less than three months. Marketers must find a short cut to the marketing strategy and one that will contribute to growth. You can no longer waste six months workshopping and building keynotes in order to draft an ideal solution.
Marketers need to take risks and find a workaround for this problem, hack their own systems and generate a quick response, even if it not one that follows the traditional internal protocols. Collaborating with start-ups sometimes makes sense but all marketers should first aspire to work with a start-up mentality, with their agility and flexibility.
Growth hacking approaches are hugely popular among fast companies, and should now have a place in well-established companies too. The 500 start-up blog describes one of the best Asian sharing-economy example (GRAB) to apply this approach, and highlights some key themes regarding the importance of managing the responsiveness, hyper-localisation, reactivity, and quality control of its strategy, without forgetting the guerrilla-style acquisition mission: http://500.co/grabtaxi-marketplace-growth-hacks/
Hacking is not a fad but a new reality and this must help marketers find short cuts to win and build their quick-to-market plans.
2/ Shift to a data-driven mindset:
In order to efficiently manage such rapid concept turnaround requires a fast-response team ready to make quick decisions based on the results of a growth hacking strategy. There is certainly a compelling case for marketers to invest in a strong data-driven strategy and they must look for appropriate tools to complement their analytics solutions.
Marketers must embrace the crucial role of good customer experience and maintain a constant look out for new growth opportunities.
This starts with the instinct to run user-tests, then analysing customer segmentation and how each audience felt about the brand experience alongside its journey. This helps to build qualified segmented audiences.
A data-strategy is of course at the heart of any marketing automation program and today there are no smart and efficient media buying strategies that are not data-driven.
Employing a data-mindset facilitates the shift from an assumption model to a results-driven model. It helps provide the control marketers need to run an agile working process and it enables teams to learn and adapt more quickly, bringing better results.
3/ Work on sustainable Plan:
In a constantly disrupted world, where these kind of growth-hacking methods look to be the solution, I firmly believe in the necessity of also building sustainable growth strategies. Established players cannot simply play with the start-up ethos, sometime only looking for fast growth to raise money faster than their competitors. Sustainable growth also remains a new challenge for giants and should not be forgotten.
- Invest in tools and technology: Of course, this takes time and requires a long-term plan as well as a great deal of effort to see concrete results.
- Build your brand and do not forget we are in a disruptive word where brand matters more than ever.
- Contribute to the R&D and innovation roadmap of your company by leveraging the new consumer insights you will discover through operating your new customer-centric marketing model.
New fast marketing models can certainly contribute to success but every marketer should also build long-term strategies, while always retaining a degree of flexibility in order to avoid being locked in to long-term decisions that cannot be reviewed
To conclude, I would say, we have an extraordinary chance as marketers to embrace this remarkable transformation, which will see our roles take on greater importance than ever and finally involve us more and more in the product manufacturing cycle. Our relationship with the consumers should contribute strategically and operationally to the success of our business. And we should very shortly face a new challenge: looking at the right investment balance between acquisition spending (media, coms, tools, etc…) and product iteration investment (design, ux, etc…) to find out the most valuable consumer / product equation.
So let’s embrace a growth strategy by hacking what you believe is crap, by shifting to a data-driven mindset without forgetting to build a sustainable and solid pan. This is how we should transform our own companies and help disrupt our business before we ourselves are disrupted