Grow as you can, but not at any price

Monday, 19 february 2018 | Brenda Rodríguez López

Twitter, Dropbox, Pinterest, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook and multitude of digital companies have used them as a part of their growth strategy. Growth hackers promise to turn into very demanded professionals over the next years in Spain. In USA everybody has heard about them, in this country most of the people still raise an eyebrow when they hear their name. What is growth hacking? Who is behind this so demanded profile? What do these new techniques of marketing digital consist of?

 

Have you ever thought about how the main digital brands of the market grow so quickly and in such a short time? Entrepreneurs know that having a good product or a great idea is a good starting point, but not a guarantee of an unstoppable growth. New companies need to grow if they want to be competitive. If they want to stand out in such a changing and competitive environment as it is the digital world, they need to resort to new methods and ideas.

One of the biggest problems that startups find when it comes to expanding their business is their slow growth on the Net. In this initial phase, there are many expenses that have to be faced and new companies do not have such vast resources as the consolidated companies. On many occasions, they cannot afford to invest in large advertising campaigns, they do not have the financial support of investors or get large sums of money yet. Also, why investing in traditional methods when there are "cheap" techniques that can exponentially multiply the number of clients or the impact. The number of large companies that also want that effect using strategies which do not involve a high cost are not few. How can these companies grow with the least possible investment of resources? Their desire has been fulfilled and materialized in a new profession: the growth hacking.

Are the growth hackers "bad guys"?

Grow as you can, but not at any price. That could perfectly be the motto of a growth hacker. The cheaper the better and if it is for free, even better. More than a profession, this is a new mentality oriented to achieve the maximum possible growth in a short period of time and without investing an exorbitant amount of money. For growth hackers it is essential to find the secret ingredient that allows a business to go from a moderate to a crazy boost and, if this does not work, they would not stop until they find the perfect recipe. On some occasions, when they fulfill this goal, the lines that separate what is lawful and legal from what are not are diffuse. The professionals themselves are defined according to the barriers they are willing to cross, but, by definition, growth hackers do not have to be law transgressors.

If there is anything that characterizes growth hackers, apart from their particular and to some extent obsessive concern for growth, it is their disruptive profile. This profession requires large doses of ingenuity and a touch of slyness. In order to get strategies to succeed in this increasingly complex and competitive environment, it is essential that they have a pioneering and reckless spirit and to be willing to try opening doors that no one else has opened. Finding profiles that fit with this description is not easy and, therefore, growth hacking has become a profession as well paid as demanded. The pirate boarding will not make us wait.

Grow as you can, but not at any price

Is it a new term for something old?

When Sean Ellis, entrepreneur, investor and consultant of startups like Dropbox, needed to find a substitute, realized that he needed a new naming to define his work, he wrote what is now a referenced article Find a Growth Hacker for Your Startup. He was the one who coined the name of what is a booming profession, growth hacking. At first glance and without going deeply into the subject, it may seem that this term is a striking neologism that intends to give a name to something that already existed, but beyond a simple trend, growth hacking is a complex job that implies a multidisciplinary knowledge base and an intense work of data analysis.

These professionals of the future are not mere amateurs, they are workers specialized in the detailed knowledge of data and metrics, great analysts who know how to take advantage of the new digital universe and how to use ingenuity as a tool of takeoff and impulse. Their specific training is not as important or critical as their approach is, but, as a general rule, these growth hackers usually have a solid knowledge of programming and marketing and a broad mastery of digital technology, since that will be, in large part, the leverage that allows them to identify the appropriate formulas to achieve the stratospheric push of the companies.

What do these hacker techniques consist of?

Growth hackers cannot boost anything without first reaching a product market fit. The customers to whom the product is destined have to react very positively to it or this cannot scale its growth. Its design has to fit perfectly with a well-defined market, which is able to grow, and the product must meet a need and be valuable to the target. They cannot limit to sell a product but to improve it continually and to achieve it they must understand very well what users want and what their experience is, because users themselves will play an important role in the impulse.

Growth hackers face the market with a different perspective. They must always look for new formulas and persist in their efforts to achieve what seems impossible for others. Creativity is their engine. In the past years, we have witnessed many examples of growth hacking strategies, Airbnb used Craigslist ads, Hotmail, a striking postscript in its mails (PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at Hotmail) and Dropbox, the invitations in exchange for free storage to multiply the number of customers. Among the most used tactics, there are a few that stand out; the testing of free versions for limited periods of time (freemium model), the retargeting, the urgent sale or the use of traffic from other platforms. In all of them there is a common link, the users themselves becomes active and indispensable subjects so the strategy is successful, therefore it is not only key to know how to reach them, but to get to know it very well. If you want to dig more into the knowledge of growth hacking and get more information about the topic, we recommend you to start with this guide by Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor.

In the CEU Institute for Advanced Management we have a wide range offer of marketing training, you can consult it here, through it you have the possibility to acquire quality training in this and other subjects. Like growth hackers, our goal is also the growth: the professional growth of our students and the push of their careers.

P.S: IAM CEU also loves you! Study with us!