We're bringing you the best insights written in the world of marketing today, thanks to our sponsors at Integrate!
“There is no question that stalled growth is one of the most pernicious and pressing problems for today’s businesses, and that’s not just true for start-ups, but for just about any business, large or small, in just about any industry you can think of.” Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown write in their work "Hacking Growth".
But how can companies continue this growth, without sinking huge amounts of money they don't have, into projects that might not even work? Especially in a long term, or in a scalable way. Luckily, Sean and Morgan have the answer.
But to find out what it is, we have to travel back in time. Way way back in the distant 2000s, Sean Ellis started using unusual approaches to help companies grow at unprecedented rates, for an unprecedentedly low cost. These are the techniques which eventually became the growth hacking model this book was built around. But what does this look like? What does growth hacking look like IRL? Is it just a hooded man and a laptop chatting to customers on Twitter?
Well, let's take Hotmail for example. A pioneer in the growth hacking scene. The company was introduced to customers when free email was practically non-existent. So, at the end of every email, they included a hyperlink reading "P.S get your free email at Hotmail". An easy-peasy way to get people to sign up for their service - limited resources, maximum impact.
Dropbox is another example. Using no traditional, and expensive, marketing techniques, the company grew its users from 100,000 to 4M in just 14 months. How was this done, you might ask? Well, the company cleverly offered 250 megabytes of free storage to each user who referred their friend to try Dropbox, with every customer becoming a potential brand advocate.
So, it's clear growth should be a priority for all companies, despite their size. In fact, The Harvard Business Review has suggested that firms can lose 74% of their market capitalisation in the decade surrounding a growth stall.
But hacking growth requires a rigorous method for it to succeed. This includes a system of rapid, cross-functional experimentation. It requires an analytical approach in order to build marketing into products, and simulate organic growth.
But before we have a look at the book, we need to define what growth hacking is.
What is Growth Hacking?
To build a fantastic growth hacking programme, you need to develop your experiments team and structure their work. In fact, LinkedIn has over 120 employees just focused on growth alone. These staff members are spread across five teams, being network growth, SEO operations, onboarding, international growth, and user engagement.
A top tier growth hacking team would ideally have:
- A Growth Lead. "Growth cannot be a side project. Without clear and forceful commitment from leadership, growth teams will find themselves battling bureaucracy, turf wars, inefficiency, and inertia," say the authors. This person manages the process, moderates discussions and functions as a project manager, and has a full overview of the customer funnel.
- A Product Management. This is an individual with a deep level of product understanding.
- A Developer. A person in this role can figure out the technological reality of a project, and keep the whole thing a bit down to earth.
- A Customer Success Manager. Focusing on gathering customer feedback, the customer success manager can understand how the CX can be improved.
- A Marketing Specialist. This individual focuses on a specific step of the user funnel or channel.
- A Designer.
- A Data Analyst.
“One of the cardinal rules of growth hacking is that you must not move into the high-tempo growth experimentation push until you know your product is must-have, why it’s must-have, and to whom it is a must-have: in other words, what is its core value, to which customers, and why.”
– Sean Ellis
One of the main ideas in the work is the ICE Scoring format. This involves every person in the growth team participating in a weekly meeting, in order to review the results of the latest tests and generate new ideas. Each member describes and scores their ideas before the meeting, in order to save time.
This format stands for:
- Impact: How big of an effect will the experiment, if successful, have on the key metric?
- Confidence: How likely is it that the experiment will have a successful result?
- Ease: How easy is it to complete the experiment, and how much money or time will have to be sunk into it?
But this score is not the be-all or end-all. It should be used as a leading indicator of experiment feasibility, but should not be stuck to religiously in terms of prioritising ideas. Even if an idea does not have the highest score, your team should still consider it. This takes out pedantic arguing about specific scoring, like whether an idea should be a 3 or 4 in Impact, or a 4 or 5 in Ease. Instead, the team can focus on prioritisation and further planning.
Get to Know Your Customers, and Keep Them Loyal
“You want to track, at a minimum, the metrics for each of the steps users must take to reach the aha moment and how often they are taking those steps.”
- Sean Ellis
Other Books You May Be Interested In
- Obviously Awesome - April Dunford
- Marketing 5.0 - Philip Kotler
- Digital Darwinism 2nd ed - Tom Goodwin
We're bringing you the best insights written in the world of marketing today, thanks to our sponsors at Integrate 👇
Stay tuned for more! 📖📚