Growth hacking—though, not a new concept, has swept the business world in recent months. The term refers to the use of experimentation and creativity as a means to ignite a company’s growth. Growth hackers skip the big-budget production of conventional marketing in favor of low-cost alternatives that grow and engage their user base.
Traditionally, growth hacking has been associated with small budget, tech start-ups. However, in the last few years the strategy has become an integral component of many B2B business models.
Growth Hacking vs. Traditional Marketing
By definition, growth hacking and marketing are two separate entities; yet, they are undoubtedly intertwined. Let’s explore some important differences and similarities between the two.
Traditional marketing focuses heavily on generating brand awareness through multiple channels. Growth hacking on the other hand is more focused on making data-driven decisions to identify and leverage low-cost channels for optimal return.
This type of decision making has many benefits—but it’s not the data that makes a difference, but rather how it is applied. While this concept should already be engrained in your marketing strategy, it’s even more important to the success of your growth hacking efforts.
Simply put, well-applied data can be the difference between creating a buzz and seeing your customer base skyrocket overnight.
Check out the following growth hacking tips and best practices to get started.
Growth Hacking Tips and Best Practices
1. Stay ahead of market trends.
The first thing you need to know about growth hacking is that, in order to be successful, you must always be one step ahead of the game. Keep your finger on the pulse of the latest technologies, market trends, customer behavior patterns, and buying preferences. Capitalize on these trends to facilitate growth.
2. Be strategic with your choices.
It may be tempting to test out every new channel or trend as you see it happening. However, it’s important to remember, a new marketing or sales tactic isn’t a growth hack, unless it strategically addresses trends occurring within your market, industry, or buying demographic. Ask yourself, will this decision address something my buyers or customers need? Will this resonate with my ideal customer? Are other companies already doing this?
Experiment early and often, but use data to determine which experiments are a waste of time and which might be worthwhile.
3. Use your best buyers as your research laboratory.
Revamp your approach to growth by using your best customers as a research laboratory. Analyze the characteristics of your best buyers to understand why your products resonate with them, why they choose your company, and what led to their purchasing decisions.
When you understand why your customers choose you, you can scale the success you see with your best buyers by targeting similar accounts. At the same time, getting to know your buyers will give you the insight you need to create new products and services that will prime your company for growth.
Check out the following blog post to learn how to analyze your customer base and scale your success: How to Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
4. Leave your comfort zone to create new opportunities.
Growth hacking, though strategic, is not about playing it safe; in order to really accelerate your organization’s growth, you need to leave your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to explore different approaches, audiences and channels in search of new opportunities.
5. Keep it simple.
A good growth hack shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, the best growth hacks often make you think, “That’s so simple, why didn’t I think of that.”
Some questions to get you thinking:
- Are there any unnecessary steps in our buying process?
- What other products do our best buyers use?
- Where do our best buyers access our products or services?
- Can we partner with another organization to make the buying process simpler?
- Logistically, what can we improve in terms of shipping, sign up, or upselling?
- Is there something our customers always ask for?
6. Appoint a specialist.
We’re not saying you need to hire a growth hacker—although, if you have the resources, go for it! If you don’t have the resources, consider choosing a specific person to manage the operational processes that must occur for growth hacking to be successful. This person’s main responsibilities should include keeping projects on pace, aligning different teams, analyzing data, and reporting on metrics and results.
7. Get aligned.
Growth hacking takes a more comprehensive approach than traditional marketing, requiring multiple departments and expertise. A successful growth hack typically involves most members of an organization including product specialists, customer support, marketing personnel, engineering, and business development.
Misalignment leads to a limited view of the customer experience and technological capabilities of your company. Take the time to get all departments on the same page.
8. Act quickly.
Speed is critical when it comes to growth hacking. The key is to capitalize on trend as it’s happening and before a competitor does it first.
This is a departure from traditional marketing where we pride ourselves on careful analysis, planning, and fully developed strategies. With growth hacking, there’s no time. After you identify a good idea, run with it and fine tune the details as you go.
9. Embrace failure.
You’ll try a lot of growth hacks before you find the one that works for your company. This means, you can’t get discouraged when something doesn’t work out. Once it’s clear your newest experiment isn’t working, move on quickly; analyze your results, make a key change, or ditch the project entirely. Don’t spend time on something that isn’t getting you results.
Growth Hacking as Company Culture
Remember, growth hacking is more than just a marketing strategy. To achieve growth hacking success your company must undergo a complete change of company culture. Listen to ideas, brainstorm often, and provide open access to data and insights across the company. Make it easy for your employees to express their ideas and be receptive.
In a corporate environment—where failure isn’t an option—this can be a tough adjustment. Make an effort to communicate this shift in culture from the top down. Your employee’s great ideas may surprise you.
Contact ZoomInfo today to learn how you can improve your B2B marketing efforts.
Contributed by Molly Clarke and Krista Williams.
For more information about everything B2B sales and marketing, join us at the 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit. A two-day conference where B2B professionals come to network, learn, and obtain the tools needed to successfully grow and reach new heights. Use promo code BLOG2017 for a 10% discount.