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Ideas are the Only Currency in the New Economy

Your Business Needs a Growth Hacker

April 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Entrepreneurship

Big Ideas:

  • Start ups need a different type of marketing expertise than more established companies.
  • Growth hackers can focus on scalable and repeatable ways to grow your business.

Growth Hacker

Sean Ellis of coined a fantastic term, Growth Hacker.

Once startups are ready to scale, their biggest challenge is often hiring someone capable of leading the growth charge.   A marketer with the right talents and approach can kick some serious ass once product-market fit and an efficient conversion/monetization process have been proven.

After product-market fit and an efficient conversion process, the next critical step is finding scalable, repeatable and sustainable ways to grow the business.  If you can’t do this, nothing else really matters.

The Problem with Most Businesses

I have seen many marketing and social media consultants put so much emphasis on high level strategy, positioning, branding, logo design, etc. that the basic and easy opportunities to generate leads and customers remain neglected.

  • Who cares about your beautiful $20,000 brochureware website, if there is no content there to attract organic traffic or entice visitors to want to learn more about your offering?
  • Your professionally planned social media implementation doesn’t matter if your customers are online neophytes. Getting thousands of followers that will never be interested in your business is even worse.
  • Instead of looking at more effective ways of advertising, perhaps you should deliver a product or service worth buying.

A talented growth hacker can help you find the low hanging fruit to maximize your marketing budget.

Action Items:

  • A compelling business model comes first. You better have a good scalable way to create value for customers and get paid for it.
  • Make your business stand out from competitors. What value propositions do you offer? Make sure this is clearly communicated without the generic marketing fluff like “Customer service is our highest priority.”
  • Deliver on your value propositions. Service and quality in English speaking countries is so lousy now. The cheapest marketing is to actually care about customers.
  • Craft a unique story. If you want to be remembered, do something memorable. Check out my post on how a real estate agent uses bacon to stand out.
  • Research the keywords your customers are searching for and then optimize your website for those phrases.
  • Create online content your customers want to read, watch, listen to and share.
  • Develop effective lead nurturing campaigns to convert casual browsers into interested customers.
  • Have clear calls-to-action on all your marketing materials.
  • Engage people online and offline as humans with real conversations, not marketing pitches.
  • Consistently deliver more than you promise.

Am I missing anything? Let me know in the comments.

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Comment by Chris Neumann
2011-05-27 06:30:47

I’m a “growth hacker” who recently helped a company grow by 500% in 20 months.

My take on this, having done it and talked to other entrepreneurs who need this sort of thing, is that frequently the companies that need growth hackers are those who have not yet been able to figure out a lot of the things you list above. They don’t necessarily have a deep understanding of what problem they’re solving for their customers, and therefore everything else is a mess. For instance, if you don’t know your true customer needs, how can you create a benefit-oriented headline? “We make widgets” vs “our widgets are faster/stronger/cheaper than the competition” vs “use our widgets with your sales staff to accelerate growth”.

So, I’d add “deeply understand what problem you’re solving for your target customers” to your list.

Comment by John
2011-05-27 17:36:20

Thanks Chris,

That is precisely of the problem of many businesses isn’t it? They don’t know what problem they are solving for their customers. That is why the state of business is generally so lousy.

I guess I would include “deeply understand what problem you’re solving” in the “develop a compelling business model” stage. This really is the first step of any business. Without that solid business model, it is just putting lipstick on a pig, like Guy Kawasaki said.

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