For many years I’ve been forecasting the eventual demise of the generous sales and marketing budgets of traditional SaaS companies.
Growth marketers use a standard methodology when determining the effectiveness of independent campaigns across brand and product marketing, community management as a return on investment for the cost of media buying and digital marketing tools across channels.
Growth hackers, on the other hand, is a hybrid function which aims to generate predictable product demand and minimize customer acquisition cost (CAC) by using a strategy of demand generation programs, automating distribution with custom software code or integrating systems using APIs which can scale for rapid growth.
Atlassian is a great example of a pure-play product growth hacking strategy. They are famous for achieving a multi-billion dollar enterprise without a dedicated sales force and a minimal CAC because they developed software they actively use themselves.
As a bootstrapped startup, the internal team of software developers were not only product evangelists, they also rotated through shifts as on-demand tech support for their customers.
Although it wasn’t a premeditated strategy, a rotating frontline of customer-facing representatives was also the team of back end engineers, and as a result, the cycle of feature iterations to the market was accelerated, and the execution of portfolio products was turbocharged. There are hundreds of silicon valley case studies demonstrating the propensity for an account to churn is reduced when a customer adopts multiple products, and an increasing the reliability of Customer Life Time Value (LTV) revenue.
Most modern software companies grow their user adoption rate with mini-hacks.
For example, Brave Software’s flagship product is a chromium-based private browser with Adblocker which is noticeably faster than Google’s Chrome.
Brave used co-creation techniques to transform users into an alliance of content marketers and publishers by integrating an incentive reward token to stimulate a user-driven economy.
Their fit for purpose community forum ensures they focus on developing the right features and a transparent log for triaging product bugs, and what is being prioritized in the development roadmap.
From my personal experience of working with legacy companies as clients, it was evident to me, they are on the hamster wheel of 20th-century customer intelligence and statistic based market research reports. Many still hold onto a very outdated definition of “actionable insights” will continue to struggle to keep up because they are choking on hierarchical layers of Gen X middle management, and suffocated by baby boomer execs who still hold business lunches at Beppi’s on Yurong Street in Sydney (for non-local context, when the restaurant opened, Robert Menzies was Australia’s Prime Minister and televisions did not exist – true story).
Meanwhile, traditional marketing is in deep diminishing returns.
Growth hacking is baked into the DNA of agile technology organizations who have mastered the art of the working group scrum and ideation to design think their way to success.
But the best is yet to come.
Aside from affiliate marketing programs and tech integrations, now add in custom algorithms, and emerging technologies like Blockchain, AI, IoT, AR/VR simulated environments which will enable predictable business models.
Is anyone enjoying a nerdy moment right now?
When I think about the game-changing potential of growth hacking, I can’t help yawning at the idea of dedicating resources to bland customer success stories that no-one reads on your company website.
I literally nod off at the pointless exercise of chasing “likes” on social media platforms.
I’m digging my own grave at the thought reviewing mail chimp metrics for a “segmented” broadcast email campaign.
Now that we’ve put the old school marketers to bed, let’s turn our attention to what qualifies growth hacking as the next turnkey role because most organizations have not fully tapped into the phenomenal value of this pivotal function.
That said, there are some exciting ventures, like Harena Data who are already experimenting with the new paradigm of business growth. Their product, GYO Score (Beta launched in March 2019) adopts the sports science of sabermetrics, powered by machine learning capabilities to accurately analyze the skills and measure an amateur gamer’s potential as a professional athlete. Gifted gaming professionals are being offered lucrative career opportunities including tertiary education scholarships, brand sponsorships and specialized training programs to ensure they are in peak condition when competing in global eSporting tournaments held in spectator-filled sporting arenas.
By using a customer-centered growth hacking approach, GYO Score is uniquely placed to transform the gaming professional eSports industry by creating ecosystem value for the owners of the ggCircuit merchant network of over 800 LAN centers located globally.
Are you a wee bit curious to discover what it takes to be a Growth hacker?
The emerging generation of Growth Hackers aren’t just well versed in a full stack software development, they can hold a healthy discussion on the topic of applied data sciences. They stay on the pulse with the latest methodologies and have an on-demand network of software programming specialists and polymaths.
A world-class professional is a cognitively ambidextrous social architect who intuitively collaborates across the functional roles to understand the key value drivers of customer-driven growth.
Gamification behavioral economics ideation session will consider:
- Individual incentives: What’s in it for them? Extrinsic as well as intrinsic
- Social Norms: What others will think of them if they participate
- Ability: do they have the resources, competency, and skills to do the behavior?
- Opportunity: does the environment allow the behaviors to happen?
A tactical plan may include experiential gamified “fit for purpose” programs whilst striving to develop an ecosystem which continually delivers benefits to its network of merchants or platform partners.
So what’s next?
Are you a customer-centric early stage venture or a bootstrapping startup who wants to maximize the impact of your working capital?
Is your organization operating as a SaaS company in 2010? Are you still working with stagnant data sets which do not refresh customer analytics in real time?
Are you keen to discover how algorithmic machine learning and neural networks can accelerate the growth of your venture?
Then let’s have a conversation.