Solid Ideas to Build on the “Growth Hacking” Movement
March 22, 2019
A few years ago, the startup scene was abuzz with the praises of a new category of problem solver: the growth hacker. These were a different kind of Silicon Valley superhero; one who swooped in and achieved major leaps and bounds in user metrics for extremely little cost. Early growth hacking expert Andrew Chen wrote a blog post entitled “Growth Hacker is the new VP [of] Marketing” and the piece went viral. Soon, everyone was convinced this new job title was the must-have disrupter that would take your product from beta to millions of users. And everyone wanted one.
Then, a problem (of sorts) emerged: except for those who were already doing it, no one else really understood what growth hacking was, only that it was needed. Genuine growth hacking was a category of “engineers leading engineers” who combined coding expertise with marketing know-how. They rapidly tested and optimized the products they were selling to consumers with huge results. Their accomplishments generated case study after case study of wins for companies like AirBnB, Foundr, Dropbox, Dollar Shave Club, and Hubspot.
At XenoPsi, we’ve incorporated the most important lessons of growth hacking practices as part of our Growth Consulting discipline. We believe long-term partnerships that help brands scale their audience and sales over time is ultimately more impactful and sustainable than anything with a “hack.” With Growth Consulting, we partner with businesses of all sizes to incorporate optimization-based solutions, whether they’re in the earliest stages of their lifecycle or an established brand ready to take the next step. These types of collaborations have driven results for both our client partners and ourselves.
A Growth Hacking Case Study
Growth hacking believes:
The work of creating and testing a product/brand isn’t separate from marketing it to its audience.
A great example of this principle at work is the now famous Airbnb’s case study:
Around 2010, a new startup called Airbnb lacked the budget to advertise its services using traditional marketing tools. So they turned their biggest “competitor” in the room-for-rent space: Craigslist. The Airbnb team did their research, and understood that Craigslist was the primary place to look for a non-hotel place to spend the night. So they reworked their platform to include the option to automatically post each Airbnb listing to the appropriate local Craigslist.
While it seems obvious in hindsight, this was a massive innovation at the time. Craigslist lacked an API (the protocol that facilitates sharing data between applications). So, the Airbnb team had to figure out how to have their product go into Craigslist, create a unique URL, input the listing details and photos, determine locations and regions, incorporate Craigslist’s anonymous email function, and then connect the post back to Airbnb.
If this sounds technical and a little confusing, that’s the point. It’s an extremely sophisticated move, and one that a traditional marketer could never have come with or executed. It simply wouldn’t have occurred to them.
Growth hacking work requires blurring the lines between marketing, entrepreneurism, and in a lot of cases, computer programming. In the Airbnb example, the product was optimized so that it could market itself to Craigslist’s massive user base.
Growth Hacking, Meet Growth Consulting
At XenoPsi, we have integrated our understanding of growth hacking to find innovative ways to improve business performance. The principle is built into our company structure — we work internally in cross-discipline “core project teams” to come up with innovative and non-obvious solutions to growth challenges. Our developers, strategists, entrepreneurs, designers, and copywriters partner together to find new solutions that drive sales.
At XenoPsi, Growth Consulting is less a set of tactics and more about an integrated process that helps businesses achieve new levels of performance. We believe deeply in the power of A/B and multivariate testing to quickly determine whether something is working, so we can adjust our approach accordingly. We make data-driven assessment that reduces risk and allow us to learn incrementally as we go.
Having worked with dozens of companies, we’ve learned the key to growing revenue and profit is focusing on all steps of customer journey, not just the traditional sales funnel. Traditional marketing and ad agencies tend to focus on the awareness and acquisition activities at the top of the funnel, and development firms on the technology implementation that occur lower. But our multi-disciplinary approach optimizes the whole spectrum: from initial awareness and consideration to purchase, post-purchase experience, customer retention, and referral/advocacy.
In 2019, businesses have not only new ways of finding customers, but exponential numbers of opportunities to drive sales to those customers. Our Growth Consulting practices have done everything from creating customized Shopify store experience that greatly reduced manual processes to building from-scratch digital product that created new-to-the-world solutions for our clients.
In the end, our core work focuses on not just lowering cost-per-click or cost-per-acquisition campaigns, but rather concentrating on increasing revenue and profitability. We trade looking at CPMs and CPAs for ROAS (return on advertising spent) and ROI (return on investment.).
To learn more about our Growth Consulting practices, contact our new business manager, Cindy Zupcic [email protected].