What Is Growth Hacking And How It Can Help Your Marketing Strategy

Growth hacking

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In the last few years, there are two great protagonists in the innovation scene, amongst others. They are Artificial Intelligence and Growth Hacking. Both of them are well-loved yet criticized. People look at them as the future, but that is also our present.

Those two concepts are complicated yet fascinating, and even if people often see them as distinct elements, they have many things in common. How could they work together to improve marketing? Which are their main differences and similarities they share?

We are here to discover it.

What Is Growth Hacking?

Better to begin from the very start. We have known Artificial Intelligence for a while, but we have never introduced Growth Hacking.

Artificial Intelligence: AI is both a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers and the capability of a machine to imitate rational human behavior.

Growth Hacking: according to Hubspot, it is “ the term used to describe experiments and processes aimed at building and maintaining a company’s customer base. Creative, innovative, and low-cost strategies are used to achieve this growth.”

Growth Hacking is more of an approach than a real discipline. You could apply it to almost every element of your strategy or your brand to make it scalable. It is a variable and flexible mindset that can be a gamechanger for new outputs. If there is something secure, it is that nothing is safe nowadays. Every aspect of the world moves so fast that changes are the only constant in the world.

This mindset embraces changes and variables to transform them into a strength.
One of its most essential elements is constant experimentation without the fear of failure.

It has five ideas at its core:

  • Know what initiatives to adapt. Studying the market, tools, and practices is the first step to do to craft a strategy that comprehends growth hacking. Select what works for your company in every detail. It will be your tool case.
  • Set goals. Your goals have to be specifics and reliables. Only in this way, you will be able to analyze your progress and understand what is going well and what you should change.
  • Experiment. One of the most exciting elements of Growth Hacking is that it is based on trial and error. Experimenting is one of the most important things you can do. Think of an option, test it, and see if it works. Repeat until you reach your goal.
  • Do not give up. As we have said, repeating is the key to success. Do not scream “Eureka!” after the first positive result, because your best friend – or your worst enemy, depending on points of view – is a statistic. Test until you are sure of the results you have.
  • Measure, document your results, and keep going. Did you reach your goal? Great! Now you have to record it, improve it if necessary, and go on. Of course, share it as much as you can and be proud of yourself!

The more critical element of growth hacking is the chance to experiment without any fear. You can proceed with the trial-and-error process until your results are entirely satisfactory. It is a groundbreaking way of thinking that allows you to work with more ease and fewer worries.

Why Is Growth Hacking Useful For Your Marketing Strategy?

It is important to underline how Growth hacking is not a substitute for digital marketing, but more an ally of it. Growth hacking has a lot in common with marketing, such as creativity and the freedom to make mistakes to find out the best route to follow.

You can easily imagine how this flexible and innovative approach can be useful for your marketing strategy.

The desire for growth is stuck deep inside every business. Startups and small companies feel that urgency is even more vibrant. This is the main reason growth hacking can be a great friend for your business – you share the same goals.

In such a competitive world, being adaptable and ready to use the trial-and-error approach can lead to a considerable business advantage.

It does not matter if you achieve growth hacking into your marketing team or in a separate division until it brings results.

According to an interview to Sean Ellis, founder and CEO of Growthackers – and the man who invented the word back in 2010 -, the main difference between traditional marketing and growth hacking is as following:

“traditional marketing […] focuses more on customer acquisition and external branding, whereas growth hacking is more focused on the customer and looking at the whole customer journey from where they’re discovering a product to when they first experience it, what brings them back to keep using it and how do they tell other people… So it’s really covering every part of that customer journey so that you can run experiments and improve that customer journey.”

There are many ways in which you can apply growth hacking to your company. Even if there are many tactics that you can try, growth hacking is way more than that.

Again, remember – it is not a tool, but a mindset, a path that will lead you to improve your results.
Thanks to growth hacking, you can improve products, services, processes, set, measure, and analyze goals, have many tests, and analyze what you are doing.

You are probably wondering which companies have virtuously implemented growth hacking in their strategies, right?

You are in the right place – here we are five examples of famous brands that used growth hacking to become what they are now!

  • Airbnb

    Airbnb is probably the most famous and representative example of a company that took advantage of growth hacking to exploit. Nowadays, everybody knows it on the platform to rent a home or a room everywhere in the world. There is a lot of “hacking” in this story, the excellent way.

    Back in time, when the business started, the two founders had to build their user base. However, the demand was not growing fast enough. They changed the situation by inserting a post on Craigslist with two links to their website. In this way, if people were looking for apartments on Craigslist, they found them on the Airbnb website.
  • Dropbox

    You can achieve growth hacking also by playing, and this is what Dropbox did. The company decided to start its growth strategy using gamification. The plan worked marvelously.

    It is a company that has always takes advantage of simplicity, and its origins make no exception. They used two main growth hacking techniques, and the combination created the successful brand we still know today.
    The first one consisted in proposing two alternatives to the new users, “Download Dropbox” and “Watch the video.” The video showed how simple it was to use Dropbox and proposed the download again.

    The second one was linked to invite friends to join Dropbox. If they did, the user would receive 500 GB more of space.

    Thanks to reward and social evidence, people were more likely to join the user-friendly and easy to use platform.
  • Slack

    Many teams use Slack all over the world every day. This business grew up in no time, becoming one of the most famous for its quickness. But why and how did this happen?

    While working on a game app, the founders understood that lack of communication was one of the leading causes of low productivity and poor business results. Once the problem was apparent, the solution popped out – an app that allows continuous, live communication between team members.

    Freemium was the key. This kind of model, the promise of an emptier inbox email, and a spread word of mouth made the rest.


  • Groupon

    If you believe that FOMO – fear of missing out – is something very recent, think again, because it is the reason for the explosion of Groupon. We all know how this company is useful to find out discounts, but in the beginning, it was quite different.

    Every deal came with an offer. If a customer wanted a free service, he or she had to share it with three different friends through a given link. If those three people buy the service, you will have it for free.

    It is all based on the concept of FOMO, as we were saying. The urgency of getting the deal made people share links as much as possible, which lead to a massive growth of the company.
  • Paypal

    Last but not least, we selected Paypal, one of the most important services to exchange money. Its growth hacking technique is similar to Dropbox’s one because, in fact, it was Paypal who invented it first.

    Thanks to the same referral strategy, the company managed to grow from 7% to 10% daily. If it seems enormous to you, just remember that it was the beginning of the last decade – which means smaller Internet, no social media, and just a bunch of forums. It does sound amazing, right?

Growth Hacking And AI. Enemies Or Allies?

Growth Hacking and Artificial Intelligence are not necessarily enemies. They can even work together to create an outstanding business.

What does this approach share with Artificial Intelligence? Even if they are different, we said that they share some similarities. They can be the key to make them work together in the right way.
Artificial Intelligence is another one of the extraordinary technologies of our world. AI can help processes to grow fast and become automated. AI is becoming more and more essential and used in the world because it is scalable, automate, quick, and time-saving.

Both technologies have elements of disrupting and endless innovation. AI helps to compete and having a competitive advantage. It is innovative, too, because it can save time and allow us to try different processes with a more accurate predictive capacity. It can work with millions of data and extract essential and significant patterns and reports. AI algorithms can help predict trends and better understand what people desire and think.

Can AI and Growth hacking work together?

Even if many companies see them as opponents, they can combine their positive elements to create something new in terms of process and output. AI can analyze the context, the customers, and the environment.

Growth hacking will be useful to understand which processes may become leaner, where it is possible to experiment and which parts of the work the company can scale. This process can become routine for almost every element of the operations of the companies. In this way, you can scale up the market with an agile way of thinking that allows mistakes and experimentation.

Does it sound great or not?

Takeaways AI and growth hacking are two technologies that are protagonists of the last few years. They are both well-loved, and they have many similarities.
Growth Hacking is more of an approach and a mindset than a discipline. AI is the chance to automate processes and analyze a vast quantity of data.
AI and growth hacking can combine their positive elements to develop methods and products in a smarter, more comfortable, and faster way. With a lot more pieces of information.

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