Ryan Holiday tells us that, in the digital age, growth hacking marketing is able to help build companies reach a scale in their marketing that was recently thought to be impossible, all without any of the skills and resources that more traditional marketers have considered to be essential.
Growth Hacker Marketing isn’t a market strategy that you do, but is something that is built into the product itself. For example, when figuring out how to market their new free web mail service, investor Tim Draper suggested that they advertise their new mail at the bottom of every email sent with their service. At the bottom of every email sent from Hotmail was the message “P.S.: I love you. Get your free Hotmail” and just like that, Hotmail had free Growth Hacker Marketing. This strategy is without a doubt what helped them gain 8.5 million subscribers in their first year as well as $400 million dollars from Microsoft.
As Aaron Ginn, one of the leaders in the growth hacker “movement” says: “The end goal of every growth hacker is to build a self-perpetuating marketing machine that reaches millions by itself.”
There are two things that are important for every company hoping to use growth hacking to remember. First, a great product is essential. It doesn't matter how good your marketing strategy is if your product is just plain old terrible. The more innovative your product is, the more it fits with the style of growth hacker marketing. Second, you can’t simply copy a growth hacker marketing strategy. Sure you may be able to slightly, however the same energy won’t be there for your product. It’s important to understand what makes your situation unique, and channel that energy into something new.
Here are some examples of what some companies did to create a growth hacker marketing strategy:
- The email app Mailbox created an aura of exclusivity by making their app have an invite only feature when it first launched
- The online forum Reddit created hundreds of fake profiles to make their community feel larger than it was when it first launched to attract other users
- Online payment provider Paypal focused their effort of becoming the payment method for eBay members, successfully piggybacking off another service
- Yelp and UDemy aimed to create a local community of users by organizing an event for their launch.
The main difference between Growth Hacker Marketing and regular marketing and the main reason to try Growth Hacker Marketing is that when it works, you see massive results and your product takes off massively as opposed to the incremental result you’ll see with traditional marketing. Growth Hacker Marketing is about having a bunch of ideas and trying a bunch of ideas. Eventually, if you find something that works, you too will see your product take off.