Growth hacking isn’t just for the well-known corporations and highly-regarded brands. It can be incredibly beneficial for start-ups too. However, it is contingent on understanding that growth hacking is a system that needs all the relevant nuts and bolts to be greater than the sum of its parts. The nuts and bolts in this analogy are, of course, the various components you’ll need in place to create a coherent growth hacking strategy.
The essential question here is what do you need for growth hacking to work for you? There are a number of things actually and we’re here to discuss exactly those. Here are the prerequisites that you need in place for your growth hacking strategy to be effective.
A Growth Hacking Strategy Needs Affirmation from the Senior Management
For growth hacking to be effective, the only absolute prerequisite is a clear understanding of the concept and its nitty-gritties. This isn’t just about the newly hired growth hacker’s understanding of its importance; it is a complete buy-in from the senior management. Growth hacking as a strategy will only be useful if the senior management is completely on-board and supportive of the initiative.
Once this is in place, everything else will become easier because the overall business strategy will be informed by principles of growth. For instance, if the senior management understands even the basics of growth hacking, they understand the value of experimentation and time. They will be patient, persistent, committed.
Growth hacking is done across the entire customer journey with the company in question. It can be difficult for it to be implemented without the senior management in on it because it requires coordination between various departments. It even requires the individual departments to work cohesively and not independently.
Growth hacking depends heavily on the uniformity of purpose and coordination, both of which can only be instilled in the company by the senior management.
A Growth Hacking Strategy Needs an Effective Product
Growth always comes after consolidation, whether you talk about abstract concepts like a business or something more physical like life. In nature, survival always comes before propagation. The same is true in the world of business where you’ll find Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest strangely apt.
In the business world, the first few months or years of a company are spent on breaking even. That is survival. It is only after survival is certain i.e. profits, that the company can think about growth. Survival in the business world is derived from the product or service being offered.
This is why a growth hacking strategy needs an effective product. If your product doesn’t have a stable demand, then it will be very difficult for you to implement any kind of growth hacking. In such a scenario, any growth hacking will begin with improving or developing the product so that the demand stabilises.
A Growth Hacking Strategy Needs Data
Growth hacking depends on data. You cannot even conceive of a growth hacking technique without having enough data. Any structure you create for growth hacking will need sufficient data to be considered viable. Otherwise, all you’re doing is taking a gamble on a gut feeling. You might as well start making changes to your company on the basis of astrology and expecting great returns to boot.
There are three elements to data when it comes to growth hacking and they aren’t all that different from how it works in conversion rate optimisation.
- You’ll need one or several systems for collecting data relevant to your existing customer base and target audience.
- You’ll need a way to store the gathered data that not will only ensure its safety but also make it easy for you to fetch relevant portions of it at a moment’s notice.
- You’ll need an army of data analysis tools and techniques. Getting actionable intelligence from large troves of data is not that different from panning for diamonds from the soil.
Your growth hacking strategy will need to revolve around data, whichever way you look at it. If you don’t already have the infrastructure for collecting, storing, and processing the data, then the first phase of your growth hacking strategy will be about establishing it.
The thing to remember is that you should set things up in a way that you’re collecting the maximum amount of data from every aspect of the customer journey with your business. This includes pre-sales marketing, customer acquisition, post-sales service, retention strategy, upselling tactics, and even product development.
A Growth Hacking Strategy Needs Sufficient Expertise
In our earlier post on growth hacking, we said that growth hacking is a collation of three business components – analytics, programming, and marketing. A growth hacker’s profile has bits and pieces of each of those three disciplines. However, his task is to lead disparate teams in a cohesive manner with a common objective of growth.
While the growth hacker leads, the teams do the work. This is why your programming (design and development), analytics (data and analytics), and marketing (strategists & copywriters) need to have sufficient expertise. Before you embark on any growth hacking strategy, you’ll need to have these teams or, at least, individual experts in place.
For start-ups, it is better to have a talented programmer, marketing professional, and data analyst instead of full teams. As the growth hacking strategy starts bearing fruit, the start-up can gradually add to each department to suit the growing requirements.
A Growth Hacking Strategy Needs Multiple Growth Hypotheses
This is the sole prerogative of a growth hacking expert. The expert’s primary task is to analyse the current state of the company and come up with multiple hypotheses on what could be done to boost or initiate its growth. ‘Hypothesis’ is a technical term used to describe an unproven statement. Once the statement is proven, it turns into a theory in the scientific circles.
In growth hacking, a hypothesis will be a growth idea that needs to be tested. Every growth hacking strategy should begin only after multiple growth hypotheses are in place. The hypotheses should then be verified using existing data. The purpose of this verification will be to determine how viable the hypotheses are.
Once the hypotheses have been verified, the growth hacking strategy can go about testing them. The kind of techniques used to test growth hypotheses will depend on the nature of the hypotheses being tested.
The reason why having multiple growth hypotheses is a prerequisite to any growth hacking strategy is that they determine both, the direction and the speed, with which the strategy proceeds. The more hypotheses there are, the faster they can be tested and may be implemented.