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Low cost, key to business growth

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Growth hacking, a fast-growing marketing concept that uses creativity, logical reasoning and analysis to identify the most effective way to help a business grow, is going to be the highest paying job for the next few years

Growth hacker, a term coined by Sean Ellis in 2010, is the new buzz word catching on. The role of a growth hacker is now being fully understood and this role will be in demand for the next five years at least. There is also absolutely no doubt that this will be among the top three highest paying professions. But what does growth hacker mean? Sean Ellis describes him/her as a person whose true north is growth. Everything that a growth hacker does is scrutinised by potential impact on scalable growth.

This is not a new concept and some people, who were brave enough to experiment using scientific data, were called as innovative in their organisations. However, now this concept is being understood and defined specifically to give them due recognition for their efforts and the results they obtain.

The term growth hacking also brings clarity to the chief executive officer of a company — he can now clearly communicate to his teams on building their thought processes and to think out-of-the-box.

Kaizen, the theory of lean, too is in sync with growth hacking theologies as it aims to achieve better results/output via lean business practices. We have heard much about marketing teams for the last 20 years. So where is the difference? Here is an example:

A Google advertisement words will tell you to get the best and the highest cost key words to drive maximum traffic to your websites. However, a growth hacker will rather look for low traffic key words which may drive ‘very specific’ traffic to your websites. This would result definitely in low traffic but much higher conversion numbers.

The difference here is in the thought being applied. The moment could come from not just customers looking for a specific product, but also from customers who are probably dissatisfied from the competition, just saying. 

The strategy is to scientifically use logic and statics; study the environment in totality; and find one to two key differentiating factors. A small leverage applied at the right time would result in exponential growth and solidification of the business offerings.

The key to success for a growth hacker is creativity. This writer, in one of his presentations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was given a task of building a business case for a chocolate manufacturing company to enter into the health food market.

For the last 20 years in social media, we have been brain-washed over what we should be eating and what not. Three teams were formed and the other two started with the use of beached flour and fake flavors and artificial sweeteners.

All these would certainly have had a huge impact on the health of anyone eating these cakes. Gathering data and conducting interviews plus logical analysis brought out the following facts — at the back of our minds we have always realised that pure ingredients, organic sugar and chocolate is good for us in the right quantity. People are not really interested in fake foods and chemicals loaded offerings.

The product thus made was 100 per cent organic cake with real chocolate and simple sugars. The difference was in the baking molds. The molds had ribs built in such that each cut would give a 360-calorie piece. A man needs 2,000 calories per day and a lady about 1,600 calories per day to maintain weight and keep up.

A regular breakfast is 350 to 500 calories. The consumer could now without any ‘guilt’ eat rich chocolate cake, also being able to clearly understand the ‘intake’.

The above example clearly demonstrates that the study of the environment done was complete. Not just the product was analysed but also the mind of the consumer, matching his needs, wants and desires.

Growth hackers need to be able to think through, look at the holistic picture and delve into the value chains to connect with the consumers and positively impact revenue streams. They spend huge amounts of time talking of what they have seen, bought or heard — the growth hacker aims to use these communications to his benefit.

Hence, leveraging customers to build a bigger base is another imperative and delivering an incredible experience the key driver to motivate his strategies.

(The writer is Vice Chancellor, Rama University, Kanpur)




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