How can growth hacking work for non-tech companies?
Following my posts on growth hacking and growth hackers, I started thinking about how non-tech companies can use this concept to their benefit. The first big hurdle is that it’s a concept most commonly associated with technology. Even though I’m a believer in growth hacking as a modern marketing tool, many still see it as a tech-specific discipline. Nonsense, I say! I think part of the problem comes from its name which implies a focus on growth and traction which is found in tech start-ups. The other part is that some believe that marketers simply cannot create growth hacks.
Instead of growth, non-tech companies generally focus on sales, as is the case in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry. For these companies, every purchase counts as growth – not of client base, but of revenue. In FMCG, growth hacking seems incompatible. But is it, really? Think about it: you want people to talk about your product so why not apply this concept directly to your sales strategy? Consumer brands need to take advantage of all opportunities to promote their products, and growth hacking provides opportunities within the product itself. The opportunities are endless ranging from product quality to design (label, packaging, etc) to in-store visibility (POP displays, shelf arrangement, etc). These can be “hacked” so to speak.
Sales promotions can also be hacks for growth: activations, special offers, discount deals and others, all are ways to promote the product through the product itself. P&G might offer a larger bottle of shampoo for an attractive price, or Danone might offer ‘buy one and get one free’ deals for its yogurts. Look at gift vouchers: you give a voucher worth a certain amount of money to a friend and you are in essence promoting said shop. Now take discount coupons: Groupon ran promotions where for every three friends you convinced to buy a deal, you would get that deal for free – think of the incentive for the consumer to spread the product and the profit for the company! All that is growth hacking. Someone just found a new way to do it with modern technology and slapped a cool name on it.
Of course non-tech companies can use growth hacks to their advantage, and they already have been. Growth hacks are not necessarily as complicated as they’re made out to be; they are very useful, smart and, in many cases, innovative ways to promote products. It’s no secret that growth hacking is favored by tech companies, but it shouldn’t be feared by other companies. I, for one, move to call these marketing hacks instead, so that these intelligent little tweaks can grow on you too (pun absolutely intended!).
What are some examples of successful hacks you’ve encountered or used?