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.
What makes a growth hacker?
The growth hacker is an interesting (and elusive) creature. As I explained in my previous post, growth hacking is a tool commonly used by engineers in startups in an effort to promote a product while keeping marketing costs down. Today’s marketers are like 17th century hatters (aka mad hatters), who were known to suffer disease from inhaling the fumes of their work until industrial advancements improved their working conditions; we’re still using our old-school tricks. Growth hackers are just a new breed of marketers… whose rise is due to technological advancements. Growth hacking uses the technology available to spread a product via friend referrals, social media, gamification and more.
Growth hacking in a marketing context
You may have heard of growth hacking by now. It’s the current fashion among start-ups and tech companies. It’s a marketing technique focused on – duh! – growth. While marketing is mostly a tool of mass broadcast, up-and-coming companies of the internet age do not always have the privilege of large budgets, and thus growth hacking was born out of a necessity to quickly scale business forcing start-ups to embed it into the core of their strategy.
What buzz, viral and word-of-mouth marketing have in common
These days, marketing is all about making noise, generating buzz, and going viral. Word-of-mouth has been around for ages, but buzz marketing and viral marketing are concepts that emerged with the internet and social media. What all of these have in common is that they rely on the help of consumers themselves – whether knowingly or unknowingly – to get the word out, they are short-term strategies generally with the goal of increasing brand awareness by echoing its name, and they fail to create long-lasting effects. However, some brands forget that marketing has to have a coherent message.
Defining a brand: for what and for whom
Brands are remarkable beings. They function like living, breathing organisms. They grow, they mature, they evolve over time. Much like us, they adapt to survive. They are the first of man’s creations to take on a life of its own. They incorporate values and beliefs to create a personality for people to identify with. They use images and messages to form an identity that makes them unique. We relate to and feel strongly for brands, some of which we have come to love.
Brand positioning in your mind – and your clothes
Just kidding, keep your clothes on. See, I’m going to talk about the clothes you’re wearing… and brand positioning. Fashion statements are a great example of effective brand positioning. Brand positioning is the sum of values that a company wants its target audience to associate with it in order to set it apart from its competition, like a personality or a stereotype. Yes, brands also want to fit in and attract consumers so they have to incorporate traits we can identify with. A fashion statement is the name given to certain clothing that expresses an attitude or reflects a lifestyle of the person wearing it; successful fashion statements are easy to identify with due to their strong messages, like Ed Hardy and Ralph Lauren.
Marketing in a digital world: it’s all about personal relationships
In the internet age, marketing is in the very hearts and minds of consumers. Interactions between companies and consumers have allowed for an evolution in marketing by creating stronger bonds, partly due to the rise and growth of online communication channels, but more importantly, due to the sharing of values and beliefs. More and more, consumers use brands to express who they are and brands rely on people to spread their voice.