Growth Hacking, the process of rapid experimentation and development across various marketing channels, is one of the most effective and efficient ways of growing a business. But like any other marketing trend, there are the pros and cons of adopting this approach. There is plenty of talk regarding growth hacking, so we’ll start by separating the bad from the good. There are teams working for growth hacking all across the world, doing great work and building marketing tactics. For every legitimate growth hacker, there are estimated to be around 3 so-called experts, say sources with a depth of experience and knowledge most growth hackers don’t. Growth hacking provides a cheat code for scaling up, but only until the code expires. For a startup the promise of quick wins and immediate results seems great, but shortcuts don’t pay off in the long run. Stay vary of these pointers while Growth Hacking.
1> Growth hackers are not team members, but individual contributors
Growth hacking tends to attract people who enjoy being individual contributors and are not necessarily team players. It has been observed that they learn skills they can execute on their own. This translates to pioneering projects with little regard for other business units in the organization. They would generate followers, but would not care if operations are ready to handle the followers.
2> Growth hacking tactics measure outputs not outcomes
Most growth hacking tactics measure outputs instead of outcomes. If you run a campaign for free trial signups for your Saas product , what do you do with them? How many of them will be paying customers? How do these free signups drive revenue? Growth hacking focuses on bringing something to 20x or 100x, without explaining how it adds value. Marketing goals should align with revenue goals and growth hacks rarely consider outputs in terms of generating revenue for your company in the long term.
3> Growth hacking tends to require ill-defined tools
Growth hacking relies on tools that are potential security and privacy risks.Stay away from free tools that only require your username or authorization with your Twitter id. If you do not pay for the product, then you become the product and cost of using this free tool would be your data. Another thing would be that Google and Facebook are much smarter, and since growth hacks are essentially exploits, it would only take few hours for the platform you are exploiting to cut you off. Whatever vulnerability your tool uncovers would be fixed in a matter of days as teams of engineers are dedicated to this.
4> Growth hacking promises quick wins
Growth hacks appeal to founders as they don’t require much long-term planning. It is tempting to delay the budgeting for a marketing campaign, but uploading your twitter followers into a tool to generate 100 leads is just not the same. This is laziness and does not set your company up for sustainable growth. Marketing should either generate high-quality leads or help the sales team close deals faster. If marketing goals are not tied to sales goals, then you have a problem. As a founder, time is the most important and finite resource and every effort in your organization should somehow contribute to generating true growth and value. Every growth hack takes time and attention which is a huge cost for an early-stage startup.
Always consider employee time while calculating the overall cost of a growth hacking tactic. If you estimate the tactic you have chosen will take 10 hours, consider what else you could achieve in those ten hours. What would be the comparable value if you called potential clients via phone for 10 hours? It could be more worthwhile than a bunch of views or Twitter followers.