This content was originally featured in the January 25, 2023 newsletter found here: https://www.trustinsights.ai/blog/2023/01/inbox-insights-january-25-2023-growth-hacking-secrets-competitive-analysis/.
I’m going to let you in on a poorly kept secret. “Hacking” isn’t a thing in business, or in marketing. When you start to unpack the definition of “growth hacking” what you’re talking about is process development, optimization, and agility.
That’s it. That’s the secret.
When you think about hacking, you think about shortcuts, you think about forcing an output, you think about acting without thinking. If you call someone a hack, you don’t think they are great at what they do. The problem with hacking something is that you’re setting yourself up for the long term. Chris gave me this example earlier:
It’s a recipe for disappointment in general because it’s often measured in growth percentages. you look great when you go from 10 to 100 users, but going from 100 to 200 is numerically just the same but the short-sighted CEO is like “we were at 10x growth last month and this month we’re at 2x growth? you’re fired!”
A little on the extreme side, but you get the idea.
If you’re a growth hacker, this is not an attack on you. Your title doesn’t do you justice. This also doesn’t apply to a hackathon, which is a collaborative event for software developers.
So, for the rest of this post, let’s drop the word “hack”. It has too many negative connotations and can lead people down the wrong path.
If you’re wanting to grow your business quickly, there are foundational pieces you need to execute before you take off running.
I know. You hate documentation. You just do things, you don’t think about how you do them. I get it. Well, I have news for you. You need documented process if you want to grow and scale. There is good news. You don’t have to write out your steps one at a time (unless you want to). There are other, more efficient options. For instance, you can create a video recording. Record the process and then have it transcribed. We use Otter.ai for all our transcriptions. If you want to take it a step further, you can use a tool like ChatGPT to clean up the transcription and rewrite it into bullet points. There are also a lot of tools that will “create” documentation for you as you complete a task. We’ve been using Tango, but there are other tools for you to explore. You want to have a process in place for the onboarding of your employees, and onboarding of your customers. Having repeatable processes will expedite your ability to scale. Don’t skip this step.
Unless you are starting your business from scratch, you likely already have some processes in place. Before chucking those out and starting over again, take another look. Is there room for improvement? Do you know what’s not working with your current processes? When was the last time you reviewed and tested your processes? Do you even have repeatable processes in place? Once you’re done asking yourself a million questions, start picking apart your current operating procedures. You may find opportunities to introduce automation and artificial intelligence. Note, before you can automate, you need to have a solid, repeatable process. If you don’t, go back to process development, and then keep optimizing.
This might be the hardest thing to achieve but will “hack” your growth the fastest. I know, I said hack. Here’s the thing about being agile. When executed well, it looks easy. To get to a place of being truly agile, there is a lot of preparation, process, and planning that needs to happen. You also need a ton of disciple to maintain those processes that allow you to be agile. With time and patience, you can achieve agility in your business.
So there you have it, the secrets of growth hacking. In case it wasn’t clear, there are no shortcuts, aka hacks, to growing your business. Hacking leads to unsustainable and unmaintainable growth. Sure, it could be great for a hot second, but what happens when it stops? What do you have to fall back on?
Need help with your marketing AI and analytics?
You might also enjoy:
Get unique data, analysis, and perspectives on analytics, insights, machine learning, marketing, and AI in the weekly Trust Insights newsletter, INBOX INSIGHTS. Subscribe now for free; new issues every Wednesday!
Want to learn more about data, analytics, and insights? Subscribe to In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, with new episodes every Wednesday.