I read the marketing press, I am bombarded by marketing emails, but there is something that seems to have moved so fast, I have missed it. I was fascinated to read Jasmine Gardner’s article in the Evening Standard (21/01/14) –“Miracle growers: tech stars who know how to hook you”. This is an article on Growth Hackers, a phenomenon born from Silicon Valley, which has recently reared its head in the UK and taken up regular residency over at Silicon Roundabout in Old Street.
The digital world is confusing, but Gardner describes a Growth Hacker to be someone who will work with a start up to:
“Look carefully at their product and devise anything from tiny tweaks to completely new ideas to get more sign-ups for their service”
Is that not marketing?
The examples provided are that of Amazon, Google and Twitter. It is claimed that these did not rely on traditional routes of advertising and marketing agencies, but were able to expand at incredible rates because “they had an awesome, compelling product and they built into those products very easy ways to share them with other people”
Come on………… that is agreed, but, whilst the innovative nature of these products/services at the time of their launch is undeniable, were they not just taken to market at exactly the right time with the right approach and team behind them? There is no mystery around that – the market was ready and willing and did not need to be forced.
Is the term just an opportunity to start a new industry around the ever blurring world of digital? I say blurring as with more online products and services, is it such a mixed market that there will never be clarity?
A Growth Hacker is just another name for a digital marketer, but it is focused around start-ups, rather than settled corporates. Indeed elements are described as:
- Paid acquisition – PPC
- Call centres/sales teams
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
Ludicrous, as these are elements of services provided by Alchemis clients and they would certainly categorise themselves as “marketing”. Growth of a start-up is a given, otherwise it will disappear. This term seems to insinuate that there is a new breed able to work with start-ups, but we work with a lot of traditional branding and online/digital agencies that nurture and develop start-ups. Indeed we work with the media agency that took Red Bull from a concept in a crazy Austrian’s mind to a global phenomenon. They did this through offline and online advertising. Are they a “growth hacker”? Good luck with introducing that concept at their AGM.
OK, start-ups don’t have huge resources for marketing, but we work with lots of start-up digital agencies, who are developing business with other start-ups. The Growth Hacker works for the Growth Hacker.
The whole concept is nonsensical, to my mind anyway. If you are looking to develop users and customers you are in sales and marketing. How many terms can you come up with? Sales, new business and heaven forbid telesales have long been frowned upon, but if you are to devise something new, “Growth Hackers” is a simply terrible term. We work with lots of clever, innovative, different and interesting digital marketing agencies and they are excellent at what they do.
I hope “Growth Hacker” is a term that leaves as fast as it arrived.