2 lessons I learnt during my past 6 months as a growth hacker

TL;DR

  • You can grow fast only if you are in full control of the users' life cycle
  • Growth hacking a business requires creativity and a mind proned to "I test everything"

Growth hacking works fine with SAAS business but…

In order to get results, your SAAS product should liaise directly with the final users. If the business (A) makes a profit only when A customers cashflow increase due to their sale, things become inevitably complicated.

Not being able to influence the final moneymaker decisions, will probably end up in a 10/90 scenario, where 10 is the sole part of customers that will appreciate your suggestions and what you have to say. This is due to the fact your clients have one specific need: making money. The use of your service, to them, it's just a possible resource to accelerate the process, and more often than not, they would expect the solution to work out of the box, generating numbers without them making any efforts.

During my experience, I tried to establish a quick connection with some of the customers explaining ideas, strategies and everything it would have been good to test for improving their online business and moving the numbers.

Useless to say this proved to be a time-consuming exercise that brought very little results, it is not scalable hence it cannot be considered a "hack". A one-to-one marketing job that albeit I was happy to do in respect of the growth hacking role I was covering resulted in a fail.

Surely I could have spent my time figuring out different strategies, but there were few pieces of the puzzle missing that made this process not linear as I would.

This in turns suggests me growth hacking to be successful requires companies not to be in their infancy (I may be definitely wrong in making this assumption).

With a small data set and highly variable users behaviour, in the early stage scalable growth is a challenge.

Thing big, think creative

The intrinsic characteristic of a growth hacker is creativity. A growth hacker looks beyond the traditional marketing.

The biggest misconception about growth is that it is a bunch of tactics ready to be copied. Growth comes from an attitude, not from platitudes.

If you have jumped on the growth hacking bandwagon since a while, chances are you have learned that to hack a business your solutions need to be tested to either fail or succeed. And if a failing is required, you really want this to happen fast (in a week), so to get new insights and keep going with new tests.

Disallowing certain channels based on the feelings they won't work diminish the chances of reaching scale, thus creating gaps in the strategy that may be not easy to recover.

Wrapping up

I indeed enjoyed my past six months; I got the chance to learn new things, perfection some skills, and test products I couldn't somewhere else. So although my adventure did not end like a fairy tail, at least now I have more consciousness about how and where growth hacking can be applied.

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