Marketing Strategy Reinvented: "Growth Hacking" (Applying Agile Principles to Growth)

One of the core principles of Agile is the idea that in each iteration (or sprint) we build something tangible and test it regularly. This idea of moving the ball consistently forward has taken the slow process of software development and put rocket fuel into the mix so that, not only does stuff get built, but the outcome delights the customer. Growth hacking is the Marketing Departments equivalent.

Now imagine marketing a new product, service or business. Typically you’d build a marketing strategy based on lots of research, you’d then build your marketing collateral and begin rolling that out (hopefully doing some small scale tests before you go big). Based on those small scale tests, you’d then start planning a comprehensive campaign. (I’m simplifying enormously here, but you get the drift). The annual marketing plan (done often only by marketing), was a reasonably effective process.

Then, one day, Google and Facebook came along and the game changed, and has continued to change for all of us involved in building, developing and delivering products and services.

Sean Ellis in 2010 coined the term Growth Hacking, it is a process whereby a multi functional growth team (marketers, graphic designers, product specialist, SEO experts, developers, UX experts, analytics experts and so on) quickly and iteratively marketing a product/service and thereby accelerate its growth rate and adoption in its target market by focusing on testing (to discover or to optimise). This strategy is behind the success of people like Linkedin, Uber and Dropbox.

Sean makes it clear that this is not a magic bullet. If you don’t have a great product/service then no matter what you do from that point forward, you will struggle. So each of the three stages of growth are dependent on the excellent execution of the prior stage.

Watch the video, it is a very practical, honest sharing of knowledge from a person who has been at the heart of some of the biggest marketing successes of the past 10 years.

Marketing and marketing strategy are no longer ‘dark arts’ because clear, unarguable metrics generated online mean that it is impossible to hide the truth about whether a campaign is a success, failure or somewhere in the middle.

The big question to ask yourself is simply this:

“What is our strategy for growth and are we testing continually for success?”