What marketing hacks can turn into growth for your organization?
What exactly is a marketing hack?
Well, according to Wikipedia, the definitive source for everything: ”Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. … Growth hackers are marketers, engineers and product managers that specifically focus on building and engaging the user base of a business.”
All B2B Marketing Is NOT The Same
SMB, Middle-Market & Enterprise B2B Marketing each demand their own specific strategies. And there are marketers who work in each of these areas that would love to take advantage of any kind of “hack” especially one that promises “growth.”
There are countless articles that have been written, are being written and will be written about growth hacking. After all, it is one of the shiny new objects of B2B marketing, as was “Account Based Marketing,” or “Social Selling” just a few years back. With anything that is seemingly new, and definitely popular, there is a lot of noise surrounding it.
The idea of experimentation or testing in marketing is certainly not new. What is new, is the speed at which experimentation is taking place among those who are truly practicing “growth hacking.” Creating an MVP (minimal viable product) type of marketing, and sending it out into the world sometimes only half baked, has allowed marketers to better immediately understand the viability and success of the marketing strategy or tactic.
Tactical Marketing Tryouts
Many of the articles written deliver lists of great “growth marketing hacks” which are really nothing more than a laundry list of tactical ideas for marketers to consider and try out in a limited time frame. I guess that “Tactical Marketing Tryouts” could be classified as growth hacking, however that’s not how I would set out to define it and unfortunately, a great many marketers have mistaken “Tactical Marketing Tryouts” for B2B Growth Hacking Marketing.
What modern marketers ought to be considering is how changing their strategy might change their marketing outcomes. Strategy is a whole level up from tactical experimentation, and here is where the concept of growth hacking can lead to some really big ideas, and / or changes in direction.
Let’s say that your strategy for marketing a B2B SaaS product aimed at Enterprise accounts is heavily based on inbound marketing utilizing a pull marketing strategy with heavy content development.
In the true spirit of growth hacking, you decided to throw out that strategy, in the hopes of creating some MVP (minimal viable product) strategies that you could roll out in a hurry to see what works and what doesn’t.
One of the 5 different strategies that you developed in the growth hacking scrum (see Agile Project Management) is centered around a hybrid mix of account based marketing, social selling and “snack-able” video content assets. You decide to roll this out against 5 of the “named accounts” or strategic accounts you have identified and within a few weeks, this strategy seems to be outperforming the old tried and true inbound pull marketing strategy, bringing MQLs, SQLs and SALs in faster and with better quality than your previous strategy.
Congratulations. You have successfully practiced B2B Growth Hacking Marketing.
Now, let’s look at why “Tactical Marketing Tryouts” isn’t really growth hacking.
Had you not changed your strategy, you would have embarked on a journey to test various pieces of “inbound, pull marketing content” which you have considered to be “B2B growth hacking marketing.”
Imagine that you tried 20 different content types, in 5 different content formats, and used different landing pages and calls to action to attempt to improve your results through “B2B Growth Hacking Marketing.” Sure, some of the content tactics may have performed better than your original content, and you may have increased inquiries and prospects through those different content pieces, but you would have never learned that your flawed strategy was preventing you from being successful.
Top of Their Game
B2B marketers who are at the top of their game, have really always practiced a form of “growth hacking.”
Testing is critical to any successful marketing program and good B2B marketers have always known this. What is different about the theory of growth hacking is the abbreviated time period allocated for testing. Rolling out a marketing rapid prototype after rapid prototype in a small scaled section of your marketing will enable you to get a “read” on how your experimentation in marketing is performing.
Yes, you can use this process to test tactics as well as strategies, and I encourage marketers test everything. Tactics, content, calls to action, landing pages, and most importantly, marketing strategy.
B2B Growth Hacking Marketing can be done in SMB, Middle Market and Enterprise B2B marketing, as even though each discipline of B2B marketing is decidedly different, the same process for testing, and for rolling out rapid prototypes of marketing strategy can be accomplished.
I applaud those who have developed the process and idea of growth hacking. Even if the idea isn’t brand new, it still reinforces the best practice of testing, trying new things, and learning to fail good.
One of my favorite quotes on the subject is from Thomas A. Edison who said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Go out and embrace failure, as Edison did, and you may just wind up developing a B2B Marketing Growth Hack that moves your organization forward at a speed and in ways you never imagined.