For most industrial marketers the term “growth hacking” is probably foreign. Let’s turn to Wikipedia for a quick definition of growth hacking.
“Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. It can be seen as part of the online marketing ecosystem, as in many cases growth hackers are using techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing. Growth hackers focus on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. utilizing social media and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media.”
Many startups lack marketing budgets, so cash is scarce. To counter the lack of cash flow, marketers and programmers developed ways to leverage the vast network of the web to promote their products or services. I think one of the best examples of growth hacking is the twitter product itself. The real genius of twitter is that marketing was built into the product rather than building a marketing infrastructure to promote it.
As Wikipedia’s definition states, growth hacking was “developed by technology startups” and the technique is known for helping startups like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Airbnb.com and many others achieve phenomenal growth. Airbnb.com, probably, has the best known & most sophisticated growth hack.
This technique borders on genius. The legend goes like this. Airbnb needed many users to be successful and Craigslist already has millions. So…the growth geeks at Airbnb figured out a hack that allowed advertisers in Airbnb to be presented with an option to have their ad posted on Craigslist. Of course, the ad featured a link back to Airbnb.com. This allowed Airbnb access to millions of existing customers and this legendary growth hack resulted in rapid growth for Airbnb, at very little cost.
Some have said growth hacking is “the intersection of technology and marketing”. Others says a growth hacker is “a person whose true north is growth.”
Why can’t industrial marketers use the same creative techniques?
The smart industrial marketers will use search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing, marketing automation and A/B testing to grow their businesses, as we did for our industrial client. If you read this blog, you know that all these “tools” are available to the savvy industrial marketer.
We did a simple growth hack for a customer just a couple months ago. We were authoring blogs for our industrial customer in Detroit. At the bottom of each blog post we inserted a graphic call-to-action (CTA) and encouraged the reader to download a premium e-book we created for the customer The CTA was an inviting graphic, “Free eBook: 7 Tips on Choosing A Class “C” Components Supplier” , etc. Just for the shits & giggles, we decided to insert the CTA ABOVE the “Read More” break rather below the “Read More” break.
The resulting minor change, or growth hack, resulted in a 500% increase in traffic for that month & resulted in 100% increase in leads for the next few weeks. We, as marketers, not programmers were able to easily change the CTA and view the results in real time. Now…that is one way to achieve B2B lead generation.
This example is not as sophisticated as the Airbnb example, but does demonstrate the opportunities and the tools available to the savvy industrial marketer.
I cannot wait to think of more growth hacks for our industrial marketing friends. Can you think of any growth hacks to imrpove your industrial marketing strategy?
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