Photo Courtesy of Rob Potter

Why Growth Hacking Doesn’t Work

For companies struggling to get to the next level, growth hacking may seem like the cure-all that’s worth doubling down on. But before you sign a retainer with the shiny new agency promising massive lead generation and unbelievable growth, take a closer look at their methods.

Let’s Do the Math

Bringing in 100,000 new leads that convert 2% at $60 avg order value will deliver $120,000. If the campaign cost $20,000 you’ve got an ROI of 6x. Terrific!

  1. Dilutes your conversion rates. Makes it harder to see your true persona, delays your ability to hone in on your ideal customer profile.
  2. Takes time & money to convert. Stretches out average “days to conversion” or your “lookback window” calculation. Expensive to convert (may require deep discounts).
  3. Risky. You may spend a lot and get nothing. Lots of unqualified customers (paying for traffic that does not yield much).
  4. Hard to build an efficient, cost effective marketing mix. Haphazard acquisition does not provide a foundation for a marketing engine that will deliver sustained growth in the long-term.

How do I avoid low-quality contacts?

It comes down to audience and channel targeting, focused messaging and a call to action that’s appropriate to your product or service. Extend your focus beyond the vanity metrics (click thrus, likes and follows). Avoid “bait and switch” — a compelling hook might get the click (that you pay for) and never convert. Vanity metrics (without a clear idea of what converts are meaningless.

You can avoid growth hacking and still obtain impressive results. You just need to harness key customer insights to define smart messaging, channel and campaign strategies, then iterate to grow and build your marketing engine.

Tips for Smart Marketing Plans

A superb communications strategist armed with customer insights that can translate a targeted marketing strategy into ad copy and creative that works. Selecting channels to test should also reflect customer insights and the known targeting capabilities within these channels. Articulating the campaign objectives and aligning these expectations to the channels and selected advertising vehicles (reach, impressions, engagement, signups, sales) will ensure everyone is on the same page with the right creative, channels and metrics.

  1. What channels are available to me, how well can I target my ideal customer?
  2. What are the measures of success, and what are the directional results that I expect before scaling up or pivoting to a new tactic?
  3. How will I nurture leads to increase my likelihood of conversion?
  1. Select channels to start with. Be clear about who your target is and how they buy.
  2. Set a minimum testing budget and list out the metrics that you will watch (daily).
  3. Launch a few campaigns and measure results. Tweak if needed.
  4. As you identify “winners” (campaigns delivering ROI positive results), scale up the spend and make sure that results scale as well (and if not, decide whether results remain in an acceptable range).

Key Takeaways

The results of growth hacking might be initially impressive. However, as the marketing leader, too many “spray and pray” campaigns might make your entire marketing mix less effective.

Chief Growth Officer, Team Leader & Corporate Strategist | Passionate about helping SMB companies succeed | Lifelong learner, champion of innovative technology

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