The first rule of Growth Hacking? Don’t talk about growth hacking.
That was my paraphrased tweet quoting one of the speakers at the Growth Hacking Conference in London recently. It seems I’m not the only one who isn’t a fan of the name but feels the principles behind it are sound, if a little misunderstood.
Many people (maybe just us Brits?) roll their eyes when they hear the phrase ‘growth hacking’, thinking it’s a cheesy term applied to the processes of inflating numbers exceptionally quickly with a goal of reaching a ridiculous valuation figure that gets Mark Zuckerberg jingling his pocket change.
So it was refreshing to hear so many of the speakers at the conference talking about sustainable growth – yes, build a product that scales, but also one that provides value to its audience, not just for 3 days, 3 weeks weeks or 3 months, but on an ongoing basis. A product that would be missed if it were no longer there.
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When faced with a problem it’s very easy to go with the obvious answer. If we expected X to happen but instead we got Y, then we can only assume Z must be the reason.
If presented with a hard fact, we tend to fill in the blanks to make sense of why something didn’t happen the way we expected. Sometime we’re right. There is a reason why it’s the obvious answer. But like stereotypes, which can be based on repeated traits, assumptions can also be wide of the mark.
We need to think differently. We need to dig beneath the surface.
To do so, it’s important to understand the data, but we also need to put ourselves in our customers shoes and look at it from their perspective. Data can give you the what, but not the why.