How Sustainable is Growth Hacking?
A quick google of ‘growth hacking’ and you’ll find the following definition: ‘a marketing technique developed by technology startups which use creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.’ This definitely implies an opportunity for quick and rapid growth but also one that is rather short-lived. My posts to date have highlighted the potential growth hacking offers for start-ups but does this mean it’s no good for more developed businesses?
As a second year economics student we analyse situations with two different outlooks, the short run and the long run, let’s do the same here. In the short run, imagine you’re a start-up whose begun growth hacking successfully. You’ve found innovative ways to reach your target audience on social media sites, your content is being shared and the numbers visiting your page are soaring. Here growth hacking is an effective and low-risk strategy, you have the opportunity to grow without putting any of your few resources on the line.
Moving into the long run, you’re a mature company who has a large population of loyal followers. Does this mean you can give up hacking? No, continue to maintain your viewers’ attention. There is no doubt your focus in the area should reduce, but your growth will naturally slow regardless of this fact. A larger business has much more on its plate; more time is required to please loyal readers and maintain and coordinate its many components. Consequently attention is shifted away from finding new customers and general expansion. There is no way you can grow at an exponential rate consistently, at some point there must be a transition to slower growth and this point is in the long run.But I emphasize again the most successful digital marketers will not entirely stop growth hacking. New creative content ensures maintained success. Anyone who has an iPhone has been plagued by its frequent updates, whether this is to make it more navigable or simply to add to your emoji collection, the effects are the same: as customers it makes us believe they are still interested in giving us the best product. Care for your viewers is key. Continue to growth hack but not to a level where it interferes with the coordination and consistency of your company. Maintain the innovative, analytical skills that you used for hacking as this will definitely ensure returning visitors.
Growth hacking is not a long term growth strategy but when mastered it will never cease to be effective.