Growth Hacking Strategies for Marketers and Engineers

Two weeks ago I wrote about how to communicate the significance of analytics based on insights learned at a digital marketing bootcamp hosted by General Assembly. To continue the conversation and lessons learned, I’m taking a deeper dive into growth hacking.

Startups often turn to growth hacking because traditional marketing channels are expensive and hyper competitive. They strive to design a product that’s amplified simply by people using it, sharing it and talking about it.

Growth hacking is a buzzword that startup founder and marketers throw around, so let’s dive into what it means and how growth hacks are developed. Growth hacking is the marriage of marketing and engineering. Marketers understand the incentives that motivate their audience to share a product or brand, and engineers implement features that will enable incentives to be amplified.

Marketers often run contests or giveaway campaigns to collect email addresses. They know that users will be enticed by a discount or chance to win a freebie, which encourages them to share their email address that marketers then use to promote their product.

From an engineering perspective, brands bake amplification into their products — from frictionless sharing to forced branding. Frictionless sharing happens when content is shared without the user explicitly sharing that event. When users sign into the Nike running app using their Facebook account, the app automatically shares the user’s run route and duration on Facebook.

Another strategy engineers are implementing that’s simple yet effective is forced branding —  presenting your company message as part of your product. For example, “Sent from my iPhone” is standard at the bottom of emails sent from an Apple mobile device, and the VSCO editing tool created its own hashtag, #vscocam. Many of these tactics are best practices today.

Understanding the strategies and components for various marketing efforts will help every content marketer and PR professional better understand how to add value.