We have certainly come across explosive growth stories in the recent years, mostly from startups, seldom from large corporates.

  • LinkedIn’s user base grew from about 2 million to over 200 million when they let users create a public profile.
  • Airbnb hacked its way to having a large user growth by targeting craigslist house rental listings.
  • Dropbox had a viral growth with their Refer a Friend program, which gave both users free storage space.

To stay ahead of the competition and have swift growth, startups use Growth Hacking techniques. This is key for their survival in a competitive space.

Can traditional large corporates and organisations have a fast growth, if not explosive growth? Using similar growth hacking techniques and changing the mindset, traditional organisations can have high growth rate as well.

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels, product development, sales segments, and other areas of the business to identify the most efficient ways to grow a business.

In simple terms, experimenting on products and services with a short lead time, activating all growth levers and constantly collecting intelligent data to make wise business decisions.

What are the steps involved in Corporate Growth Hacking?

  1. Define a realistic Goal
  2. Gather Market Intelligence
  3. Experimentation
  4. Intelligent Analytics
  5. Assessment

1. Define a realistic Goal

Defining a goal is a key element of Growth Hacking. A goal that you define should be precise and easily understood by your organization. It is also important to make sure that the growth goals are realistic. A good look in to the market, peers, etc, running a benchmarking exercise and balancing them with shareholder expectations should help you define a realistic goal.

Set precise goals like:

  • Grow Turnover by 30% in the next financial year [Goal + Time]
  • Improve EBIT by 500bps in the current Financial year
  • Bring attrition down to 12% within one year
  • Sign 10 new customers of > €1M TO within one year

Don’t set goals like:

  • Grow fast this year
  • Become one of the best marketing firms in the world
  • Expand the Business to many countries

2. Gather Market Intelligence

Know the waters before you set sail. Launch a detailed analysis of the Market and gather enough intelligence on the market where you are present, potential customers, competitors etc. Use Blue Ocean Strategy to find the Blue Ocean of your market . Blue Ocean is an unexplored market where the competition is less and you can have a potential first entrant advantage. Make the intelligence gathering as useful and relevant as possible by defining elements that you would want to know — elements that would help you define the experiment in the next phase.

3. Experimentation

Most important part of the Growth Hacking exercise is the Experimentation phase. The success of this exercise depends on how well the experiment is defined and executed. Define the experiment(s) that you think would help you reach the goal. This can simply be a new marketing campaign or it can be developing market focused solutions that you try and test in a rapid pace.

When you have the frame of your experiment, identify key points that you would track during the experiment execution. The key is to collect as many data as possible to make your decision making much simpler.

Now that the experiment is defined and the data points to be collected are identified, launch the experiment in a controlled manner. Efforts and money spent on the different stages of the experiment should be monitored and controlled.

4. Intelligent Analytics

With advancements in data processing and analytics, it is important to leverage the available tools and technologies to analyse the collected data intelligently. The goal is to find the effectiveness of different experiments and measure how well these experiments help in achieving the growth targets. In a continuous experimentation scenario, analysis of data collected from different experiments can help you arrive at a baseline for all future experiments.

Analytics should also raise alarms when a certain experiment goes out of bounds which could potentially end up with a negative rather positive growth. Keep a watch on these alarms to abort an experiment before it is detremental.

5. Assessment

The ultimate aim of the ‘Corporate Growth Hacking’ exercise is to achieve the growth goals set at the start of the exercise. Periodic assessments are necessary to make sure that the experiments are progressing within the right boundaries, at the right pace. At the end of an experimentation cycle, an assessment of the experiment is made using the data collected, analytics reports and the extend to which the goal was achieved in the defined timeline. There could be multiple outcomes of the assessment, such as:

Continue: Move forward with the experiment without any changes or with minor tweaks

Pivot: Move forward with major changes to the experiment, taking a different direction

Abort: Stop the experiment

Continue, Pivot, Abort decisions are made, backed by data during the assessment meetings with the participation of the right stakeholders. Decision making should be quick and easy, assisted by the analytics reports.

Corporate Growth Hacking is a mindset or a culture rather than a methodology

With the right mindset and a carefully chosen mix of stakeholders, corporates can succeed in their growth journey.

This first part article is just an introduction to Corporate growth hacking. In the following parts, we will go deeper into each steps of Growth Hacking, the Growth Hacking culture, selection of the right stakeholders and Custom Growth Hacking tools.

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