June 2016

Author, stoic, and good friend Ryan Holiday drops in to talk about the ego, and the wisdom from his new book Ego is the Enemy.

Once again Ryan’s at the forefront of change. In Growth Hacker Marketing, he shows how the marketing game has changed forever and how marketers must learn a new mindset or risk becoming obsolete.

Here’s 5 takeaways from the book that will help you stay relevant:

1) Adopt the Growth Hacker Mindset

If you wait until your organization gives you something to market/sell, then you’ve probably already lost.

Growth hackers get involved during the development and design phase to ensure they help build something that people want.

Via Growth Hacker Marketing: “A growth hacker doesn’t see marketing as something one does, but rather something one builds into the product itself.”

This isn’t about the tools (those change depending on the task); it’s about “finding clarity in a world that’s been dominated by gut instincts and artistic preference for far too long.” (Holiday)

2) Establish Product Market Fit

It’s time to stop guessing what people want. You can’t sit in your office with your colleagues discussing what would be cool or what you think potential customers would want.

Or rather, you can, but you’re wasting valuable time.

A better strategy is to get a minimum viable product in front of your customers to ensure that you’re meeting their needs.

Via Growth Hacker Marketing: “Product market fit is a feeling backed with data and information.”

Have you ever tried to market or sell something that people didn’t want and that you didn’t believe in? How’d that work out for you?

3) Make Mistakes Quickly

Via Growth Hacker Marketing: “The thing about marketers — and, well, everyone — is that we’re wrong all the time. We think we make good decisions, but we don’t.”

Oh, you spent 2 months planning a campaign? What happens when you launch that product and it doesn’t resonate? How much time and money have you wasted?

Via Growth Hacker Marketing: “Growth hacking fundamentally reduces the costs of being wrong, giving us freedom to experiment and try new things.”

If your retention stinks, the last thing you need to be doing is revising your marketing strategy for a static product that nobody wants (see #2).

Spend your dollars on product improvements. Keep refining and improving your product (or service offering) until users are so happy they can’t stop using it and want to tell all their friends about it. Then make help make that process seamless.

4) Have Relentless Focus on Growth

Unless you’re a big brand, awareness doesn’t matter yet. Neither does building a team or managing vendors.

Stop thinking so broadly. Save those awareness dollars and hone in on acquisition.

Your growth hacking strategy should be testable, trackable and scalable.

Via Growth Hacker Marketing: “Instead of bludgeoning the public with ads dominating the front page of newspapers to drive awareness — they (growth hackers) used a scalpel, precise, and targeted to a specific audience.”

If you build something people inherently want, that fulfills a need and/or solves their problems, they’ll take care of the awareness for you.

5) Redefine Marketing

Via Growth Hacker Marketing: “The definition of marketing is in desperate need of expansion. In fact, anything that and everything can be considered marketing — so long as it grows the business.”

It was only a few years ago that we were talking about digital/social. Good marketing (slowly) shifted from spending LOTS of money to shove your message down consumers throats to having genuine conversations with people.

And now, while those social/digital tactics can be a component of your growth hacking strategy, it goes beyond that. We can build stuff people want, design for sharing and virality, iterate early (and often), and scale efficiently.

It’s time to stop trying to buy attention and to start building a self-perpetuating marketing machine.

There are some solid resources out there on growth-hacking, but if you’re serious about staying ahead of the curve and remaining relevant you should start by checking out Ryan’s book. He’s taken many of the best resources and distilled them down to one guide:

The best book on growth hacking marketing to date.

Don’t get left behind.


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