The term “growth hacking” has kind of jumped the shark. But something I’ve really noticed since I’ve been consulting with a number of companies is that my marketing consulting looks a lot more like product consulting. Understand what people are doing with a product, figuring out which actions make a good user (as in establishing KPIs), getting my arms around what causes a person to not be retained (sometimes it’s a channel problem, sometimes it’s a product issue)… that’s what I’ve been doing with my marketing consulting.
I loved this piece on TC by Justin Caldbeck. This quote, from the end of the article, really hit home:
The problem right now is that many companies seem to be operating under the total misconception that growth fixes all. That leads them to bring on self-proclaimed “growth hackers” who rapidly acquire more customers through spammy viral techniques, but when those customers don’t engage, or — worse — have bad experiences and tell their friends about it, that growth curve crashes. By that point your growth hacker is on to his or her next gig, and you’re left with what you had to begin with: a product that either hasn’t found its audience yet or hasn’t yet given people a reason to engage with it.
So if you’re thinking about hiring a growth hacker, find someone who’s a great product person and who really knows user experience and understands user value, not just someone who knows all the tricks to ratcheting up your growth curve.