How to Master Growth Hacking?

By   September 13, 2018

Growth Hacking, is one of the key buzzwords we keep encountering in today’s entrepreneurial business environment. A simple Google Search of the phrase “Growth Hacking” would yield around 2.95 million searches. Enough has been said and written about it. Yet, has everyone mastered it ? If yes, every other startup in the world would attain a unicorn status. Every other startup would aspire to crack that one growth hacking element, which could accelerate their growth and make them successful. Alas! The journey isn’t as smooth as one could imagine.

Here is a book from Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem, that takes a shot on how to master growth hacking. Apurva Chamaria, Chief Revenue Officer, RateGain (who is also an angel investor in 25+ startups) and Gaurav Kakkar, Lead-Digital Marketing, HCL Technologies have authored a 300 pages odd book on Growth Hacking by capturing the experiences of leading startups that have emerged into successful organisations. Yesterday, I was lucky to come across a LinkedIn post that mentioned about the book launch in Bangalore and I quickly pounced upon the opportunity to be part of it and learn from the stalwarts. What interested me was to learn from the Indian experiences, given the tough consumer ecosystem that this country has compared to elsewhere in the world.

Master Growth Hacking

The book launch was graced by the presence of K. Ganesh, one of the well-known serial entrepreneurs in the country. He is the man, who betted on some widely known startups like PorteaMedical, BigBasket, BlueStone, HouseJoy, Homelane, Freshmenu, TutorVista,Qtrove, Growfit to name a few. He was energetic and in his key address to the audience highlighted few elements of entrepreneurial ecosystem, which on the face of it might seem to be very basic, but many of us would miss to adopt them in our lives.

  1. Adapt with change – K. Ganesh referred to few digital behaviors like vegetable vendor accepting payments through paytm or 70% consumption of video consumption on mobile devices, that would have been unheard and un-imagined a few years back. Thanks to the technology revolutions brought by Jio, and demoetisation efforts by the central government, there has been a shift in the way users have adopted digital ecosystem as part of their lives. With such ever changing business environment, one needs to be on toes to spot the trend and, adapt it on the fly to ensure he/she doesn’t miss the wave. On a jovial note, he also suggested Apurva Chamaria to keep updating the book, as new growth hacking techniques may come to forefront with every year.
  2. Customer Retention vs Customer Acquisition – A tempting hot topic for marketers, entrepreneurs and investors. K. Ganesh emphasized that its easier to acquire customers, but difficult to retain. Its easier to shell out budget on digital platforms to acquire customers but trick and saving lies in retaining them for a longer time and improving the Customer Lifetime Value.
  3. Mass Customisation – K. Ganesh delivered a strong message with a simple analogy, that he and his son would like to watch Sacred Games, but in their own individual zone and not together. It applies to a lot of products and services. We as a family might need a particular product / service, but would want to use them in one’s own individual capacity and convenience. Hence, entrepreneurs and marketers need to strongly think of mass customization to appease each consumer in this fragmented set of society, which is struggling with low attention span of time.
  4. Improving Conversion Rate – K. Ganesh in his final comment, touched upon the topic of improving conversion rate. He drew attention of audience by quoting a simple example of saving on 50% of budget by improving the conversion from 2% to 3% (which is a 50% incremental conversion rate).

Followed by K. Ganesh’s opening remarks, Apurva Chamaria spoke about his journey of writing this book. He quoted anecdotes of his interaction with various entrepreneurs.

What followed was a thought provoking panel discussion, where panellists shared their personal experiences of how they adopted growth hacking for their respective businesses. The panellists included Pallav Nadhani from FusionCharts,  Sachin Gupta from Hackerearth, Sunil Rao from Lightspeed India Partners Advisors,  and Dhiren Makhija from Cashkumar. The eminent panellists were moderated by Prathibha Sastry. Some of my key takeaways are as follows –

  1. Get the product right – Needless to say, but yet needs to be emphasized. Every entrepreneur or product developer would naturally get obsessed with his/her product.
  2. Target Audience – Identify your target audience appropriately, have patience, nurture them. Very few of the products fly off the shelf overnight, others would need to understand the pulse of the market and ensure they are reaching out to the right audience. It also could result into reduction in spill-overs, which could be one of the growth hacking routes.
  3. Word of mouth – Irrespective of how matured or not the business is, word of mouth plays a crucial role in the growth of an organisation. Its an art in itself to reach out right influencers so that word of mouth spreads at highest pace and to the largest set of audience.
  4. Growth Hacking Process – Answering one of the questions from the audience on how to set up growth hacking process within an organization, panellists’ thought was that there is no one fixed process. Each entrepreneur and organization need to learn from their own experiences, and its a ever-going iterative process leading eventually to success.
  5. Growth Hacking across verticals – Should growth hacking always be a contribution from marketing team? No! It could result from any vertical within an organisation. It could be about how well you manage working capital, it could be about how efficiently and effectively you hire people or manage supply chain etc. The intention should be to act smarter in any of the business operations and ensure that leads to the overall objective of multi-fold success.
  6. Role of Data – Decision making should be strongly backed with data. Let no opinions or emotions come in way of analysing the user behaviour on a product or a service. Understanding patterns within a certain set of data set could lead to cues that result into growth hacking inflection points.
  7. Ethics in Growth Hacking – I asked the final question of the session, on how important it is for organisation to ensure they don’t cross over the thin line of ethics. Panellists had an unanimous opinion that, as long as organisations aren’t misusing data, breaching privacy, everything that is done for growth hacking is fair and should be directional to multiply the business multi-fold.

Overall, it was a great learning experience to know various perspectives about growth hacking and entrepreneurship.

You could lay your hands on an excerpt from the book here. And I am sure your next step would be, to order the book! You could order the book from any of the top e-commerce portals – Amazon, Flipkart, Infibeam. Further, you could join the conversation on Twitter by following #MasterGrowthHacking.

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