Sometimes I’m caught by surprise by new trends/concepts that aren’t so new to those in the know.
Take growth hacking, for example. I discovered the term in a chance observation of a little-used (yet) and apparently new section of an internet marketing forum.
The warriorforum.com moderator has provided quite a collection of FAQ data, which you can view yourself.
First, the definition (from Wikipedia)
Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.It can be seen as part of the online marketing ecosystem, as in many cases Growth Hackers are simply good at using techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing which are already mainstream. Growth hackers focus on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing, i.e., utilizing social media and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television. Growth hacking is particularly important for startups, as it allows for a “lean” launch that focuses on “growth first, budgets second.” Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AirBnB and Dropbox are all companies that use growth hacking techniques.
Ok, this sounds more appropriate to Internet business-start ups than the operation of well-established (or even startup) AEC businesses. However, I think we can still learn from the growth hacking concepts, as these combine the best practices of Internet Marketing with an extremely focused, analytical and measurement-strategic approach to lead gathering, conversion and business development.
One intriguing concept of growth hacking is the concept that the product itself can be a key part of the marketing concept. This obviously works more with internet services than with construction projects, but an example could be how the airbnb.com housing/apartment service initially created a model where it invited its properties to easily list themselves on Craigslist. The “hack” was that Craigslist didn’t approve this strategy — AirBnB created the software application, however, and the cross-posting certainly served the interests of the individuals to promote their listings, while it attracted new clients in droves to the service. (The concept wasn’t strictly out of Craigslist’s terms of service, but eventually Craigslist set things up to ban the application.)
In a practical sense, most growth hacking techniques, if successful, would probably overwhelm even the best-managed AEC business. I mean, if you are a residential plumber and you develop a great “hack” to draw incredible traffic, you’ll run into a back-end service challenge — how many really good plumbers can you hire, oversee and manage in a day?
Nevertheless, I encourage you to read this stuff for some inspiration and ideas. We might not be able to complete the hacking process for everything we do, but we can certainly think for growth.