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The article is written in response to a presentation by Oussama Ammar (Co-Founder and Partner at TheFamily) who suggested that growth hacking is becoming less relevant because so many people are doing it and saturating the tactics.  Instead of growth hacking, he recommends that companies should focus on customer care.  Charles, the author of this article, argues against Oussama suggesting that there doesn't need to be a trade off between growth hacking and customer care, and that growth hacking is about constantly finding new channels.

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    over 4 years ago #

    This is where I think the problem lies:

    "In Oussama’s opinion, Growth Hacking has lost a huge part of it’s efficiency since its techniques have become well known by everyone."

    Growth hacking is not a set of tactics. Growth hackers don't run a playbook of specific hacks, they invent the playbook, everyday.

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      over 4 years ago #

      Seemed like Oussama's position was a pretty weak one because he largely defined growth hacking as a set of tactics. Appears most of us agree with the author of this article that because of his flawed definition, the rest of his presentation was based on a false premise. I agree with the author that customer care can be an important engine of growth and can be part of a broader growth hacking approach.

      • DC

        Denise Chan

        over 4 years ago #

        I believe that was only a limited glimpse of Oussama's full talk. The author goes on to say that Oussama's conclusion is that the French startup scene (his audience) needs to start thinking ahead about new ways to growth hack, customer care being one of them, in order not to fall behind the curve of bigger international players like the U.S.

        • SE

          Sean Ellis

          over 4 years ago #

          I figured it might be the case that some of the presentation was taken out of context. Would be great to get Oussama into this discussion to clarify his points.

      • GO

        Göktuğ Okan Oğuz

        about 4 years ago #

        It's not the term but the human behavior that will live forever I believe. New Tactics will arise everyday maybe. It's about the manipulation (I dont know if this is the right term) of human behavior. Besides knowing technologies (use of channels like SEO etc) the growth hacker should know about psychology. that's why I believe there will be agencies rather than growth hackers that will gather all the necessities together to achieve (or the companies will use their own resources and achieve results with gut feelings or growth hacker tactics)

    • DC

      Denise Chan

      over 4 years ago #

      Agreed, @morgan! We can't define growth hacking as a set of tactics. It's about innovation and growth - that's something that will never die out. @visakanv makes a great point about the term losing its value though - what do you think of that?

      • MB

        Morgan Brown

        over 4 years ago #

        I think the question with growth hacking is will it be something like "permission marketing" where "permission marketing" is now just marketing. Or will it be something like SEO where SEO is a definite skill set within the online marketing practice area.

        I actually think growth hacking has a chance to stick around as the way to define the basket of non-traditional marketing activities. For example, viral marketing might eventually be subsumed by the term growth hacking - as in viral campaigns are part of the growth hacking playbook.

        I can't say for sure, but it's very early days for the term. The enterprise is just starting to get their heads around it. And if the term crosses that chasm into the agency/brand/enterprise world, then it probably will have a longer shelf life than most of the people already "over it" in silicon valley project.

    • RS

      Rob Sobers

      over 4 years ago #

      Thank you! Brilliant response.

    • CA

      Casey Armstrong

      over 4 years ago #

      Completely agree with @morgan. In addition, these "growth hacks" often times morph into new table stakes, which makes true growth hacking that much more critical for success.

      SEO, paid search, blogging, getting featured on Techcrunch/ProductHunt, personalized emails, "Powered by" links, etc. were all touted as growth hacks at some point (semantics aside), and are now commonplace.

    • VK

      Vishal Kataria

      over 4 years ago #

      Agree @morgan . Many people also know good management and operations practices, but that doesn't mean that they are dead.

      What matters is how you implement the GH techniques v/s competition...

    • FB

      François B

      over 4 years ago #

      Exactly, the first to distribution channel advantage (http://jasoncrawford.org/2012/04/the-real-first-mover-advantage/)

    • OA

      Oussama Ammar

      over 4 years ago #

      Not really sure that it is what I said :)
      My point is that more and more company will focus on acquisition and will be naughty about that, more and more it will be important to have great product and work on retention. I think we can all agree on that and my provocative title was a way to growth hack the view :)
      - but let's try to don't get lost in translation and yes I made multiple time the point in French that growth hacking is not just a set of techniques :)

  • VV

    Visakan Veerasamy

    over 4 years ago #

    The TERM will die eventually because of something called Semantic Satiation- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_satiation. Too many people will pile onto the term and make it essentially meaningless.

    The current TACTICS will lose their early-to-market value. A lot of the early growth hacks are valuable because they break into a new channel. This gets copied, and becomes a part of common-sense product design over time. Today's innovative growth hack is tomorrow's status quo. The easy-wins get lapped up.

    The FUNDAMENTALS are eternal. Technology is always advancing. There are always new channels, new mediums, and there will always be people standing at the boundaries, forging new paths. That's the heart of growth hacking, just as it is the heart of innovation and marketing.

    The term will die, the current playbook will be obsolete, but it's never crowded along the extra mile.

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      over 4 years ago #

      I think it's hard to know if the term will die, but I agree that the concepts for which it stands are much more important than the term itself.

    • CB

      Chelsea Baldwin

      over 4 years ago #

      "but it’s never crowded along the extra mile" <-so true.

      Growth hackers (or whatever they'll be called when that term dies down) are the ones constantly innovating - like the author said, growth hackers used email as a growth hacking tool because they found ways to stand apart from what traditional emails looked like. The hacking part is all about breaking apart from the pack (or going the extra mile) to find unique things to test for faster growth than what everyone else is doing.

  • MR

    Michael Riley

    over 4 years ago #

    It's like saying Marketing will soon be dead because so many people are doing it. If you're using the exact same Growth Hacking tactics as someone else then you are not doing it right. It's all about constant iteration and innovation. Copying others is like treading water.

    Next up: Is Lean Startup soon to be dead because there are too many successful startups?

    • DC

      Denise Chan

      over 4 years ago #

      @riley1 Hah. Good point and fair comparison. I agree that it's all about constant iteration, but there are also undeniable trends that do occur. The key is to be right ahead of the curve, a trend starter.

      • MR

        Michael Riley

        over 4 years ago #

        Yes, I agree. The real Growth Hackers are the ones starting trends. It's not supposed to be easy. :)

    • IL

      Ian Leibovici

      over 4 years ago #

      Good point. Its an interesting article. There are always other options to build growth in a company but growth hacking to me means an expedited way of breaking down marketing tactics and actions. They shouldn't be the same as the next company.

  • FB

    François B

    over 4 years ago #

    My comment on the blog post:

    "For example, a classic method for great acquisitions was to post the link of your landing page on Hacker News and ProductHunt plus having an article on TechCrunch when you officially launch your product."

    If this is his or your definition of Growth Hacking, it's been a long time since it died. No, Growth Hacking is about finding your path to a growth engine by experimenting, developping, pushing some limits, tweaking systems and using data to prove your points.

    I'll let the definition of Eric Ries of an engine of growth to show you how different it is than beeing featured on Techcrunch or Producthunt:

    „An engine of growth is the mechanism that startups use
    to achieve sustainable growth. The word sustainable excluding all
    one-time activities that generate a surge of customers but have no
    long-term impact, such as a single advertisement or a publicity stunt
    […]. Sustainable growth is characterized by one simple rule: new
    customers come from the actions of past customers.„

    Eric Ries – The Lean Startup

  • JB

    Jeff Bedford

    over 4 years ago #

    Your going to have a hard time convincing me that growth hacking is anything different from marketing, it's just a new age term with new age tactics. The goals are still the same, if not more aggressive.

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      over 4 years ago #

      There are functions of marketing, such as awareness building, that aren't part of growth hacking.

      • JB

        Jeff Bedford

        over 4 years ago #

        awareness building, that is a marketing objective

        • JB

          Jeff Bedford

          over 4 years ago #

          my bad, misread your comment. I could actually argue the other way around. Although growth hacking may not include awareness building, wouldn't that ultimately be one of the desired outcomes? Without awareness, growth has a ceiling.

          • SE

            Sean Ellis

            over 4 years ago #

            Awareness is a side effect of good growth hacking. It is a desired outcome, but not the specific objective by which a growth hackers judge the effectiveness of their efforts. They are much more focused on customer acquisition and delivering actual brand experiences. You could argue that that's what good marketers should be focused on too, and I would agree :)

    • DC

      Denise Chan

      over 4 years ago #

      @jeffbedford Growth hacking also involves business development, no?

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        over 4 years ago #

        Growth hacking can involve business development. Tapping into external platforms can be very powerful, whether through a biz dev relationship, API or unsupported integration (ie AirBNB/Craigslist)...

        • JB

          Jeff Bedford

          over 4 years ago #

          I like this response. Strategic connections can drive growth and should always be considered. I'm starting to get a little more convinced that there are differences b/w GH and marketing. For instance, If GH created a partnership, it would result in amplified marketing opportunity.

  • TO

    Thomas O'Duffy

    about 4 years ago #

    Growth hacking IMO is about using a "frontier awareness" of the tools, tactics and ratios that enable your customers total experience, now and in the future, and using that awareness to drive growth.

    As a methodology, this cannot go out of date and becomes more important as society changes ever faster, because at a certain point, it is the best way to learn about what works now.

    We live in an evolving society, and as Robert Anton Wilson says, if you stand still you go backwards. Like any dimension of business, certain tactics have golden age of effectiveness according to factors such as the markets prior experience and culture. Framing growth hacking as a finite set of tactics that can become outmoded is ridiculous and to me sounds as misguided as someone who declares "We're very sorry. The field of mathematics has expired because some theorems have been disproven."

    Certain tactics expire but infinite new tactics are awaiting discovery. As a growth hacker your job is to keep adding value by finding and using those golden age tactics before they expired (and ideally before they’re fashionable) to drive growth.

  • JG

    Jason Gilbert

    over 4 years ago #

    I like to think of it as shortcuts and leverage. :) Find ways to grind to top quickly.

  • ER

    Erik Rivera

    over 4 years ago #

    Growth Hacking is a mindest and like any other disciplines it will continue to evolve but I am cool with telling people its dead... Less competition :-)

  • WL

    Will Lam

    over 4 years ago #

    the title is SO linkbaity.. lost all credibility before I decided to click.

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