Growth W@*&ers: What we can learn from the rise and rise of the digital marketer
A few years back a couple of us went to a talk by Growth Hacker Vin Clancy.
If you haven't come across him before, then you should know that he's, well, you've seen the photo above.
It's not just his clobber that's out there. He tells his tribe to steal content from other people, to focus on followers rather than quality content and to never post photos or videos if your team are ugly.
He's unconventional, eccentric and some might say peculiar...
But you should want to be him.
Once you get over his Mad Max meets Jarvis Cocker appearance, then you realise that his marketing advice makes sense.
Like it or not, he’s the type of guy that can get quick results and deliver on his promise to ‘make brands famous’.
His tactics work because he knows the social platforms inside and out.
No matter how he comes across, the stats don’t lie, he’s successful.
In fact, he’ll probably be Coke’s next Director of Marketing.
The rise of the Growth W@*&er
Vin Clancy is part of a new wave of marketers with nothing to spend and nothing to lose.
With no obvious strategy between them it’s easy to look at through the lens of our decades of marketing experience and be disdainful.
But if you hang on a minute and look a little closer, you’ll realise they’ve got a lot to teach us.
Here are a few classic Growth Hacks that delivered astoundingly quick wins for top tech companies:
Mailbox - With a very cool launch video and interface that showed users how many people were in front of them on the app’s waiting list, Mailbox created a large amount of social chatter and blog attention. Within six weeks, they had a million users signed up and eagerly waiting for the service.
YouTube - After experimenting with many different tactics it was their liberal interpretation of DMCA and copyright legislation that rocketed YouTube’s growth and turned viral buzz into users.
AirBnb - By reverse engineering the Craigslist posting process and automating it to the point where it became dead simple to cross-post your airbnb listing to Craigslist, AirBnb was able to hack early growth to 10’s of millions of users.
Instagram - Rather than simply compete, IG decided to play nice with other services like Twitter and Facebook. Leveraging the distribution of these very large existing platforms massively accelerated the growth of its service in the early days.
It’s a shift in mindset, not tactics
Those of us from the traditional marketing background, where it takes 10 people to sign off a single email, can learn a lot from the growth hacking mentality of ruthless focus.
The core strategy boils down to driving every decision your company makes with the question:
”What will be the impact on growth?”
Ryan Holiday, the author of Growth Hacker Marketing, breaks this down into four stages:
Stage 1: Only build products customers want
Stage 2: Find ways to bring users on cheaply
Stage 3: Get those users to tell others
Stage 4: Refine and scale relentlessly.
In growth hacking every department is the marketing department, including product development and technology teams.
Marketing is baked in, not bolted on.
It’s time to rip up the rulebook
Whether it’s creating a fake Facebook Ad for a fake brand to test your proposition or trolling the competition on social media, the rules of marketing have changed for good.
Todays most successful digital marketers are brass, shameless and have zero self-awareness but it’s exactly this kind of misguided self confidence that gets results.
We may not like it but, sooner rather than later, we’re all gonna have to follow the Growth Wankers.
Signed: A True Friend
The Growth Hackers Guide To The Galaxy
Let’s skip the hypothetical and get into the tactical. Hitting on the idea that helps a product go viral isn’t accomplished by sitting around thinking up grand projects, it’s about plugging away at the details and experimenting.
Growth is incremental, but over time, that growth compounds.
To get you started we’ve compiled 96.5 of the best, proven and easiest-to-implement growth hacks into our FREE Growth Hacker's Guide To the Galaxy.