Hacking Business Growth
I believe that products-even whole businesses and business models-can and should be changed until they are primed to generate explosive reactions from the first people who see them. bottom line: the best marketing decision you can make is to have a product or business that fulfills a real and compelling need for a real and defined group of people-no matter how much tweaking and refining this takes.
Your start-up’s goal should be to make sure Product Market Fit (PMF) happens. Isolating who your customers are, figuring out their needs, designing a product that will blow their minds-these are marketing decisions, not just development and design choices.
The imperative is clear: optimizing a product to spread and be well received by customers, by the media, and by influencers is something that your startup must accomplish. You are, in effect, the translator who helps bridge the product and consumers so they are in alignment.
This is true whether you’re making a physical gadget, designing a menu, or creating an app. Someone must advocate for the potential market (customers), and the earlier their influence is felt in the process, the better.
The race has changed. The prize no longer will go to the startup that makes it to market first. It will go to the startup that makes it to PMF first. Because once you get there, your marketing efforts become like a spark applied to kindling soaked in kerosene. The old way? Striking a match … and hoping it starts a fire somewhere.
The point is marketing as we know it is a waste of time without PMF.
Without a doubt, there are many tools to help get you there. From Google Analytics to Optimizely to KISSmetrics, there are great services that allow you to see what your users are actually doing and responding to on your site. This insight will get you closer to a fit than gut instincts ever will.
Start-ups must simply and repeatedly question every assumption. Who is this product for? Why would they use it? Why do I use it?
Your start-up’s Marketing Division should consist of a group of growth hackers with a simple job; growing your business by any means possible. This role, according to Andrew Chen and many Silicon Valley pioneers, has come to supplant the typical VP of Marketing. Your main task is to build great marketing ideas into the product during the development process. Utilize pros at hypothesizing, testing, and iterating different versions of your products to create hockey stick growth for your company.
Throw out the playbook of traditional marketing and replace it with customer acquisition techniques that are testable, trackable, and scalable. Your tools are emails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While traditional marketing chases vague notions like “branding” and “mind share,” you should relentlessly pursue users and growth-and those users beget more users, who beget more users. Become the inventors, operators, and mechanics of your own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take your start-up from nothing to something.