Startups are changing the face of marketing and how.
Move over baby boomers, there are new kids on the block. In today’s startup game, traditional marketing tactics are anathema to founders. They come from the social media generation, who are changing the face of marketing forever.
Earlier marketing was all about who your customers are and where they are but now, there’s one more leg added to it — how to reach these customers and retain them in the product value chain.
I’m not saying there are great ways of marketing that will turn a bad product into a unicorn but these are small growth hacks (creative ways of making your message reach) to create growth spurts in traffic, conversions, engagement and retention.
Today, marketing is said to be redefined as a place where marketers, customers, and potential customers exchange experiences, reactions, emotions, and buzz. And a lot of the time this happens very publicly.
Every startup needs to get customers through 5 key stages, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. AARRR!
Master of 500 Hats originally coined that term which is now immortalized on Slideshare.Forget one-time customer relationship, make it a long-term partnership and build an empire of the user base, it is the new mantra not just for startups but even for established companies.
Another challenge for new age companies is that the marketing budgets are often cut to bare bones, with the excess dumped into product development, engineering and customer support functions.
On that note, let’s explore a few growth studies. Below listed some of the most brilliant and actionable growth marketing tactics I’ve come by:
OLA replaced cabs with boats in flood-ravaged Chennai
Ola has reached a point when they have acceptance from the customers and ‘trust’ in the form of product market fit. Ola enjoys good user adoption in terms of engagement and retention and for Chennai it evolved and made a few amends to fix a situation to engage and retain more user base. They are now coming with Ola Share to back the odd-even trial in Delhi a day away now. That’s a growth hack.
Tinder swiped the chicken-egg problem with ‘hyper local saturation campaigns’
They spent no ads on Facebook and they did not use the mass email lists of college students that people offered them. They understood that there is a huge difference between someone who downloaded the app because they found it on an ad, Play Store or App Store and then never uses it again, versus someone who downloaded the app because their friend had a great experience on it and told them about it.
Their first year’s growth strategy is summarized as “college by college” that developed a community of engaged users required making a dating application successful. Now they make campuses fight for being the most swiped one.
Xiaomi sold 1 million devices within 6 months of entry in India with no money spent on marketing
They did it with an exclusive partnership with Flipkart, the numero uno in the ecommerce space to do flash discount sales. Recently they’ve done more new tie-ups with Snapdeal and Amazon, Airtel Stores to capture more market share.
The case of Tata Motors in 1984
Growth Hack is not a new concept, it just got fancied very recently. Building customer retention is also equivalent to a nice gesture. Just look at how Tata Motors growth hacked in 1984 anti-Sikh riots, an incident that claimed over 3,000 lives and there were many who lost their trucks, their only means to a livelihood.
Once the dust settled a few days later, a Tata Motors employee walked up to a man, and handed him the keys of a new truck. There were no questions asked. He, and many others like him, who had lost their trucks in the Sikh riot were given a free truck by Tata Motors.
This story never hit the press and was never publicized by Tata Motors, just remained etched in the memories of these truckers.
Although giving marketing advice these days dime a dozen, not everyone has conquered the mountain. Companies usually don’t take off by themselves. They take off because the founders make them take off.
Founders need to do things that don’t scale to give your product the best chance of a long and fruitful life. The most common unscalable thing founders have to do at the start is to recruit users manually. Nearly all startups have to. You can’t wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them, that’s what growth hacking is all about and not just increasing traffic or conversions.
Originally published on Tech In Asia