The Future of Growth Hacking

I never even considered taking a taxi in London. As a student there was no way I could justify the luxury. The hostels I stayed in while on holiday were a far cry from the five star hotels I dreamed of. A spa day? As if. Of course a student nowadays could afford all these experiences thanks to growth hacking.

Growth hackers have taught us that anything that gets customers is marketing – from “P.S. I love you. Get your e-mail at Hotmail” to “Sent from my iPhone.” Companies that barely existed a few years ago – Uber, Airbnb, and Groupon for instance – are now worth billions and billions of dollars. Their ubiquitous existences’ as if antiquated.  

@RyanHoliday describes a growth hacker as a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. Growth hackers are engineers leading teams of engineers, he says. 

They irrigate growth by revitalising ancient marketing techniques – instead of knocking on people’s doors, we now “refer” our friends. They design a product that demands to be “referred”. Traditional marketers struggle to grasp the ingenuity behind the term. Growth hackers use tactics that no one would have previously described as “marketing” for a growth hacker doesn’t see marketing as something one does, but rather as something one builds into the product itself. 

@chiefmartec says growth hackers won’t persist as a specialisation – just as the technology they use will soon become outdated. That’s not to say that the growth hacker movement is going away but that growth hackers will become the new de facto marketers. Whether marketing is conquered by growth hackers or growth hackers are assimilated into marketing is an inconsequential distinction that will only matter to the people who make it happen. Just as digital marketing skills are essential for every marketer to have today, growth hacking skills will be essential for every marketer to have in the future. And those pioneers who are ahead of that curve will have a powerful edge that’s great for their careers.

The end goal of every growth hacker is to build a self-perpetuating marketing machine that reaches millions by itself. In terms of the future of the technology and ingenuity that enables this the possibilities are endless for growth hacking is more of a mind set than a tool. It’s success unprecedented and future limitless.

With the highest number of smart phone users ever – an estimated 2 billion consumers worldwide are expected to own a smartphone by 2016 – and with creation of the hundreds of apps everyday – new unhacked markets and audiences are emerging even as we speak. As we become more willing to disclose personal information to applications and they learn more about us growth hacking may no longer merely refer a friend to us but actually become our friends.

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Lynn Harvey



Mapping Fate

It was fate. He stopped me for directions on the street one day and we’ve been together ever since.

This is the story of how Frankie met her husband twenty-seven years ago. A story nearly inconceivable now in the age of Google Maps, Citymapper and Uber. 

Living in London there is not a day that goes by where I don’t consult Citymapper or Google Maps for directions. I rely on these apps to tell me where to go, how to get there, and when to get there. They not only plan my journey – but my life. What would happen I often wonder if I didn’t follow their directions? If I threw caution to the wind and decided to leave my house at whatever time I pleased to find my own way?

Does our pervasive use of apps alter the course of our lives more than we give them credit for? Are chance encounters, being in the “right place at the right time” becoming less and less a stoke of luck or fate, but rather a consequence of journey planners? Since May 2013 alone app downloads have more than doubled from 50 billion downloads to over 100 billion. Not only the way we interact and learn about each other but ourselves is changing irrevocably.

Of course many apps help to make our lives manageable and the apps that have the most success are the ones that address an existing need. @nireyal says that apps present users with an implicit choice between their old way of doing things and the new, more convenient solution. However, by maintaining our freedom to choose, these products facilitate the adoption of new habits and change our behaviour for good.

We all use apps to satisfy a desire. “What we fantasise about, what we long for, are the experiences, the things and the people that are absent,” says Adam Phillips in his book Missing Out; In Praise of the Unlived LifeTinder alone claims 26 million matches made using its services every single day. How many of us have apps that we use to encourage us to get fit, save money, and meet that perfect someone?

We use these apps to live somewhere between the lives we have and the lives we would like. We provide these apps with our most personal information. We confess to them our spending habits, our sex lives, our secrets. Our apps know more about us than some of our closest friends.

I can’t help but to wonder if these apps that we rely so heavily on are limiting our knowledge? When Amanda Scherker lost her smartphone she actually gained a better sense of direction. Could we all be missing out, perhaps not just on a greater sense of direction, but on the chance of a lifetime by “google mapping it”?

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How to Curate Content

To learn, to laugh and to feel inspired. These are the three pillars of content.

They also happen to be the three most viral emotions, says @EmersonSpartz, CEO of Spartz Inc., a collective of media websites that receive over 100 million visitors each month.

But as search dies and the quest for relevant content becomes ever greater what is the most effective way for a content creator to teach, entertain and inspire? With effective content curation it may be as easy as getting someone else to do it for you.

People don’t want more content, they want less, says @StevenRaenbaum. People want content that is interesting to them. But they don’t want to have to search for it. By selecting, sorting and presenting third party content you’ve found on and offline you can curate content that not only will your audience find easy to access but also relevant to them.

Nobody wants to hear the same thing over and over. By curating content you are selecting the best of what is to be heard – not echoing it. By evaluating each resource and explaining why you like each resource (or don’t) you are adding value and relevance to this content. You are providing extremely useful content to a target audience. You are curating, not creating.

@waaywire says successful content curation moves you from a voice in the noise to a leadership role. Curation allows you to define the focus of a conversation and set the tone – not just say what someone else already said. It allows you to tell the in-joke – without being the butt of it.

Below I have featured some of the best authorities to show you how its done;

1. A quick introductory video by John Lane, Chief Strategy Officer of Centerline Digital explains the concept of content curation for beginners. Centerline create business solutions for some of the world’s leading enterprises which can take shape in the form of creating and curating content. This video gives you a concise introduction to what is content creation and how to curate content.

2. In this episode of @GrowthHackerTV, Emerson Spartz teaches us the same viral strategies that grew his sites traffic to 45 million visitors a month, in just under a year. He gives some really useful tips on content curation – why it’s useful and highlights the importance of headlines.

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3. Steven Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation. As the CEO of the web’s largest Video Curation Platform, – he provides a realtime curation solution that powers more than 86,000 sites, including NY Magazine, New York Magazine, Mediaite, and Watch his speak TedTalk describing why curation is necessary and how to do it.

Read Steven’s five laws for content curation here.

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Lynn Harvey