By Curt Kaneshiro 

From acquisition through loyalty, growth hacking is strategically used throughout the customer journey, with a key focus on rapid and continuous growth. Startups thrive on this practice and have cleverly developed marketing strategies that allow them to make quick decisions and optimize their marketing programs. Many innovative cultures are flourishing from their ability to take strategic risks while rapidly testing and learning from their failures.

“Fail fast” has been a mantra for the startup culture. However, the risk of failure has made it difficult for large corporate cultures to embrace growth hacking and innovation. Here are five simple rules to follow that will get your leadership to not only support growth hacking but also encourage an innovative culture that recognizes that failure can also lead to success.

  1. A slight shift from the negative association of the word “fail” to the more acceptable and positive word “learn” is the first step in persuading others within the organization to embrace the benefits of growth hacking. Shift your mantra from “fail fast” to “learn fast.” Doing so immediately changes the focus to the beneficial aspects of failures and the proactive response from what is typically a negative outcome.
  2. Stay focused on the main objective of your marketing campaign and develop a clear test-and-learn plan that can be quickly analyzed, optimized and scaled. Don’t get bogged down with the minutiae. It’s easy to overcomplicate things when searching for the perfect solution and become a victim of analysis paralysis. Set a clear learning agenda and define a single success metric.
  3. Outline how your marketing strategies and tactics are supporting the entire growth-hacking funnel to optimize for rapid growth:
      1. Acquisition: What cost-effective channels are being leveraged to bring awareness quickly?
      2. Activation: How are you going to onboard your customer to experience the immediate value of your product?
      3. Retention: What engagement tactics will you utilize to encourage adoption and habitual use?
      4. Referral: How will you grow the virality and get users to refer your product to peers, friends and family members?
      5. Revenue: What is your strategy to monetize user behavior while optimizing profitability?

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  4. Ongoing internal communication with your peers is vital. Educate those who are involved to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Your marketing strategy should also provide learnings for other internal teams, including product and customer experience, to continue the ultimate goal of rapid growth.
  5. Keep open communications with senior and executive leadership. Proactively share your learnings and what you are doing to optimize your marketing. But most importantly, showcase your successes!

While failures are common throughout the growth-hacking process, the power of failure is something we should all embrace. As my favorite mentor once said to me, “Don’t be afraid to lose a battle to win the war.”

Feature Image Credit: TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

By Curt Kaneshiro