What is growth hacking?

You may have heard the term “growth hacking” before as it has been in the mix of marketing lingo for a few years now, but it is essentially a fancy term for strategies focused solely on exponential growth. It’s a marketing approach with the goal of acquiring as many users or customers as possible while spending as little as possible.

Growth hacking uses creative, low-cost tactics to help businesses acquire and retain customers. Marketers who use this strategy are known as “growth hackers,” or people who replace traditional marketing tactics and utilize only what is testable, trackable and scalable.

Growth hacking B2B

If you do a quick search for growth hacking success stories, you’ll realize that they are largely startups in the B2C world. B2C growth hackers might have some advantages due to the nature of their industry and more buyers, but there is plenty of room in the B2B world for growth hacking tactics and strategies as well.

Growth hacking can fall into many categories, but in B2B, strategies mainly fall into three areas:

1) Content Marketing

Demonstrating your business knowledge and expertise is a great lead generator in B2B. Content marketing can be a low-cost way to get the word out about your products and your overall knowledge of the industry. It can come in the form of:

Content

  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Blogging

 

2) Product Marketing

The activity of specifically marketing your product or service to make it more appealing and build its user base. This could be offering a free trial, free tool or an incentive based around your product to gain users and visibility for your business.

3) Advertising

Social advertising and using pay-per-click to promote your business and products. If targeted correctly with an enticing and clear offer, advertising on social platforms or websites that your audience frequently visits could radically spike your growth.

Real growth hacking

Paypal

After its development, Paypal used growth hacking to grow their customer base to over 100 million users. The online money transferring platform offered $10 to existing users if they invited new users to use the platform. According to Elon Musk, one of Paypal’s founders, they spent about $60 million on referral incentives before the campaign ended. That may seem like a large chunk of change for a new business, but in 2018, it has more than paid off as the company has a market capitalization value of $104 billion.

Dropbox

With a strategy similar to Paypal’s, Dropbox used referrals to grow their user base from 100,000 to 4,000,000 in just 15 months! Dropbox offered extra storage space to both its referrer and referees of the program. The offer was visible during the on-boarding process, and with its enticing 500 MB of extra storage and a total incentive limit of 16 GB, they created a viral spread of referrals. The company is now worth $10 billion, thanks in part to this early growth hacking strategy. 

 

referral-dropbox-580x274

Airbnb

Airbnb’s growth hack is a little less conventional than most. In their early years, the online vacation rental hub was looking to expand and knew their main target audience was already using Craigslist for real estate rentals. So, after creating an integration with Craigslist to allow Airbnb listings to be posted on the competition’s website, they also created a bot to email listers on Craigslist that they should also post on Airbnb for more exposure. This definitely constitutes as spam, but it opened the floodgates for a whole new group of users that flocked to their website and helped Airbnb recently receive an evaluation of $31 billion in 2017.

Growing your business might seem like an obvious goal, but using a strategy solely based on low-cost, fast-paced growth is what growth hacking is all about. The cool thing is that  proven tactics and new methods are constantly popping up! The key is using the right ones in a novel way for your business and your customers. If you need help, let us know.


In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

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mitchMitch Mathern is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b. Mitch graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Marketing. When not at the office, Mitch enjoys spending time at the beach with his surfboard, or catching up on the latest Philadelphia sports.