Should You Be Hacking Your Way to Growth?

“Growth hacking” may be a marketing buzz term, but the principles are smart. A brief definition goes like this:

Growth hacking is a process of generating sales using non-traditional channels that cost nothing, or only a little, and produce profitable results. On related term, I think, is getting “earned media,” that is, social media, broadcast, or any other channel that gets your message out virally on your behalf with no cost to you.

Start-ups use growth hacking to generate enough buzz to attract investors. When generating rapid growth, there’s a desire by customers to pile-on and share their experiences.

So how would a traditional marketer use no or low cost growth hacking techniques? I think one application would be to integrate digital channels using automated software platforms to create nurture marketing strategies with direct mail as the closer.

  • Sync email contact with in-home direct mail delivery. Make sure you encourage anyone who comes to your website to opt-in to your email list.
  • Test multiple landing pages with email, and when you have multiple segments of customer email, test a variety of options.
  • Use Facebook sponsored posts or retargeting campaigns to serve ads to people matched from your email list or who have visited your website. Test a small budget that you’re comfortable spending daily.
  • Frequently generate new content your customers and prospects want to know about. The written word is good. Video recorded from a smartphone can be authentic. 
  • Use direct mail as a closer. You have more space to tell your story and with direct mail, the recipient holds your sales message in their hands.

Growth hacking might not be part of a traditional marketer’s vocabulary and approach, but thinking out-of-the-box with how you can sell for no or low cost digital channels might yield some profitable surprises.


Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.