Growth hacking. When chasing tactics becomes unprofitable.

November 2023

Growth hacking is the marketing (and business) strategy that focuses on rapidly obtaining your business goals. The idea is to use a blend of different strategies, allowing you to find the most effective way of reaching your goals.

This strategy often has a strong emphasis on experimentation through testing, by combining data, technology, AI, marketing and psychological insights. The ultimate goal is to optimise the customer journey in such a way that every phase in the funnel is adapted to the best possible scenario, keeping up with changing market conditions and consumer behaviours.

In short
  1. When done properly, growth hacking delivers rapid results.
  2. You can quickly find out what works, but also what doesn’t, so you can quickly proceed with your project list.
  3. It’s important to balance short-term benefits with long-term sustainability. 
  4. Harmonising your growth hacking strategy with your broader marketing strategy can evolve into a real powerhouse.
  5. Stick to your guns and refrain from using shortcuts that are questionable in nature.

Get results at a rapid rate

Because of the nature of growth hacking, results will come in at an astonishing speed. However, it needs to be done properly. Growth hackers start with a plan that is adapted to the business, goals, target audience and resources that are at their disposal. A novice growth hacker who just gives it a try will probably scratch the surface, at best.

When done properly, growth hacking will undeniably have a positive impact on your business. You’ll quickly discover what works, and also what doesn’t. Eliminating projects is also a way to move forward. When they’re off the table, resources become available.

"I haven’t failed, I just found 10,000 ways NOT to make a lightbulb."
Thomas Edison

Growth hacking rooted in conflict

The goal of growth hacking is to optimise the customer journey in such a way that every step, every touchpoint, or any interaction is maximised to its fullest potential. This implies a comprehensive understanding of that journey and everything it encompasses.

Within this objective lies the potential conflict. While delving into such a level of detail, optimising every small step of the journey, you easily lose sight of the overarching brand goals you try to support. For example: imagine an e-commerce website so engrossed in optimising incoming traffic that it overlooks the absence of an emotional connection between the brand and the customer. Engagement becomes so clinical that it is reduced to mere numbers, when in fact it should be about human interaction. While data is a valuable resource for decision-making, human behaviour should always be at the forefront.

Balancing short vs. long term

The very elements that make growth hacking so effective in the short term, can cause a hindrance in the long run. Short-term benefits are undoubtedly present: rapid experimentation and optimising tools and resources can exponentially drive up learning.

However, in the long term, as you aim to scale and diversify the tactics in your growth hacking strategy, it can quickly become too fragmented, too costly, and even create internal frictions between departments. 

For growth hacking to have a sustainable effect, it should be seamlessly integrated into a broader marketing strategy. Here, your growth hacking department has the freedom and flexibility it needs to progress, while the overall marketing team safeguards brand values and strategy.

This way, businesses can leverage the best of both worlds: the agility of growth hacking and the stability of a well-rounded marketing strategy.

"Incorporating growth hacking into your marketing strategy can be a powerful asset, as long as it’s executed in accordance with your overall brand values and strategy."
Nicolas Salamone digital producer June20

Mind the resources!

Any object that gains momentum is hard to keep on track. When your growth hacking strategy is working and you want to scale the results to your advantage, there are quite a few challenges that you might face.

  • Data overload. Growth hacking uses a data-driven decision-making process, which means that it needs data, but it produces an exponential amount of data in return. What’s the use of having piles of data if you don’t have the people to analyse them?
  • Asset production. Unless you’ve found a growth hacker who is able to create, execute, analyse… basically do everything, you’ll still need additional colleagues to put in quite some grindwork.
  • Rising cost of scale. Often presented as a low-cost solution at the start, growth hacking can become quite expensive in the long run. As the need for advanced tooling, custom integrations & development, and content production rises, costs can escalate rather quickly.

A healthy growth hacking strategy always combines tactics with available resources.

Beware of shortcuts

Being promised the fast track to success also embodies certain dangers. When results fail to materialise as swiftly as desired or promised, or when the impact falls short of expectations, resorting to ethically questionable tactics can become quite enticing.

A common practice in such cases is the manipulation of data to support results. Mark Twain once stated: “There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.” He understood that data can be manipulated to prove any point. Growth hackers excel at utilising data, but building upon skewed data will never rectify a previous misstep. More so, it can make it worse.

However, intentionally misinterpreting data is, at best, an unethical practice. Taking shortcuts in your execution poses a higher risk of crossing lines that are better left untouched. Especially in light of growing concerns around privacy regulations in most countries. Using tactics such as remarketing without consent, spamming, manipulative messaging, and psychologically dubious practices, can ultimately damage your brand more in the long run than it helps you in the short term.

How can June2O help you?

Utilising data and creativity is at the core of June20’s approach to Engineering Emotions. We use data to formulate strategies and we use creativity to establish meaningful connections with people. This principle remains at the core of our approach when we assist companies in developing a robust growth hacking strategy. By combining long-term brand objectives with short-term needs while considering the available resources, we develop a plan that can be executed seamlessly, with as few speed bumps as possible.

Want to know more about our approach? Let’s get in touch.

Nicolas Salamone

NICOLAS SALAMONE, a dynamic digital producer at June20, is known for his innovative approach and enthusiasm for technology. Starting his journey as an Event Manager, he has been a key player in digital services at June20 since 2018. Currently, he leads the Digital Marketing & Platforms team and co-coordinates the media team. As a big gadget enthusiast, he is always on the lookout for new technologies. He is not just open to challenges but thrives on them, constantly experimenting with new ideas and thinking outside the box.

Photo of Nico Salamone, Digital Producer at June20