What is growth hacking? If you haven’t heard of it, growth hacking is a marketing technique that uses analysis and creativity to sell products and gain exposure.
It differs from traditional marketing by focusing on social metrics and other digital channels to analyze user behavior and deploy innovative or low-cost alternatives to traditional demand-generation and campaign-based marketing.
Perhaps the most famous example of growth hacking was Hotmail. By employing a signature on every out-bound email that said, “Sent from Hotmail. Get your free Hotmail email today!”
Hotmail was able to drive incredible growth numbers in a very short amount of time.
As marketers, we are all becoming more familiar with personalization as we recognize the need to tailor digital experiences to individual users. Only we are doing it all wrong. OK, partly wrong.
In this blog post, I explore the concept of 'true personalization:' tailoring the digital experience to the kind of relationship someone wants with your organization.
Rather than just customizing a digital experience according to what someone has clicked on, true personalization posits that the type of content someone consumes is far more important to building long-lasting and deep relationships.
The idea of being helpful, of providing content and resources to prospective and current customers that may not have anything to do with your organization, is a new and radical concept for many marketers.
"You mean you want me to publish content that doesn't sell my product?" The idea is simple: give people want they want and eventually they consider you a trusted resource.
But is being helpful enough? Is helpfulness really useful? Or are marketers spinning their wheels creating content that, even though it's helpful, no one really wants?
Although being helpful is something marketers should strive towards as a way to foster engagement, useful should be the end-goal: giving people content they need to solve their problems, when they need it, and in the specific format they want.
The ultimate differentiator for businesses isn't product or brand. It's the one thing that can't be copied or stolen: relationships with customers.
Retail has long known that. Astute retailers covet their relationships through personalization and targeting and approachable, consistent, authentic salespeople.
That's because, as people, we know how to form relationships really well in the physical world. We can see each other's face, we can hear voice rising and falling, we can see body language. Only we aren't doing that in the digital world.
Rather, marketers are simply using digital as another distribution channel when what people really want (it's a basic human need) is what they get in the physical world from businesses: a relationship.
Therefore digital marketing, by focusing on distribution of messaging rather than forming relationships, is lost in translation.
You probably practice a lot of different types of marketing (or you would like to). But what if it didn't matter? What if, deep down, all marketing was really the same, driving towards a singular objective: establishing relationships.
The problem is, in our ever-shifting digital world, people have different relationship needs. Some want information, others want engagement. And when you deliver the right content to the right person based on their relationship needs, you create a positive experience with your brand.
Yeah, every marketer wants that. But how do you do it?
You get away from running static, campaign-based marketing to being liquid. When your marketing efforts are truly liquid you'll be able to create dynamic campaigns that shift and change to meet different relationship needs in real-time.