While «Growth Hacker Marketing» by Ryan Holiday was one of the shortest books about communication principals in the digital age (really, you’ll finish it just in a couple of hours), it provides the schema for marketing activities like any other textbook, just with some fresh and noteworthy ideas inside.
The possible reason why I dive into the book – the honest confessions of the author about the current marketing state:
“80 percent of marketers are unhappy with their ability to measure marketing return on investment (ROI). Not because the tools aren’t good enough, but because they’re too good, and marketers are seeing for the first time that their marketing strategies are «often flawed and their spending is inefficient»”, – Ryan Holiday, Growth Hacker Marketing.
As Ryan explains, the misconception of the marketers and other communication professionals is that they should guess what their target audience will like, while modern technologies and feedback opportunities give us the chance to statistically prove our ideas and not guess, but know exactly what our audience wants. The idea is not so original, and I’ve already told about it when wrote about “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson.
The concept which I really liked the most in this books was the idea that marketing of the product should start at the production stage and stay closely tied with product development all the time.
“With growth hacking, we begin by testing until we can be confident we have a product worth marketing. Only then do we chase the big bang that kick-starts our growth engine”, ― Ryan Holiday, Growth Hacker Marketing
The digital age means the companies have access to the audience and can not only gather opinions about the product, but also find the ways to improve it. Obviously that this principal works better for digital products and services – websites, mobile apps, search engines, social networks – and it’s more difficult to implement it within physical-products industries where production is a complex process and change of one element involves the adaptation of all the others. However, Ryan is quite optimistic about the launch process of new products in the digital age, and he provides us with a good case of the paper book marketed (the one we talk about, actually) with these principals.
Find the product which fits the market, aim to reach your audience with communication activities and stay niche and focused with the right people, grow because of your audience and word of mouth, and close the loop with considering the feedback and optimizing your service or product for customers’ needs, – these are the four steps Ryan discusses. Sounds familiar and obvious? Maybe. But also go far beyond the classic marketing textbooks and have the much wider scale and possible influence. Thinking bigger and beyond the borders is not the possibility, it’s necessity in the 21st century.