(Our guest post today is brought to you by Hartley Brody, growth hacker at Hubspot)
A lot of Growth Hacking articles I’ve read discuss the role of a growth hacker at small, consumer web startups. But what about a company with 400+ employees that sells a complex B2B software product using a huge inside sales team? Can a growth hacker be useful at a company like that?
Absolutely. I would know – I work as a growth hacker at just such a company – HubSpot, in Cambridge, MA. This is my advice for larger marketing teams that are considering adding the role of a growth hacker to their organization.
What Growth Hackers Can Do at Larger Companies
When you’re looking for a growth hacker, you’re essentially looking for a marketer who writes code. As a consequence, a growth hacker’s goals should be aligned with the rest of the marketing team’s goals – driving core metrics like leads and customers.
But since a growth hacker can write code, the ways we generally work towards those metrics is different from our non-technical marketing coworkers. There are three core ways to leverage a growth hacker’s abilities.
- Create tools and assets that drive marketing metrics
- Dive into the data you’re collecting to see what’s working
- Use code to make other marketers more productive
Tools and Assets
Building a solid lead generation tool is probably the most valuable thing a growth hacker can do for a larger company. These tools include things like free calculators, graders and alert services that would be useful and interesting to your prospects.
A great example of a tool like this is jobchangealerts.com by SalesLoft. It’s a free service that connects to your LinkedIn account and sends you a daily digest email of what’s changed in your network – promotions, job changes, etc. SalesLoft’s product is a suite of sales intelligence tools, and this tool provides an awesome, free service to sales people. Cha-ching! This simple alert service has undoubtedly helped them generate tons leads and customers for their paid product.
Another example is a tool I’ve worked on called Marketing Grader by HubSpot. It’s been used by millions of companies to “grade” their website from a marketing perspective and see where they can do better. This tool sends hundreds of thousands of visits to our main site every month, and those visitors have a very high conversion rate to leads and customers.
These types of assets aren’t just great for driving leads and customers, though. They also help establish your company as a thought leader. When people use your tools to help them do their job, you become a trusted source of information, which can help build a ton of brand equity.
Diving Into Data
If you’re reading this, you probably already understand the importance of measuring you marketing, and using that data to help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t. With a growth hacker on your team, you can kick this sort of analysis up a notch.
At its core, coding is usually just the art of data manipulation – creating it, reading it, deleting it and reformatting it. Any coder who has built a substantial application has probably had to think about data in complex ways.
Don’t get me wrong, non-technical marketers can do amazing things with the right set of tools – but those tools have their limits. Growth hackers can tie together data from multiple systems with API calls, or run social media feedback through natural language processing algorithms to see trends over time.
Adding a growth hacker to your team will almost certainly unlock new insights about your business that previously seemed inaccessible.
Increasing Team Productivity
This is my favorite type of project to work on. While they are often brilliant people, I’ve found marketers to have a surprisingly high tolerance for rote busy work. They copy-paste the same code into each blog post, or spend hours doing the same reporting tasks in excel every month. They have written out steps and checklists that they must follow to perform these routine tasks.
These processes are usually fairly simple to automate, and can save marketers hours each week that they can now spend being creative and flexing their real super powers.
A great example of this was a small app I built for a coworker last winter. She was spending hours each weekend (!!) downloading data from several systems, formatting it in excel, and then re-uploading it into another system. I wrote a small script that registered with a few webhooks, formatted the data on the fly, and inserted it into the new system in real time. She got her weekends back, and the data was flowing faster and more smoothly. A huge win.
The Growth Hacking Mentality
While growth hacking is often associated with small startups that serve consumer web markets, the role is also a great fit for large organizations looking to bolster their existing marketing efforts.
Someone who has experience using code to build things often has the innate ability to think in terms of raw data, optimization, scale and automation. People with that hacker mentality rarely waste time doing busy work, they’d rather automate the small problems and focus on the most interesting challenge at hand. And if they can apply that mindset to a marketing context – generating more leads at a lower cost, more quickly – then they’re a huge asset to have on your team.
As more and more people learn how to write code besides just software engineers, growth hackers will become increasingly common at companies of all sizes. Gartner predicts that CMOs will outspend CIOs on technology by 2017.
If you’re already thinking about growing your business, it’s time to think about hiring a growth hacker.