Join Brad Batesole for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding your product, part of Marketing Foundations: Growth Hacking.
- The worst marketing decision you can make is trying to promote a product nobody wants or needs. You'll do yourself a huge favor by being honest with yourself and conducting a true review of what it is you've built or are building. And that can be a hard realization. Traditional marketing suggests that when we fail, we try a different marketing technique, write a better ad, target a different audience, and so on and so forth. Growth hacking has us going back to the drawing board. We need to figure out how to build it better. That might mean you need to pivot, scrap the project, or innovate in a new direction.
And that's not a bad thing. In a later chapter, we'll be taking a closer look at a company called Air BnB, but they have a great example of pivoting that's worth sharing now. Air BnB lets users post or rent lodging, and it started in 2007 when two roommates couldn't afford the rent of their San Francisco loft. So they opted to rent space on air mattresses in their living room and provide a home-cooked breakfast. Their website at the time, Air Bed 'n Breakfast, sought out to solve that one problem. But they continued to pivot to chase the needs of their customer, from airbeds in their apartment to airbeds in other apartments in the area, all the way to serving lodging in over 190 countries.
They went way beyond the initial idea and continued to return to the drawing board. That led to their success, and as of date, they're valued at over ten billion dollars. It's a valuable lesson. A common problem when pivoting, however, is spending too much time focusing on what the competition is doing. If you happen to be in a competitive space, it's easy to follow traditional norms and replicate what they're doing. Now it's OK to keep an eye on your competitor, but the winner in today's business world isn't the biggest brand, or the one with the most bells and whistles, or even the one who necessarily got there first.
The winner is the company who aims for market fit. You wanna win at having a product that is a perfect fit for your audience. And to do that, you need to really understand your product. I recommend that every start up or anyone looking to undergo refining their product aim to build a minimum viable product, or MVP. This is a product that has just enough features to support the early adopters of the business. Since you've done your homework and vetted out your customer, it should be easier to decide what they actually need out of the product.
An MVP lets you get to market faster and it allows you to scale to fit the needs of your market with having to guess at all the features up front. An MVP doesn't have to feel like a prototype. It should have a high level of fit and finish. It just doesn't need to solve every problem immediately. You can slowly roll out new features and test out how they're received. You can use your initial customers as a foundation to learn from. Conduct research, make the necessary enhancements and build the next iteration of your product offering.
But be careful with customer feedback. If you put all their ideas into your product, you'll end up with something that feels disjointed and built to make everyone happy. You've gotta stick to your core audience and your core focus. Understand what you're trying to build, and do it well. If you pull that off, you'll have less of an uphill battle to climb when it come to your marketing efforts.
The course concludes with growth-hacking case studies, highlighting the growth-hacking techniques that helped propel such companies as Airbnb, Uber, and Tinder to explosive growth.
- What is growth hacking?
- Understanding the funnel
- Setting up tracking and analytics
- Leveraging customers and existing users
- Testing ideas
- Generating an audience
- Creating an incentive strategy
- Real-world examples of successful growth hacking