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10 years after "Growth Hacking"

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the evolution of growth hacking and marketing over the past decade, from the rise of growth hacking to its current limitations, and the future direction of growth strategies.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] From Abundance to Scarcity

1. What were the key changes in the product growth landscape over the past decade?

  • A decade ago, product growth was in a period of abundance, with the launch of the iPhone and App Store, and people were excited about installing new apps.
  • However, over the past decade, the novelty drive has decayed, and people are no longer as interested in trying new apps, as their homescreens and attention are already occupied by the most engaging/addictive apps.
  • This has led to a shift from abundance to scarcity, where growth is now much harder to achieve.

2. How has the consumer novelty drive impacted growth?

  • The consumer novelty drive previously led to more organic growth, word-of-mouth, and higher signup conversion.
  • However, it also resulted in more one-and-done usage, comparison shopping, and higher churn.
  • As the novelty drive has declined, the base rate of new growth has stagnated on mobile, causing significant challenges for growth teams.

[02] Limitations of Growth Hacking

1. What are the key limitations of growth hacking techniques?

  • A/B testing alone is not sufficient for finding product/market fit, as startups often don't have enough users to generate statistically significant data, and the changes needed are often big, not small.
  • Growth projects work best for top-of-funnel initiatives at large/scaled products, but are less effective for longer-term factors like retention.
  • Aggressive growth tactics can lead to UX degradation and alienation of long-term users.
  • In larger companies, growth teams often clash with product teams due to overlapping responsibilities and a reputation for "hacky" tactics.

2. Why did the author's initial hopes for growth hacking not fully materialize?

  • The author had hoped that growth hacking would provide a new scientific process for finding product/market fit, but instead found that it mostly helped big products get even bigger.
  • A/B testing was mostly helpful for user acquisition and top-of-funnel UX, but did not do much for figuring out long-term retention.
  • The author later realized that the core product/market fit is often determined by the initial product category and customer segment choices, which cannot be easily growth hacked.

[03] The Rise of Distribution/Metrics Culture

1. How did the growth hacking mindset and techniques become more widely adopted?

  • Rather than being disrupted by growth hacking, traditional marketing and sales disciplines absorbed the growth mindset, metrics, and terminology.
  • Product managers are now expected to understand A/B testing and distribution metrics, and many marketers now describe themselves as "growth marketers."
  • The ideas and jargon of growth hacking permeated the industry, leading to a commoditization of the techniques as they became more widely used.

[04] The Future of Growth

1. What are the new growth opportunities and challenges on the horizon?

  • The author believes that the reinvention of growth channels is underway, with new tactics emerging around creators, short-form video, and shareable memes, driven by the rise of AI and the shift to new platforms.
  • As the industry moves from the mobile S-curve to the AI S-curve, the novelty drive is returning, allowing startups to rapidly spread new AI-powered products and features through social sharing and word-of-mouth.
  • The author predicts that marketing will increasingly look more like personalized sales, with AI-powered 1-on-1 interactions, rather than mass-produced broadcast marketing.
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ยฉ 2024 NewMotor Inc.