In a galaxy (not so) long, long ago, we had our first encounter with Growth Hacking. In this blog post we will take you along our journey where no one in the Netherlands had gone before us: Creating RockBoost, The first Dutch Growth Hacking Agency. So please join us and let us share with you the growth hacking knowledge we learned so far during our voyage.
Long, Long Ago - How it All Began...
But first, since every self respecting blog post seems to start with a Wiki quote, let's do so too. What is growth hacking actually?
"Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure."
Seems simple enough right? Well there is actually quite a bit more to it as you'll soon seen.
We founded our first company at the age of 19 as freshmen at university and we made all the mistakes you could possibly think of. Just name it and I'm quite sure we've done it.
Then, 10+ years, 200+ clients & 5+ startups laters... and we were still sadly making (mostly the same) mistakes. Until one day, when we stumbled upon the term "Growth Hacking".
Through our first growth hacking encounter, we discovered a totally new world - which is what we want to share with you in this blog post, a new world with a new way of doing things. A world where you're allowed to make mistakes and where companies grow...magically fast.
Our journey's mission is to bring the growth hacking techniques used by successful Silicon Valley startups to traditional companies and the successful startups of tomorrow and simply make them grow... exponentially.
So we thought this would be a good time to start writing our memoires...
Not because we’re cocky, or because we think we’ve got it all figured out, but because our secondary goal is to educate. We strongly believe that growth hacking cannot be successful without the active collaboration with our clients. We don’t do the growth hacks for you. No, we’re in this together. The only way we can succeed is if we all put our backs into it. Which is why we are eager to share our Growth Playbook™ with you and hear back what you think about it.
The RockBoost Growth Playbook™
Having made all these mistakes and learned a lot more from them, we developed a sort of system, the Growth Playbook™ which teaches you how to grow. To be honest, we’re not 100% sure how to even call this right now: is it a Methodology, is it a Framework, is it a Manifesto? We are unsure, but it is definately something to be excited about!
We’re just three simple Dutch guys with different backgrounds (Business, Computer Science and Accounting) who noticed that this growth hacking stuff really works.
Is the stuff we have created unique? Yes, not only is the Growth Playbook™ different from traditional marketing techniques but also from traditional growth hacking methods. We have compiled our knowledge through reading A LOT of books, years of practical experience and most important of all: learned lessons from our failures. Let's just say, all those mistakes have paid off. Not only do we want to use what we have learned; but we want to pass it on and teach other aspiring firms this knowledge as well. So we took the best parts of systems we could find out there (Delivering Happiness, Agile, Lean Startup, Rockefeller Habits, SCRUM) and combined them with our knowledge in a unique way in order to ensure growth hacking success for any business! We call this the RockBoost GrowthPlaybook™. It allows large corporations and startups not only to grow, but to learn how to growth hack by themselves to ensure a long term change in the growth and mindset of the firm.
The Five Pillars
Simply put, the RockBoost Growth Playbook™ Methodology consists of five pillars which I will explain using RockBoost as an example. As we say: eat your own cookie - these five pillars are also the core of what we do:
1. Listen to your market.
Here we explore who your target market really is and how to know who belongs to your target market or not. In our case, we have spent a tonne of time researching what types of companies may benefit from growth hacking and would be interested in it. We realised that contrary to the traditional growth hacking mindset where growth hacking techniques are only applicable to start-ups, that large and medium sized corporations could also strongly benefit from growth hacking methodologies. Indeed, it is a lot harder to achieve high growth as a mature company, but hey, it is possible and we love a challenge ;-).
2. Traction Channels.
There are 19 traction channels (yes, 19!) you can use to connect with your identified target market. The effectiveness of each traction channel differs depending on your company; meaning some channels are better options for your firm than others depending on many different factors. We have found that the challenge lies not in finding a series of channels that work, but rather in finding one channel that beats them all. By measuring (step 4) we found out for ourselves that some channels were less effective due to our target market being B2B (such as offline ads) whilst others such as conferences were a awesome opportunities to reach out to potential clients.
3. Product-Market Fit.
When asking yourself if you have Product-Market fit, ask yourself one simple question: 'Would your clients be upset if they could no longer use your product?'. If 40% of your market would be extremely upset without your product/service you have Product-Market fit. At RockBoost, we wish to understand our customers better than they understand themselves and understand their fears, hopes and dreams. By ensuring we help solve their fears and achieve their hopes and dreams, we ensure RockBoost clients don't want to do without us. Our One Metric That Matters also reflects this as we aim not on revenue generation but use a measure that also takes retention into consideration.
Which tools do you use to measure your goals? Everything you do should be measurable. There is no point in spending money on marketing if you cannot see whether or not it works. Prove the value of everything you do through collecting hard cold honest numbers and data.
Once you have the data through measuring you can analyse it, A/B test and optimize. By constantly testing things as simple as the content on our website, we continuously improve everything we do.
We work through these five pillars with our clients through several steps: a BoostList, Growth Charge Session and Growth Monthly Kickoff.
"Please fasten your seat belts, ensure all luggage is stored underneath the seat in front of you and that your mobile devices are either switched off or on flight mode." Just like there are certain things that need to be done before a plane takes off, your firm needs to be ready for its growth take-off. We provide you with a concrete list of to-dos that will ensure your firm is ready for a boost.
Growth Charge Sessions
After preparing the firm through a Boost List, the Charge Session is next. This is a simple 2.5 hour session we have, just to get to know you. We don’t need any preparation for this session, just your openness for a free informal discussion so we can get to know each other and we can understand what your five pillars look like right now.
At the end of the Charge Session we collectively determine and agree upon the One Metric That Matters (OMTM). Noah Kagan’s One Metric That Matters allows us to select a single metric that is most important to your growth. From that point, everything we do will be aligned with that metric. The OMTM is all we think about.
Once we have the OMTM defined, we begin implementing our set of tracking tools and gathering data. This data will be used for baseline tracking - we love data and we need lots of it to make data-driven decisions later on. So the sooner we start collecting data, the better the potential decisions.
We will then educate you on growth hacking such as through helping you analyze your Traction Channels. We are here to make you a more effective person… or at least a better growth hacker. This is an important step to get all stakeholders on the same path towards the OMTM.
Monthly Growth Kickoff
Now that you are armed with growth hacking knowledge, we do a Monthly Growth Kickoff. In this session we freely brainstorm growth hacks that could be applied be applied to the chosen traction channels. We update you with our new growth hacking knowledge and evaluate how far you have come in terms of achieving your One Metric that Matters and how you got there.
Repeat until OMTM is Reached
Once the OMTM is reached, it’s time to celebrate! But not for long. Growth is a continuous process. So we just choose a new OMTM and start a new Growth Playbook™ cycle. We love running in circles (as long as we get better each time)!
The Future of our Playbook
As indicated, the Growth Playbook™ is a work in progress and is subject to continuous change and development. This is something we aim for as it allows our Growth Playbook™ to be iteratively improved, step by step in order to offer the best growth hacking advice. Any input is of course greatly appreciated, feel free to comment and let us know what you think. As we have shown in this article, we apply our own methodology to everything we do, from client projects, to building our own startups to even this document itself.
The Growth Playbook™ is field-tested, data-driven and based on strong experience. We build it based on our customers’ needs and it allows us to provide organization, systems and discipline to our clients in order to help them focus and achieve their OMTM. You too can profit from the safety of a proven framework for structural growth through the Growth Playbook™ here at RockBoost!
Give us a call if you want to boost your companies performance to new heights, grow exponentially as well as work & learn with the best.
Happy (Growth) Hacking!