(Fundamental concept in the Lean Startup process. I’ve been marinating on this one for a while, as I build Collabo with my co-founder. Really trying to push us to test our value hypothesis as quickly as possible, without waiting to build our site.)
Two important points about the current state of entrepreneurship. (Note that I use that term semi-loosely. I’m referring to people choosing to forgo traditional 9-5 corporate jobs in favor of creating their own paths.) First, everything happening around us is fueling the ease of breaking out of those cubicle farms. On the employee side, you don’t need to be the next Zuckerberg. Certainly, it’s easier to enter the startup world today (not easier to succeed, however), but you can make a comfortable living just by taking advantage of the sharing economy. Like this micro entrepreneur right here. On the employer side, you’re either on the freelancer boat or you’re watching it pass by. In 2012, nearly 15mm US workers were self-employed, and that number’s estimated to reach 24mm by 2018. Enterprises now spend close to $300 billion per year on freelance labor. Second, the most tried-and-true approach to branding, consumer engagement, and customer acquisition remains word of mouth marketing (also known as “be interesting, give ’em a kick-ass experience and they’ll come back”). Maybe it’s a laundry delivery service that differentiates by dressing like superheroes or a customer service agent with the freedom to have some fun in his role. Stand out. Take chances. Be human.
If this doesn’t scare you marketers out there, you’re kidding yourself. Cause it’s been on my mind for a while now. Your marketing job is about to become an engineering job. Well, shit. But, wait! There is hope yet! The way I see it, traditional marketers will undoubtedly miss opportunities because they lack the back-end understanding of today’s world. And traditional engineers will have trouble connecting the technology to consumer behavior and the creative expression of the brand. A killer growth hacker will be a combination of both. One of my partners and I attended a SwitchPitch event recently, quickly recognizing we were surrounded by “tech guys” (which we’d eventually be pitching against for new biz projects). Considering we’re going after a project that is heavily reliant on technology as a solution to the brand’s core problem, we were a bit concerned at first. But I’ve seen and experienced it many times – engineers who aren’t able to speak the language of a marketing manager and vice versa. I’ve watched some great ideas melt away because the two sides couldn’t get on the same page. That’s where I see growth hacking coming into play. As a marketer, I’m working my ass off to make damn sure I can at least speak the language, and understand the immense opportunities the digital landscape has to offer. I’ll never be a top notch coder or A-team engineer (those guys and gals have skills way beyond my imagination), but that shouldn’t stop me from using every available resource to try.
Did I ever tell you guys about the secret to amazing customer experiences? If not, check out the short video here. #mindblown