Startups have hijacked the Marketing stage for a few years now. New process, new tools and now models of management of Marketing have emerged thanks to the startups. They even created a specific term to crown their expertise: “Growth Hacking.” A dedicated concept with a large community all around the world has been growing steadily since 2010 and two people, Sean Ellis and Andrew Chen, made that concept global. Today you can see on LinkedIn that many profiles are “Growth Hackers” and some are part of large corporate companies instead of startups. Does it mean you need to care about the Growth Hacking methods when you are a Corporate? Quick answer: not at all.

Andrew Chen highlighted pretty clearly what is a Growth Hacker. That position is the new VP Marketing nickname. But he should have said that it is the new nickname whenever:

  • You are willing to aggressively acquire users by paying them a high price in the hope you can retain them long enough to have a positive CLTV
  • You use “unconventional” methods that range from “scrapping” copyrighted content to send massive business emails to owners who didn’t opt-in

There are, within the range of “unconventional” methods, some tactics that are related to the uniqueness of the social media platforms and now have become basics for any business: viral marketing, new business models, customer centricity, analytics capabilities. There are also more technical methods, like the “scrapping”: you configure a robot to visit websites and collect data from them. The scrapping method is part of the grey area of the Internet business and is currently fought back by content owners. Scrapping is useful when you need to automate a task, and can lead for example to the acquisition of a large email database without paying for it. But it also means you don’t have the consent of their owners to send them any business content. But who cares? It is GROWTH!

Who cares? Corporates because of the legal boundaries they need not to cross. It is a no-brainer for them when it is a no-bother for startups. That is how they can make a difference, provided they have the right offering to acquire consumers that were not looking for them at all. Still, aside that hype around the Growth Hacker term, there are a lot of challenges that startups have overcome through new methods. And those should be stolen by Corporates: (1) high level of agility to refocus (or “pivot” if you want some startup slang) on key insights acquired through (2) top-level analytics models and (3) consumer community engagement. Those are key differentiators Corporates should acquire to compete with digital native companies, when the latter should focus on mastering the acceleration phase they definitely don’t get.