How do you translate trends, raw data, and that feeling in your bones into an actionable plan for growing your business?
Casper Emil Rouchmann — Growth Hacker and Head of Growth at Templafy — knows from experience that growth for the sake of growth itself isn’t going to cut it. Even the coolest growth hacks in the world won’t make up for a lousy product.
At Spark, Casper spoke about the growth hacker’s approach to presenting the perfect audience with the perfect product. We were lucky enough to get to pick his brain on what it means to adopt a growth hacking mindset — and why it’s about the long game more than the tiny hacks.
Q: Growth hacking has become such a buzz word — there’s a lot of different ideas about what growth hackers can or should be doing. What are some of the biggest misconceptions you see out there?
There’s so many. Just to mention a few:
1) That it’s more about the small hacks than the long game. Let’s be totally honest here: Strategy eats hacks for breakfast. If your strategy or product isn’t good, then we can do the coolest growth-hacks in the world and it still won’t matter a whole lot.
2) People expect magical results right off the bat. The whole concept of growth-hacking is based on rapid experimentation and the fact that small, incremental steps accumulate and impact your entire funnel. It won’t happen overnight.
Yes, there are cool cases, but remember this: Most of the time you have to fail nine times to win once. And once you’ve failed 2-3-4-5 times then most managers start doubting the process and cut the cord – just when you’re at the brink of success.
3) There is not just one type of growth hacking persona. Some are product-led, some are more marketing-led. There’s room for both.
Q: You’ve got a proverbial swiss army knife of tech tools for sales. How do you find them? What resources do you use to discover, test, and select new tools to integrate into your day-to-day workflow? How quickly can you tell if a tool will be useful or not?
First of all: Thanks! I haven’t been told that my tool stack is a proverbial swiss army knife in a while, love it. #PuttingItOnMyLinkedIn.
The answer is quite simple: My network. People recommend tools to me all the time and I guess I have an instinct for telling if it’s worth my time or not quite fast. Since I know so many, I can also tell if it brings anything new to the table right off the bat.
In terms of larger tools like HubSpot or SalesForce, it’s much more a strategic decision where the process always starts with: “What are we trying to solve?” This also goes when I want to achieve something that’s not possible with just a single tool. #IloveZapier.
Q: In my experience, the most effective growth hackers are working in smaller, more agile organizations. It seems difficult to scale growth hacking skills with a large company. Do you think it’s possible to apply the tools or mentality of a growth hacker within a big enterprise?
It’s a funny question since my mindset has changed slightly on this recently. I used to agree wholeheartedly with the statement that growth hackers work in small, more agile organizations (and are more effective).
And while I still believe that’s mostly true, I do believe you can apply the mindset and processes to a large organization. You lose the agility in the process, but you gain access to an abundance of resources.
And remember: if you grow a large organization by 1% then that’s possibly worth a lot more than 300% growth in a start-up. If you want to succeed in a large organization, it’s a matter of stakeholder buy-in, particularly senior-level buy-in.
Furthermore, you need a team that can execute across divisions – and you need a strong “Batman” type of leader (one who’s not afraid to do the things that are necessary).
Q: One of the most common pain points for marketers is finding a good way to integrate with sales teams. Growth hacking seems like a mid-way point between marketing and sales. Is that how you see your role? How much of your day is marketing vs. sales — and does it matter?
I’ve never understood why this is still an issue. Fundamentally, I don’t understand it.
Allow me to elaborate: what is the goal of the company? To sell its product. Whatever it is. Marketing is good at letting people know you have a wonderful product and that they should try it. Sales is for closing the deal. The goal for the two is (and should be) the same: to sell the product.
Marketing’s goal is not to provide X amount of leads – no, it’s to provide this amount of won customers. Same for sales. You’re playing for the same team – and just like winning a team sport, these things are based on team effort.
In terms of growth hacking’s role, I agree it is a bit different. I work across the entire funnel, which includes sales, customer success, account management, etc.
Traditional marketers typically find themselves working very closely with sales (as they should), but a growth-hacker expands across all divisions. Closer to what the people in operations do.
Most of my day is still grounded in marketing, but I try to listen to sales calls, get feedback, and join their weeklies to optimize what we do.
Q: Can you share something cool you recently learned with us? You’re always sharing updates on social media — what’s got you excited right now?
Happy to. Here are three cool things I recently deep-dived on:
1) Quora has just launched Lead Gen Forms.
Why is this huge? Quora drives high-quality intent traffic, but the friction between conversions is holding back the platform. With lead gen forms, this might change.
2) Google has started indexing text-based social posts (approximately 250,000 as of this moment – which is peanuts). This can be an absolute game-changer moving forward.
This will bring SEO closer to social media performance and vice versa, which is fantastic.
3) A study conducted by Binet & Field showed that companies that perform the best have a mix between branding and lead generation – in other words, long-term and short-term.
Branding is really, really hard to measure. And while it’s gotten easier on some fronts, we’re still miles away from correctly being able to attribute the value of branding. I think we need to make an adjustment (saying we, as I’ve been one of them) next year.