The title of this post is a bit of a rhetorical thought, but in the battle between the two, there’s a CLEAR WINNER…BOTH! I believe that the most effective marketing strategy and campaigns are those that combine the most effective portions of BOTH!
I’ve been on a knowledge quest and have been devouring as much information as I possibly can about “Growth Hacking” after recently reading a book called Growth Hacker Marketing, A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising, by Ryan Holiday. This short book has me rethinking everything I’ve learned, and thought I knew, over the last 10 years of leading marketing and sales teams.
Growth “Hacking” is a term coined in Silicon Valley and very quickly becoming part of the business lexicon. If you haven’t heard the term yet, you soon will and you’ve certainly seen companies that were built by it. Can you say, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon!? Each of these companies started with little to no marketing and advertising money and only used marketing techniques that were measurable, track-able, and scale-able. This point seems so simple and common-sense-worthy, that it’s kept me up at night thinking about every marketing dollar spent over my career.
Whether you have an MBA or not (I do not), most leaders in the business world especially those outside of the marketing division are held to very strict standard of Purchases and Losses (P&L). I have a friend who’s an acoustic engineer in the Auto Industry. He’s continually searching for ways to make vehicles quieter. He’s tasked to do this while keeping the cost at a very low dollar figure. In marketing we’re not held to this same standard. We’re praised when we get our company’s name “in lights” and value things like “Branding” and “Awareness”.
I’ll be the first to admit, I absolutely LOVE when I see a product or company I have a part of, in a positive light, whether it’s in an expensive T.V. ad or on the side of a NASCAR race car. Branding and Awareness ARE important. They ensure that our companies stay in the mind of the consumer. The question that’s been in my mind (and many many a CEO and CFO) is, how do we PROVE a positive call to action (CTA) or return on our investment (ROI)?
This is where Growth Hacking is changing the marketing game! They’re taking advantage of people’s online and social engagements, as well as “loop holes in the system” to quote Ryan Holiday. They do this by having the marketers and PR people in the design and testing phase of products or services, or (much to our displeasure and job security) completely replace marketing teams with engineers that were part of the design and test phases. This allows the product or service to be tested or vetted by the consumer as well as members from ALL parts of the company. That insures that the product or service is the right one for the market. It also ensures that the product or service’s marketing and PR efforts are “built-in” with measure-ability and scale-ability. This was the idea behind how CASE Marketing Group’s “Old School” marketing technique of using direct mail has been brought to the future.
CASE Marketing Group has combined traditional direct mail with innovative cutting edge lamination along with the measurable and scale-ability of social engagement and analytics.
CASE Marketing Group features several laminated (30 mil thick) “Plastic” direct mail pieces including the Auto Acclaim Mailer. The Auto Acclaim Mailer may seem like an ordinary direct mail piece but it’s on the cutting edge of data analytics, CTA, and ROI capabilities. The Auto Acclaim Mailer uses client feedback and is consumer data driven. Companies can send out tens of thousands of pieces of literature and brochures with varying degrees of success. That success depends in large part, to the consumer data that’s used.
The Auto Acclaim Mailer uses Growth Hacker techniques such as putting its logo and website on every piece of mail that its client’s send. This means that when a client uses the Auto Acclaim Mailer, they advertise directly to a highly targeted set of people. This ensures that the client, in this example an automotive dealership, is marketing to the most likely potential customers AND each of those mail pieces is marketing CASE Marketing Group as well. This “piggy back” effect creates a snow-ball affect. Which will eventually (hopefully) lead to the coveted self-sustaining-lead-generation machine.
Growth Hacking and “Old School” marketing aren’t “competing” with one another! Growth hacking has made parts of traditional marketing OBSOLETE for a few years now. This means that companies and marketers will need to learn how to incorporate Growth Hacker techniques into their marketing strategies or be left the way of the dinosaur.