#SOMEXcircle Growth hacking – creative ways for business success

Audience SOMEXcircle

Growth hacking, an already quite popular subject and surrounded with still enough mystery to leave a respectable size of people behind and confused what the term means and stands for. Luke Szkudlarek from the marketing agency what.digital explained in his talk at the #SOMEXcircle on 26. April 2016 what growth hacking is, how it differs from other kinds of marketing and how you can use it yourself to grow your business.





What is growth hacking?

Let’s start with a definition first:  The term growth hacking refers to ”low-cost creative methods to grow a business and getting customers in a fast and cost-efficent way.”

Growth hacking was invented by tech startups, as a way to creatively accelerate their growth. Startups often are in a situation where they need to scale up quickly from zero to many customers to gain traction and market share.

The methodology of growth hacking, however, is not limited to tech startups and can also be used within other small business or big cooperations.

How to do growth hacking

#SOMEXcircle Growth hacking

To practice growth hacking successfully inside a company, it is necccessary to be in a position where you can perform certain tasks, these are:

  • Product modification
    You need to be able to alter, change or modify a product , including it’s roadmap. Without the possibility to change the product or service, it can become a real hurdle to try and experiment with new methods and ideas.
  • You need to understand the fundamentals of digital marketing
    Often it’s neccessary to borrow methods from digital marketing, so knowing the basics is key.
  •  Need to understand basics of code. Avoid saying „I’m not technical“
    Saying things like “I’m not technical” does limit you in what you can do and prevents you from moving forward.

Differences beetween a growth hacker and digital marketeer

growth hacker…

… Rapidly prototypes and tests ideas and hacks
… tries unusual things and breaks conventions
… is focused on actions and results
… doesn’t follow a certain plan
… is audience / platform led


digital marketer…

…thinks about branding und positioning
…works „by the book“
…plans media
…thinks in businesscases
…has a channels-mindest


Luke also talked about some interesting cases of growth hacking.


Case: Boonea


A very simple and effective growth hack used tech startup Boonea to build their email subscriber list. To get their email-newsletter off the ground, they sent everyone they knew and have exchanged messages in the last few months their first newsletter – without their consent.

The reaction was very positive and only two people seem to be upset by this move and  decided to unsubscribe from the email list.

Case: Audi

Another interesting approach of growth hacking used Audi with it’s YouTube advertisement for the Audio R8 that lasts only 5 seconds, exactly the time it takes until a user can click the skip now button. It also has the nice side effect for Audi that the first five seconds of a YouTube clip cost nothing, making the whole campaign almost free.

Case: AirBnB – Hijacking an existing Audience


One way to build an audience and getting customers can be done by borrowing the audience of someone who has built a similar audience already and use or ‘hijack’ that audience to sell your own products and services.

In the case of AirBnB, they used in it’s early days the audience of Craigslist to promote their offerings on the Craigslist website. They built an integration for the site that offered users the functionality to post the same advertisement on Craigslist also. The key element for such a tactic to work is to know where your audience hangs out and leveraging existing opportunities to make your offerings known.

Sources for Growth hacks
  • Digital Marketing Channels
  • Data drive insights
  • Platfom integrations/API’s
  •  UX Design / Testing

#SOMEXcircle is an event by SOMEXCLOUD – Social Media und Digital Communication.The next #SOMEXcircle takes place at the 31th of Mai 2016, as usual in the renowed Restraurant Hiltl (Sihlstrassse 28, 8001 Zürich). More information and registration on eventbrite


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