In 2024, everyone will be a growth hacker

By
Kate O'Keeffe
January 5, 2024
15
min read
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We’re in an era where businesses can speed up almost any capability with tech. 

All you need is an idea and the guts. The tech will support the rest – whether it’s processing payments or designing campaigns.  

But there’s still one gap the tech has yet to fill: finding the real-world data to decide whether to go all in on an idea. 

Scaleups need quick, real-world feedback on which to base their product decisions. And they need to generate them without following the old school approach of spending tens of thousands dollars in market research.

This is where Heatseeker – aka “Google for growth” – comes in. It allows scaleups to start with an idea, test it cheaply and quickly in the real market, and launch using a data-backed strategy.

The goal is to growth hack your way out of the hypothetical and into real world traction. 

But before I tell you more about our new venture, let’s talk a little about what growth hacking is.

Growth hackers have a unique combo of experimentation skills that are hard to automate

Growth hackers helped brands like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Hubspot gain traction in their early days without massive marketing budgets.

The real deal growth hackers possess a hard-to-find combo of creative skills, outside-the-box thinking, and a technical talent to run digital experiments. 

They take what normally requires a dream team of people to do and pull it off almost by themselves.  

Growth hackers have both the soft skills to think creatively and the hard skills to execute on that creativity.

They’re open to alternatives. In other words, they’re okay with being wrong, so long as they eventually get things right. So when they’re using cool new tools, they’re not just using them to confirm their existing theories. They’re using them to think light years outside the box. 

“Fearlessness is one of the reasons growth hackers often see things big, impressive teams often miss.”

This fearlessness is one of the reasons growth hackers often see things big, impressive teams often miss. As Harvard Business Review explains it, much workplace creativity often leads to what experts call “expert bias and pseudo-innovation.” 

Because even if a group of people comes up with a bunch of great ideas, the final decision maker may still  pick the solution that’s closest to what feels safest to them. 

This can happen even in the most innovative organizations. 

Fearless, creative thinkers are out there – they just need growth hacking tech that’s simpler 

Even the most fearless, innovative, resourceful startup teams still have to battle time and money.

That’s a big challenge. For growth hacking to be effective, there needs to be a lot of experimentation. Growth hacking is all about: 

  • Coming up with tests and experiments for the entire customer lifecycle
  • Running multiple tests to see which version of a page or ad got the most engagement
  • Iterating on everything from pricing to offers to see what works best
  • Pulling your insights and refining your real campaigns, so you can increase customers who know about your business and customers who buy from your business

GROWTH HACKING CASE STUDY: What should we watch on Netflix? It all comes down to a thumbnail.

When Netflix was first coming up, a viewer looking for something to watch would see a catalog of standard movie posters like the ones you see in theaters. 

When Netflix decided to start experimenting with their thumbnails, they changed the game. 

Through thousands of growth hacking experiments, they came to three key conclusions.

“Netflix’s scale of growth hacking and testing is highly valuable for scaleups, but it is nearly impossible for them to execute, either because of time limitations or technical limitations.” 

As Choicehacking explains, a thumbnail led to move views if it:

  • Showed a facial expression that matched the genre that expressed the same emotion as the title (e.g., fear for a horror movie, laughter for a comedy)
  • Showed infamous characters (e.g., displaying Lord Voldemort instead of Harry Potter)
  • Matched a local audience’s vibe, since the imagery people respond to depends on which part of the world they’re in

The experiments were worth it. Netflix now has 15 percent of global internet traffic

Imagine if every startup could do what Netflix did at the same scale. The trouble is how much time and technical skills this takes. 

A graphic design team can come up with all kinds of great variations, but if they don’t have the tools in place to use them, those tests will never see the light of day. 

What’s needed is an automated, iterative way to make this happen.

Heatseeker wants to even the technical playing field with “Google for Growth” 

Imagine if you could type “do people actually want to pay for a product like this?” or “what feature should I build first for my specific product?” into Google and get an answer, backed up with a full report based on real user data?

This is what Heatseeker wants to give companies. We’re going all in 2024, and our goal is to make growth hacking accessible to businesses at all stages. 

We want to give creative, scrappy, visionary thinkers the technical firepower they need to test by doing until they find the right messaging and positioning for their solution. 

Once you provide a few details about your business, Heatseeker:

  • Finds data sources from across the web, including information from competitors in your space, to see if your existing messaging matches the way the market thinks
  • Transforms these data sources into PPC campaigns that you can run across the internet to see what customers click on and actually want 
  • Empowers you to further refine these data-backed campaign recommendations with your own on-the-ground insights and then run your tests again 

This approach takes what growth hackers have been doing manually for the past couple of decades and increases its impact exponentially by automating large parts of the research, test creation, execution, monitoring, and iterating. 

GROWTH HACKING CASE STUDY: How growth hacking made The 4-Hour Workweek a bestseller 

Today, the title of Tim Ferriss’ bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, seems like the result of intuitive genius, but it’s really the result of growth hacking. 

Ferriss knew that people judge a book by its cover and title. So he growth hacked his way to the bestseller list  by using the following strategy to pick the title readers would instantly get by:

  • Developing six different titles like The 4-Hour Work Week, Broadband and White Sand, and Millionaire Chameleon
  • Running a $200 Adwords (now Google Ads) campaign advertising the six different titles
  • Choosing the title that got the most interest

Growth hacking is one of the reasons  his book has become an early  early guidebook of the “work from anywhere, leave your 9 to 5, get rich on your own terms” movement. 

But this isn’t because other people hadn’t thought of it. He just knew how to make it as relatable as possible. 

In 2009, people weren’t talking about remote working the way they do today. 

Broadband and White Sand, as clever as it was, wouldn’t have made an instant impact on the traditional, in-office, 9 to 5 worker. 

But that same worker could connect to the idea of a four-hour work week, since they were probably already working from nine to five.

“Growth hacking allows you to help people understand your vision by helping you connect it to their existing world view. Growth hacking is innovation plus empathy.”

Growth hacking helps you connect your future vision to the majority’s current worldview. Innovation, without empathy, can be terrifying. Innovation, with empathy, is exhilarating, because it makes the unimaginable seem real and possible.

Heatseeker offers the firepower of a consulting or market research firm in a SaaS solution

When I was at BCG Digital Ventures, growth hacking wasn’t just used to scale companies. It was used to create companies. 

We’d look into innovative startup ideas and use PPC campaigns to test which ideas resonated with the market. A simple shift in language could completely change the game and provide proof that we should go with one product or one tagline over another. 

We’ve all heard the gloomy number: 9 out of 10 startups fail. 

Usually, when you want to lower the risk of a new business venture you go through extensive market research and testing, consulting, business plans, and forecasts. 

At Heatseeker, we want to give startups and scaleups the firepower of these traditional methods, but with the speed, scalability, and flexibility of modern market testing tools. 

With Heatseeker, scaleups will be better able to: 

  • Growth hack every area of their business: Specifically, this means executing on the growth hacking Pirate funnel (aka AAARRR Framework) whether a scaleup has a large marketing team or not
  • Find the riches in the niches: This means finding those juicy $20 million, $50 million, or even $100 million markets that are too small for bigger organizations but an incredible revenue stream for a scaleup.  
  • Identify the X Factor(s): Often, beginner growth hackers test so many variables at once that they don’t know what the X Factor (or factors) is. Heatseeker makes it possible to test different variables, see which one specifically worked, or see which variables work best together.
  • Iterate on insights: It’s tempting to take the insights from a growth hacking test and run with it. The better approach is to use insights from an initial test to further refine and get a clearer idea of what works. 

Maximizing your time and money: Growth hackers can sometimes pull their tests too soon because they want to move on to testing a different variable. Running multiple tests using an automated solution makes it easy to monitor everything and get more insights.

CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: Finding an underserved niche in the competitive parenting market

Using Heatseeker’s insights, a parenting scaleup was able to enjoy eye watering conversions by focusing on LGBTQIA+ parents without breaking the bank on extensive market research or killing time executing on an overly-generalized marketing campaign. A perfect example of using data insights to find the riches in the niches.

At Heatseeker, we believe that technology isn’t taking away human contributions. It’s allowing us to make contributions that are more human by enabling creativity, collaboration, and innovation. 

Today, someone with an incredible vision can share it in an instant using Wordpress to build their website or YouTube, TikTok, or LinkedIn to share their story – no advanced website building or coding skills required. Someone with a unique point of view can build a community using Mailchimp or Hubspot to embrace email marketing, blogging, and other inbound marketing methods – no backend knowledge required. 

The same will be possible for enhanced market testing and idea development using Heatseeker. 

We’re embarking on a new era of creativity and collaboration. It’ll be an exciting journey, and we hope you’ll come along with us for the ride. 

If you’re interested in embracing the power of Growth Hacking-as-a-Service, register at the link below, so you’re instantly notified when our full product goes to launch.

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Kate O'Keeffe
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