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  • Writer's pictureRobert Cassard

Who are you: Channel Marketer, Sales Chief or Growth Hacker?

Growth Hacking Venn Diagram

Excerpted from Video Growth Hacking for Channel Chiefs (Business Success Press, 2016)

Your employer's impossible demands

Most vendor-employers and distributor-employers expect their Channel Marketers and Channel Sales Chiefs to achieve double-digit growth every year. In other words, your work is often measured against nearly impossible demands.

Seth Godin has written a compelling book on this topic called Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? He explains that linchpin employees are the essential building blocks of a great organization. They may not be famous but they're indispensable, which usually gains them the best jobs and the most freedom. Godin says, “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It's time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”

I like that Godin uses the word art to describe each employee's unique contribution because Marketing is an art and so is Sales. Depending on your title, you probably identify your role mostly as one or the other, but your accountability goals probably fall in the shared area of the Venn diagram between the two.

Marketers generally don’t succeed without an excellent Sales process and team and sales reps don’t succeed without excellent marketing tools and support. The intersecting area of Marketing and Sales is what the C-Suite REALLY really wants you and your counterparts to deliver, and it boils down to one word: Growth.

If you can devise a way to grow partner sales faster, the folks in the C-Suite will love you, give you raises and do almost anything to keep you. In other words, what your vendor-employer really wants and needs, without knowing how to articulate it, is for you to be a growth hacker.

The origin of the growth hacker

The term growth hacker was coined by tech investor Sean Ellis back in 2010, when he was at Air BNB. He was describing a hybrid kind of marketer-coder he’d witnessed becoming vital to start-up companies. So-called growth hackers were focused on using creative, low-cost and often non-traditional marketing techniques to build their user base. As Ellis describes it, “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.”

Growth hacking has been highly valued by startups, but larger organizations are catching on because they can derive such massive benefit from it. Becoming a growth hacker takes both imagination and moxie, and is the direction in which all marketing is inevitably moving, especially in the tech sector and especially for online marketing and sales.

What is growth hacking?

Excerpted and paraphrased from Wikipedia:

Growth hacking is a marketing technique which aims to attract users at a relatively low cost and primarily by means of technological integration. It focuses on lowering cost per customer acquisition, facilitating word-of-mouth advertising and increasing customer lifetime value.

Growth hackers generally focus on low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. using social media and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television.

Marketers who claim to specialize in growth hacking use various types of classic marketing—persuasive copy, email marketing, SEO and viral strategies, among others, with a purpose to increase conversion rates and achieve rapid growth. It also involves online community management and social media outreach, building a brand’s image on social media outlets, and performance metrics to sell products and gain exposure.

Growth hacking can be seen as part of the online marketing ecosystem, since growth hackers use techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing.

What kind of hacking is this?

Quick clarification: When I talk about growth hacking, I’m not talking about anything illegal, nor am I suggesting you need to become a computer programmer to be good at this. Growth hacking in the channel space usually means having the creative courage to be inventive and ingenious about marketing and sales. It means thinking boldly and differently, and taking action to harness communication tools and technology to achieve the fastest growth possible.

You’ll never help your channel take quantum leaps with the same old tools and tired techniques.

(Next time, we'll explore: The Growth Hacker Mindset.)

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