The importance of Growth Hacking for startups

The importance of Growth Hacking for startups

Not everyone is a Guru or Expert on this topic, so we decided to contact Tomas Herzberger, Growth Hacking & Digital Marketing Expert, Autor, Speaker & Dad, to guide us a bit on the topic.

1 – Can you shortly explain what Growth Hacking is?

Growth Hacking describes a process of constant testing new methods in order to generate growth. In contrast to traditional advertising is Growth Hacking is looking at every touchpoint along the customer journey as a potential chance to gain substantial growth.

2 – For a start-up, do you think is something that can be Key for success?

Yes, because Growth Hacking does not necessarily demand advertising budget, although lots of those “hacks” are about to PPC-or CPM-based advertising. But as startups are usually lacking money, there are a lot of ideas which do not require a budget, but a genuine and brave approach to try something new. The big advantage for startups: they don’t have a brand they need to “protect” yet. They can experiment, they can fail and repeat.

3 – Do you have a great example from here Frankfurt or international?

I really like the classic Growth Hack by Hotmail: every email would include the text “PS: I love you. Get your free e-mail at Hotmail.” People loved it, the company grew quickly and bought by Microsoft. Apple did the same thing later and included the text “sent by iPhone” under every email. This is just cheap, but very creative and smart marketing. It started viral growth with just a line of text and made the users ambassadors for the company.
Considering the local players: Fastbill did some amazing marketing on trade shows and stood out of the crowd of traditional competitors. Savedroid experimented with a sweepstake to get positive reviews on the app store. The guys from Candylabs are currently running some experiments with cheap, but limited 2-for-1 tickets for their upcoming Startup Safari. We’ll see if these experiments are successful. But I love it that local companies are experimenting with new ideas.


4 – Do you think that the local start-ups are spending some time to understand the Growth Hacking rules?

As far as I know, there are no startups who have established a growth team or a systematic approach to get new learnings yet. If I’m wrong, please contact me. 🙂 Most of them are certainly learning about Growth Hacking but they are using a trial and error approach instead of a well thought out process.

5 – Don´t you feel that sometimes entrepreneurs and enterprises miss value the tasks relegating it to Trainees, part-time jobs, etc?

Yes, definitely. Growth Hacking is a team effort. Ideally, you would build a team which consists of a marketeer, a product manager and a data analyst. Similar to the scrum process, they should plan, carry out and analyse growth experiments. Ideally in a sprint of 2 weeks.
One of the best things about trainees is their curiosity for new, brave ways of marketing. So I would definitely listen to their ideas, especially when it comes to a reaching a young audience. But there should be at least some senior guidance in order to establish a working and scalable growth process. Also, the growth team needs the trust and resources of the C-Level management in order to get the job done. And most companies would and should give this job to their senior employees.

6 – In your opinion is there any channel overrated nowadays and any hidden gem?

Everybody is talking about Influencer Marketing but I haven’t seen many success stories so far – besides happy influencers. I think you have to build a longterm relationship with influential people in order to get results and profit from their recommendation, which is rather difficult.
Chatbots may become what email lists are today, as they offer much better opening and clickrates and are cheaply to do.
Snapchat is completely overrated in my eyes. It’s the MySpace of 2018 and will be destroyed by Facebook soon. But I once said that Twitter would not see the year 2014 and it’s still alive and kicking. So I have been wrong before.

7 –  Regarding the Growth Hacking FFM – Meetup #1 – are you happy with the result?

Definitely. Before the meetup, I did some webinars as well as workshops to get to know the needs of the audience. So I knew there was some interest. My goal was an audience of at least 15 people for the first meetup. Over 100 registered for the meetup group, 70 of them showed interest in the first event (thanks to your promotion on this newsletter). And 40 or so came, who were very happy about the meetup, according to the feedback after the event. We talked long after the end of the meetup until we were thrown out, which is basically what it is all about.

8- Do you plan to organize a second meetup soon? Maybe in English?

There will definitely be a second meetup, probably at the end of August. This one will be in German tough. But if there are enough people interested in an English-speaking event, I’d be more than happy to help. Just let me know.

9- Any advice for our readers?

Be brave, experiment, but focus on one goal at a time. And do not spend one Euro before you are able to gather the result!

10- Can you recommend some inspirational sources for those who want to know more about the subject?

The inventor of the term Growth Hacking, Sean Ellis, who is the genius behind the success story of Dropbox, just recently published his book “Hacking Growth”, which is a great read. I would also recommend, and the blogs of Unbounce, Hubspot, KonversionKraft, Buffer and OkDork.
Or, if you do not have the time for all of this, just subscribe to my newsletter on and you will get the best, handpicked growth hacks every two weeks right in your inbox. And one last thing: Sandro Jenny and I will be publishing a book about marketing for startups soon – stay tuned!
Great tips, no?
Another great event to save the date:
Growth Marketing Summit 2017:
Great to have people like Gary Vaynerchuck coming to speak in Frankfurt.
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