Startups, forget Product Market Fit!

Yes, you heard it right, forget product market fit. In today’s startup common wisdom this might sound as blasphemy. Specially in a world where most startups fail because they were building something nobody wanted. Then the idea of finding product market fit became very popular.

“forget product market fit”

However, I would make the argument that finding product market fit is not as critical for your startup as it might seem. It does require work, iterations, user research, MVPs, etc. Most likely, a lean startup approach to product development. But if you follow the signs, you will find product market fit.

“follow the signs, you will find product market fit”

But then what? Are you done? Is your startup a unicorn now? Then answer is NO! The biggest battle is still ahead. You have to make your startup grow. Find those customers, sell them on the product, help them understand and realize the value of it and finally engage them for the long term. Growth Hacking is the answer to all of that.

In the last decade, most startup that became unicorns have grown their business through Growth Hacking. For example, Dropbox through their early referral program or AirBnB through their Craiglist integration and many others. Then it makes sense to think that to build a long lasting business growing your customer base is probably the most important thing you will need to do.

So before even worrying about product market fit, you should really think about your Growth Hack. What is the method you are going to use to get those 100, 1000, 10,000 and more users. Your product needs to be able to grow organically, virally, by user to user recommendation. And that growth strategy needs to be built-in your product from the get go.

So start you startup with “your Growth Hack” and build your way back to product market fit.

“find your Growth Hack, then your way back to product market fit”

To learn more about product market fit I recommend the following links:

I will have a follow up post on Growth Hack best practices and recommendations. Subscribe to stay in tune.

 

The Growth Hacker

In this post I want to go over the definition of a Growth Hacker or also called, a Growth Engineer. Though the Growth term is sort of loosely used today to mean many things, there are a few definitions that clearly explain what the role of a Growth Hacker is today.

One of the first definitions of the Growth Hacker goes back to Andrew Chen, who defined it as “a hybrid of a marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph…’

This definition has proven to be one of the best ways to describe Growth Hacker, and has been extended by people like Ryan Holiday who defines it as “someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mails, pay-per-click ads, blogs and platform APIs instead of of commercials, publicity and money.”

Ryan also states that “growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth — and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machines that can take a start-up from nothing to something.” (Growth Hacker Marketing Book)

While these definitions are great, on a practical level I would add that Growth Hackers are engineers that understand product, users and marketing. They are the people who use a scientific engineering approach to help companies reach product market fit when needed, and through the right product experiences can drive massive user growth.

By combining marketing, product development, data science, user research and experimentation, Growth Hackers are engineers in a unique position to iterate on product building and go-to-market strategies that unlock a product’s potential in a market.

“Exploding user growths at a company happens when the right product meets the right growth strategy.”

Growth Hackers are metric driven, their goal is to identify all the ways a metric can be moved, and use tools such as A/B testing and experimentation to drive high growth.

“Growth Hackers thrive in fast moving environments and rapid iterations of product.”

They heavily rely on Data Science and User Research to understand marketing or user problems. Growth Hackers have become a key part of any companies Growth strategy. They are engineers that can massively growth you user base and engagement at a fraction of cost than traditional marketing strategies would cost. They are the perfect complement to any marketing team.

About this blog

I have started this blog to share my ideas and experiences in Growth. As I move along posting here I will cover a variety of topics relevant to Growth Engineering teams. I will focus on standard areas such as Acquisition, Activation and Retention.

I hope that by sharing my ideas I can help spread knowledge and experiences about Growth engineering teams, so it can be used by startups and companies to drive new users, adoption and engagement.