Have you engaged the services of a ‘growth guru for hire’ to boost your startup’s presence? Or given in to the social pressure of having a hacker on your team to seek innovative ways to increase online mentions of your company? While having a growth guru on your team might be a trendy option at the moment, it could be in your business’ best interest to slow down and examine the potential ramifications of your hacker’s actions. Could any of the following scenarios ultimately impact your startup in a negative way?
- Your growth ‘expert’ is promoting your startup to media personnel with no regard for the reciprocal nature of press coverage. While your guru is being compensated for their efforts, they don’t stop to consider how covering your startup benefits the press writer. If your company isn’t hot enough to have press clamouring for interviews, how will profiling your startup benefit the writer your hacker is approaching? Ill-fated attempts to secure coverage for your company not only leave a less than positive impression of your growth guru, they also shroud your company in an air of negativity.
- If your growth hacker (glorified PR person?) is generating mentions for your startup but is failing to focus on publications relevant to your target buyer persona, your false sense of ‘buzz’ could be dangerous to your fiscal bottom line. Media mentions don’t equal paying customers. If customer sign-ups aren’t keeping pace with your press mentions, you might want to take a close look at the actual revenue being generated by your supposed expert.
- In an attempt to help your startup ‘go viral’, is your marketing master growing a reputation for your company that verges on spam? Plastering your brand all over the internet when you haven’t nailed a rock-solid product or flawless customer service strategy could leave customers with a less-than-positive impression of your company. Is that really the impression you want potential customers or investors to have of your budding enterprise? Would it not be better to build slower and build a business based upon a reputation of outstanding customer service and superior product development?
Before you consider hiring a ‘hacker-for-hire’ for your startup, consider the pros and cons of such an affiliation. Whether you retain the services of a ‘growth guru’ consultant or you create an internal team position, consider the actions you’ll deem acceptable and the results you’ll be measuring.
Do you really want a hacker or does your business actually need the services of a customer-focused sales closer? Do you want someone who believes in your startup and will be relentless in satisfying customers or do you want a smooth-talker who is strictly focused on inflating your social signals even if those increased numbers don’t translate into sales? While ‘growth hacking’ might be the current hot buzzword, is that in fact what your startup needs? Before you follow the herd and retain the services of a rockstar or ninja, carefully consider the side effects of their actions to make sure their hacks fall in line with the long-term vision you have for your company.
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