March 16, 2017
WD-40 is a product that is well-known for its lubricating properties. If you have squeaky hinges or a bolt that is on too tight, you can use this little can of miracle spray and solve the problem. It was first developed in 1953 by chemist Norman Larsen, to spray on the balloon tanks of Atlas missiles, to keep water off those tanks, because they were incredibly fragile.
The name says it all – WD stands for “water displacement,” and the number 40 represents the fact that this was Larsen’s 40th attempt at developing the formula. Obviously, the market for WD-40 was pretty small, and Larsen was not going to be making millions from this single-use product. But he hooked up with some crafty and creative people and in 1958, the product was made available to consumers to solve problems around the house. Today, this product is a staple in most households.
But the story does not stop there. WD-40 is its own corporation and has entered the 21st centuries with a cool website and a strong presence on social media. At one point, a creative marketer of the team had a great idea: what if they asked customers to come up with unique ways to use WD-40 for things other than just eliminating squeaks and loosening bolts? The response was overwhelming, and today there is a link on the company’s website devoted just to that.
Why WD-40 Story Is Important
The idea and its execution is a prime example of growth hacking. And often a growth hacking tactic is born from some team member’s idea. But without a framework for taking that idea, nurturing it, and executing it right, it might never have gotten off the ground.
As much as we hear about growth marketing and growth hacking and they are being used almost interchangeably now, there is one overriding principle – companies must have a framework in place that drives the decisions about their marketing efforts/campaigns. And here are the essentials of that framework.
Growth Comes from the Audience
There are lots of touch points between you and your audience. And obviously, the first thing you need to do is develop a clear customer persona. You can do this by answering a multitude of questions about your typical customer. What you may find, as WD-40 did, is that you have multiple personas that you will need to segment out. Each of these segments has problems to solve, and they are different. If you have three personas, for example, you need marketing that provides both general and more specific value. And now that personalization tools are so available, your job is easier.
A recent survey conducted by Responsys showed that consumers feel far more positively about a brand when marketing, through emails and texts especially, is personalized – the company knows who they are and what they need.
The Focus Must Be Long-Term
How do you sustain your customer base while adding new customers? Research shows it is far less costly to retain existing customer than to acquire new ones. So, you want to establish the lifetime value for your current customers. What can you offer existing customers to keep them from jumping ship for your competition? This must be part of your marketing growth framework, for it is the sustainability of current customers as you acquire new ones that will grow your company’s revenue.
What are you doing for your existing customers? If you cannot come up with a list, you have some work to do.
Now About That Content
You are probably ready to throw up if you hear one more word about “content is king.” But, given the competition, you have to make your content so much better than the competition’s that consumers will remember your brand name above all of the others.
This involves creativity and some risk-taking in growth hacking. Dollar Shave Club created a hilarious explainer video that went viral. PooPourri took some risks with video stories about women in bathrooms, and it worked. Your content has to be unique, and videos can accomplish that.
CRO – Is It in Your Framework?
How do you know which of your strategies is working? CRO (conversion rate optimization) is the result of one thing and one thing only – you execute an idea and then you test it.
You can begin with Google analytics which will give you lot of solid information about which of your tactics are getting the most “play.” But you should dig deeper, and there are plenty of optimization tools out there to use. The goal here is to execute the idea and get rapid analysis of its CRO.
Using Customer Feedback
This is one of the easiest marketing growth strategies you can use and it must be in your growth framework. You have customer contact information, so what are you waiting for? Execute customer surveys, and segment those responses – those who are most likely to recommend you, those who like your product/service but have not shared information about you to others, and those who have had some issues with either your product or customer service. What valuable information this is!
You can turn your biggest fans into brand ambassadors; you can nurture those that are happy but have not shared; and you can resolve issues that unhappy customers have.
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