Let Your Customer Hack Your Company

Hester Francken, 28 January 2019

What Happens in The Playground..

Do you remember that time you had a GREAT idea, when you were a child? You ran to your mom and said “Mom, I have this GREAT idea.” And after you pitched it, your mom said “Well love, that’s a GREAT idea. I’m sure you will do well.” Of course that’s what she said, because she always supported you. No matter how shitty your idea was. Perhaps you were so enthusiastic that you actually carried out your idea.

What happened next? Maybe everyone around you loved it, adapted to your idea and you were the new hero in the playground. But in reality what probably happened was that most of the other kids took a quick look and then just continued their own games after the curiosity evaporated, as they didn’t care much.

..also Happens in Business’

Sounds like the normal life of a child, right? And that’s okay, because they are just playing around. But guess what: this is what also happens in the adult life. In the business life, to be precise.

Founders fall in love with their idea, pitch it to their inner circle, get their support and start executing right away. Just like companies that have existed for a long time, that come up with an idea for a new proposition. They rely on their strong brand and their business feeling, invest loads of money and just start building. They are targeting an audience and try to make them fall in love with their product. Often, the consumer does not really seem to care. Just like the other kids that just continued their own play, after the novelty feeling disappeared.

So there you are, after having invested loads of time, money and sweat. Left behind, without anyone adopting your product - besides your loving mother.

The Importance of Customer Centricity

Before I became a Growth Hacker (what the hell is a Growth Hacker, I hear you thinking - and you will find out later) I studied Economic and Consumer Psychology and I have worked in sales for two years. My most important takeaway from this is that a business is - or should be - about what the consumer needs. Whereas most companies think from their own product and try to push this to the consumer, the successful companies look from the customer’s perspective and only have to give them a nudge so they realise they have a specific need, and then they provide them with their solution.

Push versus Pull Strategy.

And I experienced this pull strategy really pays off. Not only in acquiring and activating customers, but in the full customer-lifecycle (or AAARRR Funnel ). You let them choose your product, instead of imposing it on them, which results in a stronger feeling of commitment and sense of need.

This is the reason why, when I was searching for the best kickstart in the world of digital marketing, I was looking for an environment that understood this customer centricity. That knew it had to look from the consumer’s perspective and that took Psychology serious. This is why I decided to become one of those fancy ‘Growth Hackers’ by doing the traineeship at The Talent Institute. So what did I learn there?

Let Go of Your Unicorn Idea and Just Let Your Customer Hack Your Company

I learned that the growth hacking part actually just starts in the ‘Execute’ phase, after you’ve found the product-market fit for your proposition. It all starts with the 'Search' phase, in which you try to find a problem-solution fit. For all of you who have been exploring the world of the 'Lean Startup' method: this is indeed the phase where you continuously Build-Measure-Learn.

Although I would say that it starts with learning (more about the consumer) before you start building.

In this phase, you should let the customer hack your company. Not the other way around. Why? Changing behavior is difficult. It is more effective to just really listen to the customer and adapt to their needs. And validate your assumptions, over and over again.

Of course, invalidation is also great for the customer;

“If you know where you fail, you know where to fix.”
- a wise startup founder once told me.

I know, you and your colleagues loved your idea so much. And it’s difficult not to think about a pink elephant when the pink elephant idea has already been dancing around your mind, but sometimes you just gotta let go of that..

Growth Hacking is a Team Sport - and Your Customer is The Star Player

So team up and create your growth team. Let go of the traditional team boundaries and bring together a cross-functional collaboration starting with the people who know what the customer wants - your colleagues from customer experience and sales. Then add e.g. the engineer and product manager who adapt the product to their needs, the analysist who draws conclusions from every experiment, and the marketeer who knows how to market it and nudge the consumer in the right direction. And of course, as everything is constantly changing, you’ve got to keep listening to your customers. Let them be your star player!

How do we Get You in The Game?

Today I spoke to a friend who works in a corporation where he experienced exactly the problems as described before - colleagues who think from their own perspective, who just start executing and don’t actually listen to the customer. If a product does not succeed, “the marketing team would just have to do their job better”.

Probably sounds familiar, right?

So how are we going to change his and your colleagues’ approach and mindset then? Changing behaviour is difficult right? Well, what kind of fancy Growth Hacker would I be if I weren’t able to provide the solution to this problem ;)

At The Talent Institute we happen to facilitate awesome 2-day bootcamps. But that’s only for people who want to master the innovative Lean mindset/methodology or who want to sustainably grow their company with Growth Hacking.

He is going to participate.

So it’s up to you. But if this sounds like you as well, I wouldn’t wait too long and have a look here.

Thank you for reading. Now hop on the customer centric train - and say hi to your mom for me!

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