Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Growth Hacking For Civic Hacks: Part 1

Not sure if this is recursive, but it seems like civic hacking needs growth hacking. And that probably applies to the whole US, not just NE Wisconsin.

Today’s post presents a basic overview of growth hacking. Future posts in this series will examine application of growth hacking to civic hacks.

Growth hacking is defined by Wikipedia thusly:
Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. It can be seen as part of the online marketing ecosystem, as in many cases growth hackers are using techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing. Growth hackers focus on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. utilizing social media and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television. Growth hacking is particularly important for startups, as it allows for a "lean" launch that focuses on "growth first, budgets second.” Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Airbnb and Dropbox are all companies that use growth hacking techniques.”
OK, you’ve got the short Wikipedia definition of growth hacking. Now let’s look a bit deeper into what growth hacking is, as laid out in the post “10 Important Things about Growth Hacking You Won’t Find in Wikipedia.” Read the article to get the full understanding, but the five points that I liked best were:

  1. Growth Hacking Is a Mindset.
  2. Growth Hackers Know the Difference between Traction and Growth.
  3. They Think out of the Box but Understand That Most Growth Hacks Have a Short Lifecycle.
  4. They Use Their Users’ Emotions and Psychology to Reach Their Goals.
  5. They Spend Countless Hours to Capture Events and Watch Their Data.

Three initial takeaways from the author’s ten points are (1) we should consider building analytics and regular reporting into our civic hacks so we know how often they’re being used and how we can improve them, (2) the NE Wisconsin civic hacking community needs a growth hacking team, and (3) we need to identify future civic hacks that have the potential for large user bases (i.e. identify an opportunity where growth hacking can be successful).

Civic hacking particularly needs growth hacking because:

  • Most people in the target audience for civic hacks have never heard of civic hacks.
  • Marketing budgets for civic hacks are pretty much nonexistent.
  • Civic hackers aren’t (usually) being paid to develop, maintain or improve civic hacks.
  • People sometimes work on a specific civic hack because it’s of high interest to them, not because the hack will have a large user base or solve what others think is a significant problem.
  • Civic hack UI/UX (user interface/user experience) is generally less-than-great because not many designers are civic hackers and not many coders are UI/UX ninjas.
  • Many government officials, administrators and workers don’t know what civic hacking is or don’t like it because it requires change.

We have a couple functional civic hacks in NE Wisconsin now; “Is It Recycling Week?” Android app, “Is It Recycling Week?” Pebble smartwatch app, and the “Is It Recycling Week?” web / browser version. Next we need to build a community of early users or testers, refine the apps so they're robust and have a proven effective UX, then have a growth hacking team develop a growing user base for these hacks.

As mentioned earlier in this post, we need to differentiate between traction and growth. Our first step is to develop traction and refine the products. That necessarily comes before growth hacking.

If you want to be an early user or tester for these civic hacks, please click on the link(s) above and test them for your address. Encourage people you know to try out these civic hacks. Then give us feedback on your experience, including problems you experienced and suggestions for improvements.

If you want to work on civic hacking by being a growth hacker, please contact Bob Waldron at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com. We should start planning a growth hacking strategy as soon as possible, both for these hacks and for future NE Wisconsin civic hacks.


No comments:

Post a Comment