The future of business is technical. From a marketing perspective, this theoretical strategy, known as “growth hacking” has bounced around Silicon Valley for almost decades with companies such as Dropbox, Zynga, and Instagram leading the way. As more tools are developed and younger generations are saturating the workforce, marketing (and business) as we used to know it is gone forever.

The ‘Don Drapers’ of the world are being replaced with coders and statisticians and their “jingles” now have a character limit. Campaigns that were once developed by high-priced Executives overlooking Madison Avenue, are now done by undergrads performing A/B testing from a co-working space in Middle America.

Nostalgia aside, this is progress. Growth hacking is opening new doors for companies that likely couldn’t have competed otherwise. The fact that some of the early adopters (whose names I mentioned before) have gone on to hit multi-billion-dollar market caps, proves that this new wave of technical Darwinism works.

HR, Accounting, Operations, and Service Departments are next to join marketers in their quest for competitive advantage through technology. MSPs are in a prime position to capitalize on this strategy and hack their way to exponential growth in their local market and beyond.

Fundamentals of growth hacking

The core of the growth hacking strategy is not just in the use of technology, but in the way in which it is used. One of the key components in this strategy is the use of data and analytics for constant optimization, all with the goal of growing margins and reinvesting profits into high growth opportunities. 

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These tactics are most often used by start-ups who are looking to grow a user-base at lightning speed and beat their competition to the lion’s share of their respective market. Some enterprise level companies have even set up internal growth hacking teams consisting of developers, marketers, project managers, and operations personnel. In doing this, their aim is to create a startup like culture within their organization and recreate some of the success stories that have become legendary over the years.

What these companies have in common is that they are all looking to manufacture growth. A “machine” if you will, where capital is injected at one end and profit spits out the other, with a seemingly endless line of customers helping the wheels turn. This type of growth machine rarely exists in the Managed IT industry today, even though providers have all the tools necessary to make it happen.

Why MSPs should growth hack

As a marketer who broke into the industry during the dawn of the new millennium, growth hacking has always been in my blood. However, it wasn’t until I read Ryan Holiday’s Growth Hacker Marketing that I could identify it as a “thing.” When I joined a managed IT Company later in my career, I realized that I could apply this same concept to every phase of a business and did so successfully as Director of Operations for a Top 500 MSP.

What I eventually realized was that business IT is one of the few verticals that is in a unique position to adapt the growth hacking concept to every corner of their business. Having an abundance of technical talent at their disposal, as well as some very robust industry specific tools (like professional service automation platforms), are luxuries that should not be taken for granted.

The truth is, we are on the brink of a price war. It appears as though big technology players are either building a partner program for MSPs or are trying to become one themselves. The one advantage the small market Managed IT companies have right now is speed. They can pivot and adapt to any market condition, unlike the Goliaths that are trying to break in. Staying lean and growth hacking their way forward is the only way to survive.

This is why, after our firm was acquired earlier this year, I co-founded ‘MSP Growth Hacks’, a site dedicated to educating and inspiring MSPs to cultivate profit and identify growth opportunities. With this “Growth Hacking for MSPs” series on SmarterMSP, we will spotlight some of the focus areas that we think MSPs should zero in on to growth hack their business.

Photo:  Sergey Tinyakov / Shutterstock

Kevin Clune

Posted by Kevin Clune

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