What is Growth Hacking? Our UK Managing Director explains

When our UK Managing Director, Supriya Dev-Purkaystha, first joined Pulse, we asked her questions about how she found out about Pulse, how she was intrigued by the work we were doing, and key topics within the industry today.

What first attracted you to Pulse and influencer marketing?

That is a great question and one that many people have asked me, citing “it’s very different”. I’ll be completely honest: It wasn’t something that I intentionally did, it was an opportunity that I was fortunate enough to land upon. When I consider roles, there are a few things I look at - Am I interested in and believe in the product? What's the company like? Can I work with the team? Can I utilise my skills? Will there be something new to add to my skills set? And this role gives me all of that.

I looked into Pulse and I understood the amazing journey that Pulse has been on, ´I was intrigued and eager to learn more from the two co-founders Lara and Chris. 

Influencer marketing itself, and social-first marketing as a whole, starts with an audience-first approach, something which I am very passionate about. In addition, there is the creative aspect to the strategy which is new, and gives me an opportunity to learn more about how to incorporate that into building a campaign. 

I am very excited about being at Pulse, and diving into the world of influencer marketing and beyond.


Should all agencies have a social-first mindset in the way they work?

Social-first has been an interesting one for me because if you look at the new generation of buyers, Gen Z, they are all about social. If you look at the innovations that are happening, especially if you look at the innovations that have happened in the APAC market, they are predominantly social first. 

We as consumers are using social for research, we’re using social for news. I don’t look at news websites anymore because I find them too depressing. I know that anything important to my immediate community, whether that be professionally or socially, I will find out from either my Facebook friends, my Instagram feed or my LinkedIn network. So, it’s a really good source of relevant information for me. Of course if there are certain topics missed, I can always rely on my husband to raise my awareness of it and then I will independently research. 
In addition to research and news,  when you’re looking for inspiration you’ll go to a social platform. When you are looking for entertainment you’ll go to a social platform. 

Social media has become so ingrained in our day to day that you really can’t avoid it, especially as a marketeer. Therefore, social is the place to be and what Pulse Advertising does is on the cutting edge of that, and I really wanted to be at a cutting edge agency.


What is growth hacking?

Growth hacking as coined by Sean Ellis in 2010 is a term used to collectively describe process, tactics and the methodologies that individuals use to rapidly grow their business. Now, there are two sides to this, both from an advertising/marketing only perspective as well as from a holistic business perspective. 

I didn’t actually realise that what I was doing was classified as growth hacking. I was simply looking at how to bring in new customers into the business, once in, how to retain those customers and also how to develop processes to ensure that we continuously grow and optimize the business itself, profitably.


So, what were the ways in which you used growth hacking?

My background is a mixture of new business development, client services and partnerships. Early on in my career, one of the biggest frustrations I had was, spending time and effort to bring in clients, but then after twelve months they would leave (for various different reasons). So I started asking myself  how to resolve these questions like “how do we keep this client more sticky, how do we get them to invest more”. 

In the digital marketing world, new things were happening, so I started by cross-selling and up-selling our clients. If we were in one market doing PPC, for example, we would consider if there are other markets we could manage for them too, or provide them with SEO or display form of advertising. By looking at how we could ensure that a client trusted us and also invested more with us, that stickiness was even greater. 

As is the case with all growing companies, it's important to keep innovating and developing new products/services, and to ensure that our messaging was relevant, we developed and enhanced our  go-to market strategy. Marketing was a major part of the go-to market strategies as well as networking, developing partnerships and working with our partners so that we were at the forefront of everyone's minds. 

With my client services hat on, I focused on the needs of the client, giving them a better experience, as well as hypothesising and testing new channels and strategies to deliver more customers. All of which helped grow and nurture our client portfolio.

If we think about growth hacking purely from a digital marketing perspective, it's the same concept, just limited to the marketing component. As we grew as a business, so did our footprint alongside our products and services which enabled us to win more scope from clients. With more scope under our belts,  we had more of the digital consumer funnel under our control. We had more touchpoints with the digital consumer of our clients which meant that we were able to have control over that customer journey, understand the different channels and the role they played in that customer journey from brand awareness to consideration to purchase.

We could hypothesise, test and learn to identify which channels were performing better and at what part of that journey, and therefore efficiently acquire more customers, sales and revenues for our clients.

What other areas of digital marketing interest you?

Another area of digital marketing that I’ve been really interested in is audience-first marketing, which starts with understanding the audience themselves and the media that they consume. Answering questions such as What are they doing when they are consuming that media? What are their interests? What are their buying patterns? What are their purchase drivers? It comes down to really understanding what the audience wants, needs and expects.

Once we understand who is the right consumer, what is the right message, and what is the right format, we can then focus our advertising efforts on the media where they will be the most engaged.

This matching of audiences to brands and products they want and the media they consume will deliver much more efficient use of the media, and that in itself will deliver results.

What is the importance of audience-first marketing?

Many businesses and marketers have previously focused on reach and frequency strategies to hopefully connect with their customers. Of course, if you spend a considerable budget across popular sites eventually you will start to see a return which can then be optimised, but this results in a lot of media wastage and can come across as irrelevant and inauthentic advertising.

With audience-first marketing the customer is at the heart of the strategy. Meaning you have identified your customer and the messaging that is going to resonate with them and most importantly, where they will be receptive to your message. 

You are starting from a more optimized position where the creative will be tailored to your audience and the strategy makes more efficient use of the media.

This will help you build highly tailored media plans, where the platform(s) you activate on will have an abundance of reach for your target audience, resulting in better buying results from paid media. Then finally if you know what they respond to in terms of call to actions, then you are going to elicit the response that you want. If that is an engagement with a creative then you should get better engagement metrics, if that is for them to go to the site and actually purchase the product then you should see improved conversion rates. 
Audience-first marketing is a more effective, responsible way of marketing that avoids media wastage, creates authentic connections with consumers, and delivers efficient growth for a brand.