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AR as the Weapon in a Growth Hacker Marketing War

What is the difference between a ‘Growth Hacker’ and a traditional marketer?

Growth hackers choose growth over sleep. Sleep is for the weak.

Just joking… or not? Growth hackers and marketers use the same marketing tools, yet the first put their bets on technological solutions. Apart from that, growth hackers work with the whole sales funnel, and they aim to push as many potential users into (and most importantly through) the funnel as possible. Take note: growth hackers push – not pull clients, as they are often time and budget constrained. And above all else, growth hackers are concentrated and focused only on leveling up when it comes to sales, not vanity metrics like impressions and ‘likes’. You could say that boosting sales is the top priority for traditional marketers, as well… but for growth hackers, fast growth is more than words, it’s their religion. That is why the best growth hacking marketing strategies are ultra-creative, analytical by design, and technological to their core.

So what is growth hacking today?

It’s working with the whole sales funnel – leading a client from the awareness stage all the way down to the conversion or decision-making stage. And then attracting this client back to the product or service after some time. That’s the core of ‘hacking’ marketing and businesses as a whole – getting new customers into the business and then keeping them coming back.

In this article, I’ll walk through some of the different stages of a sales funnel from the perspective of a growth hacker and the way that AR apps, specifically, can be utilized within these stages.

AWARENESS STAGE

Awareness tactics have undergone a major transformation in the digital age. No more irritating billboards and dazzling pop-ups. Modern customers have a strong resistance to all the types of ads these days, so marketers are forced to employ a more subtle strategy to hook clients.

Growth marketers focus their efforts on attracting the maximum number of potential customers into the first stage of the funnel, instead of working only with the prospects who are already interested. Unlike more traditional marketers who favor known outcomes over experimentation, growth hackers are not afraid to work in challenging and ambiguous circumstances. It’s getting harder and harder to get through the white noise and static of ads, and only the craziest people (growth hackers are not afraid of being called “crazy”) can take the risks necessary to win new prospects at the awareness stage using some creative and often non-traditional approaches.  A growth hacker wants a customer to fall down the rabbit hole, aka into their sales funnel, without even noticing it, often by opening a viral e-mail, using a new feature on their platform or launching an augmented reality application (which is the perfect tool when you’re looking to make something go viral).

‘Going viral’ is the ultimate goal of growth hacking. And the good news is that virality can be planned in advance, and encouraged, often without people realizing… like with the use of augmented reality applications for example.

 

Virality is a mania that sweeps over the Internet. With the right content, something just clicks inside of a user’s mind and voila – they start sharing content at the speed of light. For example, a weird cat video can almost instantly get millions of views online if it hits the right target audience.  An experienced growth marketer can use augmented reality apps to help their content go viral and make the jump from obscure to universal. Virality, when used strategically, is something that can increase brand exposure in the market and spread information about a company really, really fast.

Augmented reality applications are can be more powerful than viruses, because they can spread faster, further and entirely online.

Just remember Pokemon Go which attracted 21 million users (the majority of which were sober adults) all over the world! Restaurants, hotels, even schools took advantage of the Pokemon Go hysteria and used the opportunity to level up their sales within several weeks! For instance, the manager of Bremerton Bar & Grill realized that late evening customers were coming for pokemon, not for their tasty steaks. That’s why they bought Pokemon lures and added them to pokestops.

Then the restaurant went further: they began dropping lures constantly and advertising on Facebook as well! That’s what I call riding the wave of virality.

Augmented reality applications can’t help but grab a users’ attention: they are interactive, engaging and emotional. They create the illusion of pure magic in a sea of otherwise boring experiences in people’s lives. Thousands of restaurants took the opportunity that comes from the potential of AR apps to go viral, and attracted numerous new customers in the process. The manager of Bremerton Bar & Grill admitted that each customer who came to catch a Pokemon, ended up eating or drinking something while they were there.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

For a growth marketer, the consideration stage is an “all or nothing” game.

At this stage, a company must provoke genuine interest, garner some affection, and grab the attention of their prospective client for at least some time. That means it has to hook a potential client with something unique, bright, and memorable. Or else lose that customer… forever.

Hooking customers at the consideration stage is as difficult as making a good impression on your future in-laws. However, at this stage, a prospective client is at least aware of the fact that they’re considering buying a product. They just don’t know yet exactly what kind of product they need, or the company they want to buy it from. Most companies look so similar.  Just ask Coca-Cola and Pepsi, or Apple and Samsung. They know exactly how hard it is to survive in a world of eternal competition.

AR applications give clients a chance to interact with goods or services that they are about to buy, without the discomfort of going to the shop or listening to an obvious sales pitch… for example.

Using AR you can approach different aspects that could use when selling your product such as: consulting your potential customers, letting them try on your product (whether it’s a new watch or a fountain for his garden, it doesn’t matter in AR), telling the story of your brand and giving a user the chance to “live” it. “Storyliving” has become a huge trend in the latest arsenals of marketing techniques. And how could you achieve it better than inviting a person into your environment and letting them explore it?

For example, L’Oreal’s app gave their clients something they need desperately – the chance to try cosmetics on before buying them. 20M downloads of the app prove it was one of the most persuasive examples of growth hacking so far.

 

More than that, L’Oreal gave users the possibility to share photos on Facebook, allowing them actually invest in the uninvestable – word of mouth marketing! Anything to make people share and help a brand’s message go viral is a success in today’s growth hacking world!

Thom Cook, a UK based tour operator gave their clients an opportunity to preview the places they were about to visit. And travelers went mad about this app! It led to a major leveling up in their sales and an increase in their overall customer satisfaction rate.

Engage while your customers are still considering their options, and work to answer as many questions as they have at this stage. You can consider it a success when your customers come to buy from you and already know how relevant you are, all about your product line, and what they can expect from it in the future.

DECISION MAKING STAGE

Augmented reality applications are priceless for retailers because they offer an irresistible instant “buy” option. When the purchase decision is so close and so tempting, it’s difficult to resist it. It should motivate the client to make a purchase while they are is still inside the application.

MakeUp Genius from L’Oreal, the application we discussed above, is really convenient for users because they can buy all the cosmetics featured there in one simple click. The engagement here is so natural that the buyer won’t even notice when they’re checking whether or not their card balance is enough to cover everything they want to purchase.

This is actually a great example of exactly one of the tricks that every experienced growth hacker is always hunting for – streamlining their process and making it so smooth and seamless that your customer won’t even notice they’re being dragged down the funnel, with so much engagement and entertainment and value being given along the way that even if they did notice they wouldn’t care.

RETENTION

There is one more difference between a growth hacker and a traditional marketer that I almost forgot to mention. Growth hackers built out more elaborate and creative growth marketing strategies and generally set more complex long-term goals. They are by their nature suspicious of simple solutions.

For most businesses, upsales are their main revenue source – not the initial offerings people initially sign up for or buy. We all know that attracting new customer is crucial for every business out there, but I absolutely cannot overemphasize the importance of keeping your customers with you – no matter what. One example of that highest of goals is exercising efficient customer retention through your app. Attracting and selling is not enough. Customers and clients should feel a genuine need in your product, and implementing an AR solution is one way to almost guarantee that happens. The value and emotions it evokes are literally hardcoded in.

Today people typically uninstall an app after just a few days, for all sorts of different reasons. That’s one of the biggest problems with mobile apps, overall. You work so hard to get them on a user’s phone and then they go and delete your hard work a few days later!

But there is a way around this problem… for AR apps. It’s possible to update content regularly, adding new goods from a catalog, new features and even new games built into the overall application.  Whatever you might say about gamification, it’s still a trendy trend and it can easily be implemented into any loyalty program.

For instance, virtual stores, like this one, created for an electronics retailer, are literally infinite. That means that products can be regularly added to the virtual catalog to keep customers engaged and coming back for more, over and over again. The entertainment element is a huge plus for retention and recall. When they remember you, they come back! It’s as simple as that. And in the virtual store linked above, customers can watch how a virtual juicer makes fresh, virtual, orange juice. And trust me, that’s pretty memorable when you’re the first store to do it!

A shopping mall can create an interactive AR app with a map of all their boutiques, stands that come alive, and intriguing quests to help push you through the building and make sure you visit every corner. Through this app, a customer will receive information about discounts and a promo code, motivating them to go to the mall with their kids. And, because the content gets refreshed, they won’t be uninstalling it after 3 days. In the fight for on-device real estate, anything that would make your customers keep an app for more than just a one-time use, followed by a swift uninstall, is worth a shot.

There is one last huge difference between growth hackers and traditional marketers that I need to mention. Growth hackers are real trendsetters. They are not satisfied with what the world has to offer them right now. Instead they are always on the hunt for new approaches and new solutions. Augmented reality and its use for putting your marketing and sales on steroids is an important trend today, and so the technology becomes a sort of lab for all kinds of crazy experiments, whether they be with Pokemon, time machines, or unicorns. Quite literally, anything that you can dream up is possible in AR. And so, the growth hacking strategies that go along with them are truly limitless.

In the end of the day, it’s all about the relationship that you, as a brand, build with your customers. BAMF founder and growth hacking evangelist Josh Fetcher know this cold. He places the right relationships at the center of a growth hackers’ world. Win their hearts, help them choose you, walk them through this experience, and stay close for years to come.

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