I recently had a “talk ’em off the ledge” conversation with a young friend who has just passed the half-year mark with a big-city PR firm. She had targeted this particular firm because its focus and client mix mirrored what she had been passionate about in college, and she dove in with enthusiasm.
But, as those of us who have “been around the block” a few times know so well, nothing’s perfect, especially when it comes to working for a living, which I’ve talked about before.
I’m hanging out in a local mall writing this while my wife has a session with her acupuncturist a couple of miles away. I’m fascinated as I sit here watching folks mosey by with no apparent purpose other than to mosey. “How do they do that?”
I’m also reminded of a somewhat terrifying, ultimately rewarding, experience I had as a college sophomore. I had transferred to a junior college closer to home after a less-than-stellar year at Auburn University to which I had ventured fully intending to become the world’s greatest civil engineer. Instead, I:
*Set a new personal low in grade achievement
*Partied my brains out
*Fine-tuned my pool shooting skills
*Not so much on the academic side of the river, however
There is a dangerous idea being shared in marketing, community management, and start-up circles in San Francisco – “Growth Hacking.”
According to Neil Patel, the history of the term comes from a successful Silicon Valley executive who helped organizations achieve substantial growth specifically in acquiring a user base. However, this version of the story neglects to mention the long-term life-cycle of the companies and how complex successful communications programs really are.
There is no mention of whether this style of growth worked for the organizations to really achieve what they’re looking for. There is no mention of which specific companies have employed this approach successfully, nor analysis of the return on investment, customer retention, or perception data.
The term seems to be applied as an umbrella for a range of Internet skills and tools, from social media engagement, to measuring site traffic, to content site partnerships. Using social media and Internet tools to amass a huge user base can create as many problems as it solves, because engaging with lots of people means more stake-holders, each of whom bring their own expectations to the table.