How to grow a tech start-up: Facebook marketing vs Trade growth hacker marketing
Sammanfattning: In recent years, the tech start-up scene in Sweden and in the world at large, has gained massive attention as the number of start-ups has increased at a faster rate than ever before. There is a consensus among marketers and academics that growth is essential for tech start-ups in order to survive and to ensure long term success and profitability. Yet, marketers and academics diverge on how this growth shall be achieved and, more specifically, which marketing channels and strategies to put in practice to actually achieve growth. In short, there are three major channels for tech start-ups to employ: traditional marketing (TV ads, radio ads, prints, etc.), social media marketing (e.g. Facebook marketing), and growth hacker marketing. Since its arrival, social media marketing has dominated the field and has been considered the most prominent and effective marketing channel for tech start-ups' growth due to its cost effectiveness and large reach, but in 2010 this perception was put to question when DropBox's former marketer Sean Ellis coined the term growth hacker marketing. Growth hacker marketing is a fairly new marketing strategy in which the objective for a so-called "growth hacker" is to scale a tech start-up, fast, by incentivising users to acquire more users and thus create virality from within the product itself. In this thesis, we wanted to investigate which of social media marketing versus growth hacker marketing that constitutes the most effective path to growth for tech start-ups. Being tech entrepreneurs ourselves having founded the social media app Shoutaway, we conducted a field experiment in which identical ad campaigns ran on Facebook and as a growth hack in the Shoutaway app, and thereafter we measured the effectiveness of the two channels respectively. We defined effectiveness as the reach, number of downloads and CPI generated by each channel. To analyse the results from a theoretical lens, we used the renowned AIDA-model with specific orientation on sender effect, virality effects, divergence originality, signalling theory, Hayley's benefit segmentation and Damasio's theory of psychological buying. The results showed greater reach with social media marketing, but a significantly higher rate of acquired users as well as lower CPI with growth hacker marketing. Our hope is that this thesis shall serve as guidance for tech start-ups in the pursuit of growth.
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