IMAGE : Olivier Rousteing – Directeur artistique Balmain
SOURCE: FORBES – GREG PETRO – MAY, 06, 2016
If you’re in tune with what’s going on in the world of tech startups, you’ve likely heard the phrase “growth hacking.” The phrase, coined in 2012 by Silicon Valley veteran Sean Ellis, refers to a way of marketing a business or product that attracts a massive following of fans and customers without spending a fortune on traditional marketing strategies.
When the phrase first started gaining traction among tech marketers, growth hacking was generally seen as something that software or e-commerce companies did. As we’ll see, growth hackers are very scientific in the way they approach marketing. They only care about growth that is measurable and provides useful data.
Today, luxury fashion companies like Balmain and Spring are adopting some core growth hacking strategies to give them an edge. Seasoned investors know the luxury market can be fickle, but looking for companies that are on the cutting edge of digital marketing could be a great way to separate the winners from the rest of the pack.
The keys to growth hacking
Before we get into specific examples, it’s useful to know some of the core concepts of growth hacking. Naturally, each company’s product/service is different, so specific tactics that work for one business may be useless to another. Regardless, growth hacking has brought some key points into focus for marketers in all industries today. Here are a few of the most important:
- Product/market fit. The traditional means of product development is to spend months or years developing an offering behind closed doors, then launching it with one big push. The problem is these launches end up losing the company money because, while the product was spending a year or so in development, the market may have moved on. Growth hackers, on the other hand, start with a minimum viable product and get it out to potential customers as soon as possible. This allows them to see if there is a market for it, and early adopters can provide useful feedback about features that can be included with future iterations.
- Eschew traditional marketing. Growth hackers don’t go for TV commercials, billboards and other mass marketing channels because they are extremely expensive and they don’t allow for precise measurement of results. Growth hackers widen the definition of marketing to include things like PR stunts, shows and anything else that gets a lot of attention on social and legacy media without costing a fortune.
- Data is king. To that end, these low-cost campaigns must stand the test of social graphs, SEO rankings, A/B testing and other data-based metrics – these are the tools of the growth hacker.
Now we’ll look at how two well-known luxury fashion companies are applying these principles.
Balmain combines product/market fit with savvy social marketing
According to a profile in GQ, Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing knew that the products he helped design for Balmain had a unique look that would catch on with luxury-seeking consumers. main combines product/market fit with savvy social marketing
But he was also keenly aware that in the world of fashion, if you don’t have a relationship with your fans that gives you prime visibility, people will move on to the next thing.
Rousteing made a gamble in 2012 that Instagram would become a key social channel, and that bet paid off. He started taking ridiculous pictures of himself while wearing the clothes he designed, and his gregariousness boosted his profile significantly, with Balmain’s rising in step.