Al Gore Invented Growth Hacking

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When I asked Eric Ries why it took technologists over 100 years to discover what direct response marketers figured out in the 1800’s, he responded, “Because Technologists are stubborn.”

If you ever wondered who invented coupons and why, it’s no secret. Claude Hopkins was a door to door salesman who wanted to TRACK whether which of his offers worked best. So, he decided to offer a unique offer to a set amount of homes, and compare the results. He ended up laying the groundwork for measuring marketing, and evangelizing the idea of testing your concept for cheap, iterating quickly, and letting the marketplace tell you what they really want.

Comes along David Ogilvy and he brings it to the next level, basically inventing the Advertising Agency and arguably responsible for more sales than any other person in the history of the world.

Enter Lean Startup and Growth Hacking, and a bunch of engineers finally realized that they should be testing everything, and recognizing their customers are their best media, and super-platforms enable a new world of products that leverage human nature and engineering to bring growth that the world has never seen.

The simple truth is though, The best marketers on the planet don’t own agencies, and don’t work for other people. They build their own information marketing empires and/or products. They are entrepreneurs, guns that aren’t for hire.

No matter how good of a programmer you are, or how likely you are to figure out how to leverage someone else’s audience, the simple truths remain.
1. Human Nature Dictates All Action. Emotion is the trigger that motivated behavior, and this has never and will never change.
2. Marketing is about understanding what your target consumer needs on an emotional level, creating that product (yes, marketing is product, not distribution. I repeat, your product is the core of your marketing.) needing that emotional need, and delivering on that promise.
3. Logical decisions follow emotional ones, and your job as a marketer is to satisfy both the logical justification for purchasing, and the emotional need that drives the decision.
4. Technologists are stubborn elitists who would rather take the few that understand marketing and INVENT a title like Growth Hacker, instead of realizing that the fundamentals of Growth Hacking, like Joint Venture Partnerships, Starbucks in Barnes and Nobles, Sharing Lists, even advertising in someone elses magazine are all forms of leveraging someone elses audience for your own needs… Using technology to accomplish this is simply, the most efficient execution of this today, but it is nothing new… More importantly, the best marketers that truly understand human nature, folks like Dan Kennedy, John Carlton, and others could identify audiences to growth hack, and hire programmers to implement in their sleep… but very few engineers can figure out what they know about human nature, not without 25 years of direct response copywriting experience…

So long as you insist on using terms like Growth Hacker, us marketers must insist that Al Gore invented Growth Hacking.

P.S. I never wrote a line of a code in my life, and have been using technology to prospect and market since I was logging onto BBS in the early nineties while in grade school.(simple example, 7 years ago I had a script written that scraped craigslist car listings and send offers to people to buy their cars for a client of mine that buys cars…I didn’t know a thing about programming, all I knew was that my audience was there, and if I could break it down into a process, I could automate it.)

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

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