How can something disastrous to your health and expensive like narcotics have such a huge following? Through uncomplicated and effective growth hacking. Here are three things you can learn from the marketing environment for drugs.
Eliminate Options - Drug dealers can't run SuperBowl ads to promote their product. A commercial for 'coke' following an ad for Coke would definitely be a sign of the apocalypse (well, that and the sky falling). Further, from what I'm told and see in various movies, drug dealers only take cash and usually a briefcase is involved to either exchange the product or the funds. Clearly this is a disadvantage to their marketing strategy. Right?
Wrong. By having limited options these businesses become masters of what they can do to get their product out and get their product promoted. You have marketing limitations too - budget, know-how, time and resources. Instead of bemoaning what you can't do, focus on what you can do and do it well. Don't understand SEO marketing very well? Either learn it, pay someone who knows it or forget it and focus on marketing your product another way. Ask yourself this simple question 'how do I get customers?' in 100 words or less. Then, focus your effort on the answer to that question. It is hard for any business to be masters of all the different marketing tactics available. Pick your battles and master them.
Hit The Road - Drug dealers know where their customers are. They know which neighborhoods, time of day and people to discuss their product with. Sadly and tragically, many people probably go to them for repeat business (inbound marketing is all the rage these days after all), but they hit the road and make sure they are visible in places they need to be.
Digital marketing is important, but if you really want to reach someone don't send them an email or a Tweet. Anyone and everyone does that. Take the extra step of showing up or being personal about how you reach out to them. It's amazing, but the response rates of when you talk directly to a person face-to-face are through the roof! Whenever you say 'hi' to someone on the street they automatically say 'hi' back or at least give you a smile (unless you're in New York). If visiting your potential customers isn't logistically possible then at least try to recruit them to your stable by being personal in how you market to them. I can assure you they haven't been waiting weeks for your unsolicited and impersonal webinar email invite to come in their inbox. Be as direct and personal as possible.
Offer Trials - Dealers understand that the more you give the more you get. They are quite confident that their product will serve whatever need their target customer has for it. Dealers usually offer deep discounts to first-timers and new customers to try their products out. They know that you'll come back and bring friends.
As growth hacker you need to give first. You know what benefit your product has to your potential customers and how it can solve their problems, but the world is full of snake-oil salespeople and things that are too good to be true probably are. That's why new customers are apprehensive to invest time in hearing what you or your product can offer them. You can remove some of that fear by letting them try your product and give them all the tools, support and help needed for them to be successful with it.
Drug dealers sell their products in up and down economies because of savvy marketing tactics. Their products are dangerous and hazardous to your health, but it doesn't stop them from successfully selling on a tight budget.
Something all great growth hackers do.
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