When and how did you discover Growth Hacking?
It’s been quite a while that I’ve been dealing with Growth Hacking maybe not necessarily using the term “Growth Hacking”, but the same concept, attitude and techniques. The term Growth Hacking has been used by marketing professionals for over 5 years now. The most famous Growth Hacking story is Airbnb and how they rapidly increased their listings off Craigslist users, starting from San Francisco Bay Area.
Did you have any previous experience as “traditional marketer”? if yes, which kind of previous experience?
I received my bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering and I hold an International MBA from Bologna Business School, University of Bologna. My MBA was then followed by an internship at Automobili Lamborghini where I was part of the marketing team in the after-sales department. My career in business/marketing consulting expands from the Middle East to Europe to the US. I have been working with international clients in different industries such as Cybersecurity, Green and Sustainable Energy, Smart Cities, Fashion and Luxury Goods, etc. from New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Rome, Brescia, Tel Aviv, etc.
Tell us more about your current roles within Bologna Business School and The Armin Bar Inc.?
I started as a tutor at Bologna Business School in 2012 and have been lecturing there for different courses ever since. My last lecture there was on Growth Hacking and for the Executive Master in Digital Business. I would like take this opportunity to acknowledge a great friend and business man, Prof. Riccardo Silvi, one of the top Business Analytics consultants in Europe. I’ve been his student, then assistant and now partner on different projects. He truly adds value to your life, with any conversation. I appreciate our friendship or better to say brotherhood, and all he has helped me with through the years.
I founded The Armin Bar Inc. with a focus on Digital Business Transformation (DBT) and Growth Hacking. DBT is enhancing business activities and processes to fully leverage opportunities of digital technologies, in order to maximize the results of marketing, branding and of course sales. We at The Armin Bar Inc. custom develop, implement then transfer the know-how of DBT and Growth Hacking to our clients through a one-year program (five phases). In turn our clients will see increase in their sales and at the same time have the ability to run the newly developed processes with their internal team. However, we are always available for any additional support during and after the program. We are currently supporting clients in Europe and the US, and our operation is mainly in Rome and New York City.
Also together with two brilliant minds, Ryan Sears and Chris Dail, I am Co-Founder and CMO of SurveySnap in Baltimore, MD. SurveySnap is mobile software specifically designed for professionals in the commercial real estate industry to streamline the process of collecting data in the field and instantly creating standard or custom reports. One example of a Growth Hacking technique we are using, is when users create any report on our platform, a unique www.survey-snap.com/ URL will be associated to that report so when the customers share the report (the URL) with other professionals in the industry, our URL will stand out. This is the same technique that companies like Dropbox have used.
Lastly I’m one of the Business Coaches for the European Commission for the Horizon 2020 program and have assisted companies to achieve steady growth in their revenue between six and seven figures. I have done this through designing and optimizing their online/offline marketing and business strategies using Growth Hacking techniques.
In your opinion, which are the best tools or books for growth hacking?
This is a tough question for me, because there are so many. I guess it depends on your objective(s). There are a lot of tools for Growth Hacking out there. These tools can be used for increasing the traffic on your website, generating new leads, email marketing, inbound marketing & marketing automation, etc. Here are a few of my favorites:
HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. They are the leader in inbound marketing.
Marketo’s powerful marketing automation software helps marketers master the art & science of digital marketing to engage customers and prospects.
Zapier makes it easy to automate tasks between web apps. It is one of the best for your any type of content marketing automation.
Hunter is the easiest way to find professional email addresses. Give a domain name and get the list of all the emails related to it found on the internet.
Crazy Egg is like a pair of x-ray glasses that lets you see exactly what people are doing on your website. Through Crazy Egg’s heat map and scroll map reports you can get an understanding of how your visitors engage with your website so you can boost your conversion.
A great tool for email marketing automation. Schedule as many follow ups as you want. No more time wasted tracking who responds and who doesn’t — they take care of that.
Which is your view on growth hacking, is it true that it can only work with SMEs and not with large companies?
It’s absolutely incorrect to say that Growth Hacking is only for startups and SMEs and not for large corporations, but generally large companies are more conservative though. Product launch in large companies normally means that product management comes up with a new product, engineering builds it and marketing launches it. And of course CFO keeps asking for ROI.
Startups on the other hand do not have a marketing and PR budget so they do not “launch a product”, but rather create the first version then encourage the initial customers to use it and gather feedback. The big companies can also look at a new product/service project as a ‘startup’. This means that the entire internal value chain needs to work closer together and have a more disruptive attitude.
It’s fascinating to me how executives in 800-pound gorillas in different industries are being so conservative and short-term oriented that outsiders can find their way in and beat them at their own game! Well, capitalism doesn’t care about your history in the market and for me this encouraging. I think the Airbnb concept for example should have been started by Marriot or Hilton, and the same story goes for Uber and so on to the other industries. Companies like Google understood this trend so they have created incubators inside their organization to continue their growth. In other words, they try to put themselves out of business before anyone else can get close!!
Do you think growth hacking will catch on also in Italy as it did already in U.S. and UK?
Of course it will. Did inbound marketing or SEO catch on in Italy as it did in the US? Technology doesn’t have any border! We are in the internet era in which companies, regardless of their registered address, have access to the global market. If you don’t react and keep up with how the market behaves, you will lose your customers to those who will.