The future of marketing is AI growth marketing, combining “growth hacking” and AI.
Harry’s, a razor brand, collected 100,000 emails in seven days through a viral campaign.
Incorporating classic elements of virality like referrals and gamification, the campaign spread fast across social media as early users jostled to get access to enticing freebies.
The 100,000 emails Harry’s collected were the backbone of their early success in 2013.
Here’s how you can implement AI growth marketing:
What Harry’s did was an early example of what’s become known as growth marketing. Sean Ellis, the founder of GrowthHackers, coined the term “growth hacking” in 2010.
Growth hacking and growth marketing both describe a set of scrappy, efficient marketing techniques that allow companies to grow fast on a budget.
Growth marketers rely on creative “guerilla marketing” tactics. They constantly experiment with different ways to achieve growth. Growth marketing often means building virality into the product itself from the start in order to grow without a marketing budget.
Paid advertising may be used, but ads will often include a mechanism for customer acquisition to become self-funded by selling low-cost “tripwire” products within the ads.
Since the Harry’s example in 2013, growth marketing has come a long way. “Growth marketing strategist” is now a common job description at fast-growth companies.
Growth marketing techniques have been used to impressive effect in recent years by companies like Glossier and Lemlist.
Today, as AI and machine learning impact every aspect of marketing, growth hacking is adapting fast.
What Is AI Growth Marketing?
When artificial intelligence tools are applied to growth marketing practices—that’s AI growth marketing.
A few examples:
“Tripwire marketing” is a common growth hacking strategy.
With this technique, low-cost products are promoted via paid advertising. Profit from the product sales is used to cover the ad costs and expand the campaign, accelerating growth.
Strategies like this are more likely to succeed with AI. Artificial intelligence-powered tools can generate high-performance ad creative while quickly creating dozens of ad variants to A/B test.
Virality is another classic growth hack.
How can AI help you go viral? To a certain extent, virality is a numbers game. By using AI tools to increase your content production, your chances of a viral hit increase.
Meanwhile, AI analytics help you quickly determine which content is most likely to go viral. For example, Buzzfeed uses machine learning to quickly identify which of their hundreds of pieces of weekly content are most likely to go viral.
AI is also making it easier and faster to create viral visual content.
Take for example, PhotoRoom. PhotoRoom lets you quickly take a photo of any object, remove the background, edit it, and put it in a completely different environment using generative AI.
Runway lets you apply advanced video effects and motion tracking quickly with AI, helping speed up video production and create more viral hits.
With just a couple of the many AI tools available, marketing teams (and even solo founders) have access to viral growth possibilities that were once restricted to companies with massive budgets.
Using AI to Build Virality Into a Product
When generative AI tools like DALL·E 2 and Stable Diffusion were released, a wave of generative AI products emerged.
Many of these tools baked virality into the product design—and in doing so, followed a classic growth marketing strategy.
AvatarAI.me is one such example. Solo entrepreneur Pieter Levels developed AvatarAI.me in 2022 as a way to render dozens of AI-generated avatars based on photos uploaded by the user.
Users rushed to get AI avatars of themselves and shared them on social media. The product quickly became a viral hit, with $100,000 in sales in the first 10 days.
With the wealth of personalization options available with today’s generative AI technology, there’s an endless supply of novel ways to engage users and create viral content.
Designing an AI Growth Hacking Campaign
AI impacts the entire life cycle of your growth marketing campaign: research, content creation, analysis, and optimization.
As with any campaign, start by understanding your target audience.
AI can make this easier in a few ways.
In the research and setup stage, use machine learning for customer targeting and to build customer personas. Delve.ai generates customer personas using data like customer surveys, focus groups, call logs, emails, website data, social media, and CRM records.
You can also use competitor data to predict product-market fit using Kaggle or Google Datasets.
Then, it’s time to predict revenue. Machine learning can predict the value of customers based on behavior, gender, income, employment status, and location. Obviously.ai creates predictive models in just minutes based on raw data, allowing you to make an educated guess as to whether your campaign will be profitable.
Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your campaign, it’s time to get creative.
With growth marketing, it’s crucial to maximize your return from each investment of time and resources. That makes copywriting incredibly important, since it has a direct impact on conversions and sales.
Incorporating AI into your copywriting process helps you create more content faster while improving quality by allowing human marketers to focus on higher-level strategic tasks.
AI offers a vast array of creative possibilities, from never-before-seen generative images to mind-bending AI-assisted videos. You can quickly generate videos based on simple text inputs, dramatically decreasing the time needed to go from brainstorming to publishing.
Whether for ads or organic, lean into the latest possibilities of AI to get the most mileage out of your content.
Analysis and Optimization
Once your growth hacking campaign is running, AI can help you optimize it and decide where to allocate your resources.
If you’re running ads, many AI functions are platform-native. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft use machine learning to optimize your bidding and show the best-performing version of each ad.
Third party tools like Lucrative.ai analyze the entire landscape of your marketing campaigns, cross reference them with CRM data, and find wasted ad spend. Machine learning can also help with growth by predicting when customers are likely to churn, allowing you to take action in advance.
The Future of Growth Hacking and AI
In the early 2010s, growth marketing tactics often focused on finding creative, cheap ways to go viral.
While that’s still an element of today’s growth marketing, the landscape of what’s possible has expanded. With the advent of accessible AI marketing tools, growth-enabling AI technologies are available to even the smallest companies. And there are many paths to success.
With nothing more than Stable Diffusion knowledge and a Stripe account, you can create a product that becomes a viral sensation.
With generative AI tools, you can create highly shareable image and video assets that power customer acquisition.
With AI-powered predictive modeling, you can understand your customers and your path to profitability like never before.
The fundamentals of growth marketing are the same.
But AI is fundamentally pushing the limits of what’s possible moving forward.