Sérgio Tavares, ph.D. // March 13 2019

Helsinki’s Busiest People are Craving for Growth (Hacking)

Eat your breakfast! Digitalist’s Growth Hacking breakfast full house has shown how C-Level executives, heads of business units and marketing managers are eager to learn how to profit from testing and experimentation processes

Digitalist hosted a Power Breakfast on Growth Hacking in Helsinki last week. Our guests were pioneers in their companies and industries on bringing a growth mindset – even years before it was called growth hacking. I ran through a number of different companies, contacts, friends and navigating through my rolodex to find the perfect-fit people. I did not want to ask speakers from “born-global”, ultra-lean startups. I wanted people who were at the front before it was easy to understand growth, monthly recurring revenue and beta experimentation. So after a lot of calls, meetings and planning, our shortlist came through. And it was awesome.

Transforming a tough, stubborn and billion-rich industry

Teemu Lehtinen, from KiraDIGI, has spoken in our events before, so I was confident I could get him to talk in the event without much hassle – the challenge was then, to make agendas work. I have sent him the invitation, and we discussed all details from beginning to end (including the slide exchange) on the phone, through the LinkedIn chat.

KiraDIGI has performed over 200 experiments, using the new traditional model of angel investing. The experiments vary in length, impact and area, although all of them revolve around ways of building and living. KiraDIGI has released, for example, an experimental project with IoT sensors and AI to determine when it is safe to start finishing concrete surfaces. Or, for instance, the partnership with a Finnish startup who wants to automate how we clean building facades – safer, automated, and with the participation of charismatic little robots.

What fascinates me about Teemu’s work is that everything is labeled under the badge of “experiments”. And that’s exactly how we think about new ideas, innovations and growth efforts, too. Whatever implementation is built, it is a guessing game that for long has been overlooked or taken as the norm. But not anymore. We are able to build, measure and learn in fast pace – and discontinue whatever doesn’t look promising. “I can’t stay for lunch, though”, he said to me when we closed the agreement. “I’m picking up my brand new Tesla from the shop”. I was asking to go along with him (because, why not, right?), but nevertheless – we made it all work.

Streaming before it was cool

Another forerunner in the game of “doing it before it was cool” is Sanna Reunanen, from Viaplay group, a big Scandinavian entertainment group, managing rights for films, series, sports – and producing their own Nordic content. I met Sanna at the Finnish headquarters of Viaplay, in one of the coldest afternoons of February, a few weeks before our Power Breakfast. While we looked for a vacant room, she arranged her daughter’s horse riding class by phone, swooshed away notifications for her next meeting, and told me a bit of, literally, the history of streaming.

Viaplay has released streaming services and video on-demand as early as 2005, when nearly no other service had streaming services. “People would think that was not legal” she told me when we met at the Finnish Viaplay headquarters on the previous week before the event. “People were not used to pay for that kind of service, much less paying €10 or so for watching multiple movies.”

Today, the scene is different. The competition is global and tough, the use of big screen (as opposed to mobile devices) is on the rise, and migrating from sports to series to movies is one of the goals of the company. “How do you apply growth hacking to all this?” someone asked from the audience at the breakfast event. “You measure everything. Measure, measure, measure; consult with data scientists, understand what works, and take further action based on that”, she replied.

Shuffling the cards – and winning the game

Our third speaker was Toni Ruuska from Posti Group Oyj. We had started the conversation of a possible participation and Toni is one of those guys who are always busy, yet with the drive and grit to participate in something new. “You need to help me with the theme”, he said. I asked for a few things he has done during the year. In Digitalist, we tend to curate ideas, not general truths. So I looked into a few actions that Posti has taken further, and did some reverse engineering. “There’s a story here”, I said. “The way you released something before it was done and ready, going against the establishment in a company that is, what? A hundred years old?”

“Four hundred years old”, he replied. And took that to his presentation – how do you break the lore of 400 years of legacy? The lesson learned was to make it good enough, but not perfect, and “let it out”. First, Toni hid most of the website pages that the general users would not need. They had the homepage redesigned, and noticed how the audience did not engage with it. They redesigned it again – not falling back to the initial state, but pushing further to the new vision. Changing buttons, placement, calls to action and redesigning the pricing page showed how messages need to be tested in the open, with real users using the website in practice – and the benefits correlate to a number of metrics. With the new design, conversions went from from 2% to 42%. Traffic was up 10%. NPS up 107%.

Among the skeptics, the marketing department had to come to terms and recognize “this campaign had the third best CTR in Posti’s Facebook advertising history. Only one recruitment campaign and one retargeted campaign have ever exceeded that”, they stated.

What have we learned?

The learning in our events never happens only at the stage. The attendance was higher than we expected, and having a full house did raise questions – what is the profile of the audience that is so eager to learn about Growth Hacking? The answer to that is diffuse, but also enlightening. Over 15% of the enrolled people were in C-level, another 10% were head of a business unit, and over 30% were on senior specialy levels in marketing and design. About half of the companies were big companies, ranging from travel, financials, telecommunications and other key players. And equally, small and medium companies and entrepreneurs were welcome to hear more about how growth hacking is done by us and by industry people.

Digitalist’s Growth Hackbox

Our audience also learned Nine Hacks to Live By, which are our essential behavioural hacks to learn about your audience and grow sustainably. Those include ways of playing with time, space, price and attrition in order to gain engagement, increase revenue and customer lifetime value. It’s a hackbox worth checking. The book will be released later this month – you will also be able to learn the hacks yourself, and plus other hacks composing our 12 hacks essentials. It’s a must have!

In the meantime, please check out the presentations from the event, you can find them HERE!

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