July 6, 2016 · Tips & Insights

Growth Hacking: Find your niche and focus on culture



Two years ago, Airtame was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo. Last week, I wrote about the whirlwind experience and how we quickly learned that listening to your customers and focusing on your brand is critical to long-term success. In today’s post, you can read more about how we identified our “tribe” of customers and growth-hacked our way to success.

From smash-hit to workplace reality

During the crowdfunding campaign, and the period that followed, it felt like we could walk on water. Everything we touched “turned to gold.” We got voted Startup of the Year at CES in 2014. The Red Dot design award soon followed. And then we closed a round of seed funding. We were riding a wave – the sales poured in.

Since then, reality struck. We now have a need for a set work-structure with regard to sales and marketing. Things must be put into plans and processes. First, we brainstorm for ideas, then, we estimate, execute, and learn. The method we use nowadays, to use a hyped term, can be called: Growth Hacking.

One thing you must do before attempting growth hacking is to have a clear understanding of who your customers are and who they should be. At Airtame, we think a lot about the word ‘Tribe’ in the Seth Godin sense (watch this Ted Talk). Our Tribe is people who follow us and use our product.

We have built the tribe persona based on four inputs:

  1. We first turned to Google Analytics. We wanted to know who was looking at our website. We found out that a large percentage were men between 25 and 45 years old, with the largest group being Technophiles.
  2. We investigated which version of our software was most frequently downloaded. Here we could see that the majority were Windows users.
  3. We took a look at the people who had been buying our product so far. To analyze this, we grouped our customers by category: Startup/SME, Enterprises, Education, and Public.
  4. Lastly, we wanted to listen to information straight from the market. We asked our salespeople about what they experienced; where does our product work well right now? (Not tomorrow, in a year, but right now?); which of our customers are extra happy at this very moment?

Having defined our Tribe/target group, we were ready to start our experiments.

In order to get a consumer to decide to buy a product, you most likely need a handful of touch points. Furthermore, you can expect that if your product is expensive, you will need even more touch points.

Within the last 6 months at Airtame, we have been testing everything from Facebook Ads and Adwords, to PR, guest blogging, social media, email campaigns, canvas sales, life cycle nurturing of current customers, and a bunch of other channels.

Every quarter, we set some overall goals. We break these down into some more tangible ones to reach month by month. Every week is kicked off with prioritization of the coming week. For this, we use Trello to organize our team’s efforts.

To prioritize the tasks, we talk about them in relation to a very simple matrix: How much time and effort will this idea demand vs. how much value will a successful execution of the idea offer us?

Beware, when you start experimenting, you will soon learn that nothing ever goes exactly as expected. Some experiments will turn out better, others will do worse. And some stuff might go just kind of OK. The critical question here is to understand when and how your time is best spent. In order to do so, you need experience. You can only gain this from doing a lot of experiments. So, start drilling. A lot.

Having drilled and found out where your time is best spent, it’s time to go all in. Double down on what works until you reach a state where you have exhausted the oil field or reached a stable level with the specific source of growth.


Culture eats strategy for breakfast

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,“ said the famous management consultant and author Peter Drucker. I totally agree with him. To finish up this post, allow me to share a picture that I believe makes up the key ingredient in our secret sauce.

This is from our summer party #SummerTame. The unity is strong at Airtame.


Even though we are more than 10 nationalities under the same roof, we have been successful in establishing a team with strong relations with each other. People have a lot of fun with their work and their team members. We celebrate the victories. We grit our teeth together when the challenges are big. And every Monday, each department transparently shares the results of their work. We discuss, laugh, and work hard on a daily basis. (Find out more about the culture at Airtame here.)

When people feel good about their work and colleagues, you do not need a strategy to get them to work. We go the extra mile. We refuse to give up. We “work harder.” We want to win.

If you want more advice on how to successfully crowdfund 1 million USD, you should check out our previous post on Indiegogo. In this post we go into the specifics of what you need to plan and do before, during and after the campaign. 

Feeling inspired already? Start your campaign today.


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