The Importance of Asking ‘So What’ in Growth Hacking

Anna-Lisa Natchev
4 min readFeb 12, 2023

--

Growth hacking is a crucial aspect of any startup or scale-ups success. However, many companies struggle to differentiate their features from the benefits they offer. This can be a major roadblock in their growth journey, especially in today’s challenging times where funding is being pulled back and profitability is the focus.

One of the key methods in growth hacking is asking “so what”. This simple question can help startups and scale-ups understand the benefits of their product and how they can impact their target customer’s businesses. The answer to this question should be clear and concise and should resonate with the target customer.

Smart companies and founders understand the importance of turning features into benefits and take the time to come up with different versions of the “so what” answer for each target customer segment (ICP). This allows them to tailor their marketing and sales strategies to different ICPs and territories. However, many startups and scale-ups stop too early and come up with “easy” answers internally, especially if it is run by people who have been “long in the business” and know their products inside and out.

Managers with this mentality will drive the company down on its needs before they agree to take a look at the mismatch between the benefits they offer and what the customer is actually willing to pay for.

Market studies and interviews are important and many traditional managers love them so much that they are willing to put enormous budgets on large studies and interviews, but at the same time refuse to commit to building a solid MVP solution or feature and testing the product market fit along with the price market fit.

I find this one of the hardest things to try and convince a team of traditional managers and founders of. Because of the brutal transparency in going to market with an MVP and seeing who will pay for it and how much the appetite for these types of growth hacks is extremely low. I especially see this with companies that have founders and managers coming from large organizations and are used to being able to roll from one financial quarter to another with their “we will wait and see” attitude.

My advice is extremely transparent: It is not until a transaction is made that you will actually know if your ICP is willing to pay for the benefits you offer and if they are willing to pay more than it costs you to acquire a new customer.

Most startups and scale-ups who eventually fail after years and years of opportunistic existence miss this point. If you can't repeat the growth, and you have no idea of why the customers bought your service you can not grow a company sustainably. These managers do not invest enough time and energy into growth hacking and testing the complex interconnected conversion points in their solution and go-to-market process. Often they refuse to build, measure and learn altogether and hope that the growth hacker can just change the brand image a bit to make the immediate sales targets for the organization.

I see this a lot, especially when a company's management team is completely blind to the fact that they are only working with internal assumptions and not systematically pushing out problems and weaknesses in their solution.

For startups and scale-ups facing a tough period, the advice is simple: stress-test your features to ensure you have strong “so what” answers that are modified for each ICP and territory. This will help you determine if simply investing in more growth, sales, and marketing makes sense.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying “our product is good enough” and blaming sales and marketing for not being effective.

Refusing to accept that a product or service is never “ready” is another symptom of “founder syndrome” and shows a lack of understanding of the importance of alignment between what the company thinks they are doing for the target market and what the target market is experiencing.

The role of "so what" and the importance it has in a company's success, particularly sales and marketing quota achievement, is frequently underestimated by founders and managers who say "we have now invested enough into the product."

In conclusion, asking “so what” is a crucial aspect of growth hacking. It helps startups and scale-ups understand the benefits of their product and how they can impact their target customer’s businesses.

By stress-testing your features and tailoring your “so what” answer for each ICP and territory, you will be able to determine if investing in more growth, sales, and marketing makes sense.

Growth hacking is critical to your company's success, don't let the difficulties of today's market blind you to that.

--

--

Anna-Lisa Natchev

SaaS Growth Navigator ,also sharing insights into reaching happiness from the Happiest people in the world...