Startup Grind Cape Town Hosted Ann Murray (PR Hacker)

Growth Hacking…The Next Big Thing?

Will Growth Hacking be the next big PR trend? We spoke to Ann Murray all the way from San Francisco to gain some insight on her experience in the PR industry and this very popular US trend.

On Tuesday, January 28, we kicked off this year on a high note, with our fist and very successful event of 2014. In an interactive, fire-side-chat setting, we spoke to Ann and picked her brain on this very new, but upcoming trend that the US PR industry has been seeing over the past two years.

Before submerging herself in startup PR, Ann returned to her birth country and participated in a competition called Startup Chile, which involved launching and running your own startup. With her newfound knowledge and expertise, Ann headed back to the States co-founded her first startup, called Clufe. Clufe was a mobile app like Facebook and Instagram, but dedicated to all things pets. You could post pet-pics to your hearts content and comment on and share pics of your friends’ furry family members. They made use of growth hacking initiatives which is a marketing technique developed by tech startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. These initiatives include search engine optimization, web site analytics, content marketing and A/B testing. In essence, finding cheap and easy ways to acquire users.

— Vanessa Clark (@vanclark) January 28, 2014

Ann has since specialized in offering PR services to startups based on her own experiences. Digital, online and the automation of business gave rise to her latest company called PRHacker. Their initiatives are based on growth hacking and focus on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing, i.e., utilizing social media and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television. The value of growth hacking for startups lies in it’s unique approach to execute a "lean" launch that focuses on "growth first, budgets second".

— Wanika Rusthoi (@wanikarusthoi) January 28, 2014

Growth hacking is on the rise in the US and certainly a trend to be pioneered in South Africa. With the nature of the tech industry in SA and PR agencies coming to the fore to support our budding startups, we are sure that this is a trend that will become ever evident in PR for startups and a sure sign to measure innovation by.

Watch this space and come join us for some more insights on the tech and the startup scene in Cape Town.


Ann’s Bio:

Ann was born in Chile and moved to the US at the age of 9. She grew up in Los Angeles and holds a B.A from UCLA where she studied research phycology and by chance got involved with developing a campaign for MySpace, which gave rise to her PR career as the campaign took off and became viral. She then decided to professionalize her experience by doing her masters in Strategic PR at USC where she completed a masters thesis on the scalable business impact of social networking and blogger outreach.

Ann is now based in San Francisco and has coordinated campaigns for major consumer and tech brands such as 20th Century Fox Entertainment, Warner Brothers, CNN, Unilever, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mass Mutual, and The J.M. Smucker Company. She specializes in PR campaigns that build traction for startups, and has worked with tech companies such as Wade, Prezi, and Strikingly, among many others.