Revealed: How UpGrad Disrupted the Online Education Industry

Growth hacking: A combination of coding, data intelligence and marketing. It doesn’t take a lot of investment-just a whole lot of creativity, smart data analysis and agility.
Growth hacking has now emerged as the preferred term for growth used by start-ups and entrepreneurs in India and across the world-the new mantra they swear by, but don’t want you to learn about.
‘Master Growth Hacking – The Best-Kept Secret of New-Age Indian Start-ups’ is a book authored by a national bestselling duo – Apurva Chamaria and Gaurav Kakkar. It lets you learn from the pioneers of the field in India.
Apurva Chamaria is the chief revenue officer at RateGain. Previously, as the head of corporate marketing for HCL Technologies. Awarded ‘Marketer of the Year’ by World Leadership Forum, ‘Digital Marketer of the Year’ by IAMAI and ‘B2B Marketer of the Year’ by Paul Writer, Apurva was ranked one of the top ten Indian angel investors by the Economic Times.
Gaurav Kakkar heads the digital marketing engagements for HCL’s clients in North America. Prior to this, he was leading HCL’s digital marketing team which has won more than 100 awards, including two prestigious ITSMA awards and the first prize for the best marketing case study published by Ivey Business School in 2015 from Amazon.
Master Growth Hacking
Here an excerpt from the book which features Mayank Kumar – co-founder and CEO, UpGrad talking about the growth hacking strategies of UpGrad to Apurva Chamaria:
Q. When did you realize that your organization needed growth hacking?
A. We have thought up various ideas to drive growth at UpGrad. One thing that we started with was to add a simple button to our learning platform. If a learner has enjoyed a topic, he or she can immediately post that on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. We also tried a referrals scheme, which is an important part of what we do. In order to monetize the traffic on our platform, the chat window played as a key role. One unconventional growth hacking move was our partnership with Start-Up India, where we offered our entrepreneurship programme as part of a Government of India initiative. That got over 2,00,000 individuals to experience UpGrad. There are many small things that one can do to accelerate growth.
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Q. What were the growth hacks deployed?
A. We started growth hacks with a simple goal-to increase visitor-to-lead conversion as we were more interested in increasing our number of leads. It was a planned approach, led by Deepak who is our growth product manager. We deployed four or five experiments within a span of two months. Two of these experiments became quite successful, increasing our Visitor-to-lead conversion by 60 per cent. The growth hacks did not cost us any money, except for the development costs of these experiments.
Q. What was your first instance of success with growth hacking and how did you arrive at it?
A. The first instance of success was when we introduced chat forms on our marketing platform. We realized through our user research that some of the visitors on any website are fence-sitters who are not sure whether to drop a lead or not. We would prompt a chat window after t seconds to gather contact info. The t seconds parameter was data-driven, in the sense that this was the time window when most of our visitors were going out of the website. This experiment improved our conversion by 25 per cent.
Q. Is there a dedicated team within your organization for growth hacking and, if there is one, how is it structured?
A. There is a dedicated team for growth hacking in our organization. It is led by a growth product manager and has a designer, a couple of developers and an analyst.
Q. What were the results of leveraging growth hacking in your company?
A. As I mentioned earlier, from our chat forms experience we saw a 25 per cent increase in conversion based on the t seconds parameter.

“An important book for marketers, managers and founders of traditional companies and start-ups alike. Growth hacking is at best an underutilized and at worst (an often) misinterpreted concept that needs to be internalized by most teams in today’s organizations.”
– Mayank Kumar, CEO and co-founder, UpGrad

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As above, The book – Master Growth Hacking includes interviews with the founders of Zomato, IndiaMART, ShopClues, UrbanClap,  Paisabazaar, Furlenco, FusionCharts, WittyFeed and a lot more. If you want to learn more about the tactics, techniques & tools and analyze the case studies of successful Indian startups this is a must read book!

Are online classes the future of education?

Today, we no longer need to be present physically to attend lectures or training; the world has shifted to virtual classrooms. Even though there might have been a few initial hiccups, online education has now become mainstream and will stay in the foreseeable future. The easy access and flexibility that online education offers to both students and teachers are highly adaptive to different schedules; you can also customize it to suit your specific needs. The choice of online educational programs is also massive. Plus, online education is overall more affordable, which also explains why it is certain to stay here in the future.

Are online educational programs effective?

Even though online classes are now the new normal, many of us are still not sure about their effectiveness. There is a general idea that online education courses are not really as effective as traditional offline classes. However, that is not entirely true. Now, this is subject to diverse factors. But when conducted in the correct method, online classes have proved to be equally effective as regular offline classes, maybe more effective in some cases. With a quality curriculum, expert mentors, and the right approach to pedagogy, virtual classes can be as fruitful and productive as offline classes. However, you need to choose your education platform and the course wisely.

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