What is Growth Hacking? Let Me Tell You

I just read a fascinating article by Gerado A. Dado a Product Marketer who attempts to defines what it means to be a growth hacker. As somebody who has been called a ‘growth hacker’ I wanted to not only share how Gerado defines a Growth Hacker but also dig into it deeper and share what I think is a growth hacker.

Gerado says a Growth Hacker has the following characteristics;

  • Typically found in early stage startups – with no formal marketing teams or budget
  • Where marketing is performed by engineers or non-career marketers
  • That uses smart, cheap and unconventional methods to grow the business
  • With a strong focus on analytics, metrics, virality and scalability

I find his four points fascinating and for the most part accurate. When I first got involved in online analytic’s the very first step was learning the science and with the science came the ‘growth hacking’.

A Growth Hacker by my definition is similar to Gerardo’s it is somebody who does not work in traditional marketing. We work online and use years of experience to drive traffic using non-traditional methods that can simply not be taught. Much of it is learned, and some of  it is acquired through relationships and networking similar to how more traditional marketers work.

Looking at Gerado’s 4 points I want to deconstruct them and also share my own personal thoughts on each one

Point 1: Growth Hackers are Typically found in early stage start ups – with no formal marketing teams or budget

I agree. Growth Hackers are typically found in small businesses looking to innovate against larger competition. Typically these companies have very limited resources and do not have the revenue to support a marketing team to do large and sometimes expensive traditional marketing campaigns.

Case and point at my work I was allowed to develop a website and we crushed the competition, make recurring monthly revenue and did it all using non traditional marketing and a budget most would spend on lunch.

Point 2: Where marketing is performed by engineers or non-career marketers

I agree. I am the first one to say I have no formal training in traditional marketing but I am also not an engineer. My background is in analytics and programming and I use my knowledge of analytics, patterns and algorithms to drive growth.

Point 3: That uses smart, cheap and unconventional methods to grow the business

Nothing to add here I agree.

Point 4: With a strong focus on analytics, metrics, virality and scalability

Nothing to add here I agree.

A Growth hacker is somebody every marketing team needs but is also NOT a marketing person.  A Growth hacker knows how to drive inbound links to your sites, blowup your Facebook page and set your brand on fire. A Growth Hacker also knows that evolution is a weekly event and unlike more traditional fields daily research and review is needed.

A growth hacker is an innovator, an outside thinker and most of all a nerd. They are most certainly NOT a marketing professional but if you were to pair them up the results are phenomenal. As companies like BuzzFeed have proven.

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