Growth Hacking: what is behind the buzz?

Growth Hacking: what is behind the buzz?

Growth hacking is an interesting trend that gives us glimpses into the future of internet based companies. There has often been a barrier between the product and the marketing teams: the coders were in charge of building the product, the marketers were responsible for pushing it. The pattern has always worked for large, established companies, however, in start-ups, this can be a recipe for disaster. We all remember the dot-com bubble of the late 90’s, when heavily funded startups where spending millions in marketing without even having a market. This mindset has been changing, and Growth Hacking started to emerge in startups, mainly as a way to boost growth with limited resources (both financial and human).

  • Startups generally lack the capital and the established market relationships needed to grow using traditional marketing tactics. So they were obliged to hack their way into growth.
  • Furthermore, with limited human resources, the marketers in charge of growth had to learn basic coding, and the developers in charge of developing the product had to start thinking about the customer experience and market fit. It was in this intersection that the growth hacker was born.

For now growth hacking is mainly used by startups, but there is nothing about it that cannot be applied to larger corporations and eventually it will be part of fortune 500 companies. The topic has been attracting a lot of attention and even the prestigious Harvard Business Review, on an article dedicated to the theme, stated that every company should have a Growth Manager. But what lies behind all the buzz?

Well, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson “what lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”, the most important thing is to know what’s a growth hacker in its essence and here are #5 key that characteristics that define a Growth hacker:

1-) You do not have to be a programmer to be a growth hacker.

It is understood why this common mistake is sometimes made, caused by the dependency on coding to achieve many growth hacking aims, but it is not necessarily true that a growth hacker has to be a programmer. A growth hacker normally needs a coder or programmer on his team, but he does not necessarily have to be one himself.

Technically speaking a “Growth hacker” is a terminology used to describe a long held practice among the internet marketers and online product managers.

Growth hacking is particularly important for Startups, which are taking entirely different directions in their marketing strategies and coming up with new ways to collect data and creative methods for executing operations, in other words “Growth hacking”

The growth hacking strategy focuses more on Growth and less on profit in its early stage, and it implies using the combination of clever thinking and technical knowledge.

2-) Traditional marketers can become growth hackers if they narrow their focus and deepen their skill set.

When we go back to good old school definition of what is it to be a marketer, the answer would be “a marketer is a person whose main work consists of the recognition of the products (both goods & services) desired by a set of consumers”, or we can simply say “a marketer is a person who generates leads and turn them into actual results”

Now if we take that exact definition, mix it with some knowledge of technology and focus it on the growth of the company, we will have as an output a “Growth hacker”

The growth hacker lives within the intersection of data, product, and marketing, and his main goal is to discover a strategy for scalable and repeatable growth by using data coming from fast product iterations and deep market insights.

3-) Most growth hackers are NOT UNETHICAL

It is true that the moment you lay an eye on the word “hacker”, you may think that this particular word is “unethical”

The word hacker here does not mean interference in other people’s affairs; it is more a way to describe a type of process, in which one pushes the line of what is expected. A hack in this sense means using low-cost, creative, sometimes scrappy alternative ways for marketing a product and gaining traction.

4-) Growth hackers rely heavily on analytics

Analytics is considered to be the spirit of growth hacking. Almost in each step of the way. You might be wondering WHY? Check out the following:

Analytics keeps the process of growth hacking honest and reliable, as it shifts the focus of growth hackers by using hard evidence and the scientific method, not merely intuition.

Each growth hack is a loop and the heart of these loops is analytics. Growth hackers experiment often, iterate quickly and gather and analyze data thoroughly.

5-) Growth hackers are obsessive when it comes to “Growth”

“Growth hackers= obsessive researchers”, growth hacking process has certain ways and tactics, growth hacking is not just about trying 1 or 2 or 10 different things.

In order for you to improve in growth hacking trying various methods to develop and improve is limitless, and stopping at dead ends is not quite an option.

In the world of growth hacking to be certain that you have indeed achieved your desired purpose you have to make sure literarily that you are ahead of your competition.

Growth never stops and never rests, the word “Growth” means growth, growth, growth until the very end. The reason behind that is that growth is an essential key to all developments, one small success compounds over the other and throughout the time. Multiple small efforts added together form a base to allow success to climb over the shoulders of the previous success all the way to get and earn endurance and sustainability, in other terms “Growth”= Success+ Sustainability.