Who exactly is a growth hacker? How did we go from having software engineers, product managers, and marketers to suddenly have a whole new role called the "growth hacker"? What does it mean? Are they going to take over all of our jobs? Are they trying to take over the world?
Let's dive in.
A growth hacker is someone whose true north is growth.
A growth hacker's true north is growth. They have a growth-first mindset, and their orientation to the world is focused on growing the business as fast as possible. This can be contrasted with someone who has a marketing or sales-first mindset. If you're worried about whether people will like your product, then you probably have a marketing first mentality. If your focus is on closing deals and making money for the company, then you probably have a sales-first mentality.
Growth hackers are different from marketers because they think more like startups than big corporations: they have little interest in moving slowly or cautiously towards incremental gains; instead, they want breakthrough results that will get everyone talking (and hopefully buying).
Growth hacking is a combination of marketing and engineering.
It's not just about getting more people to use your product or service; it's also about understanding how technology can be used to make that happen.
In other words, growth hackers are tech-based marketers who analyze data and develop ways to improve their products to increase customer retention and usage (and hopefully get them to pay for it!).
Growth hacking was the way to do it for companies that have done incredible things with minimal budgets.
Everywhere you look, you see growth hacking permeating. Companies like Dropbox, Facebook and Pinterest use top-notch growth hackers to help them reach millions of users without spending millions on advertising or marketing. A few years ago, a good growth hacker could command $200k+ salaries; today, they're even more in demand than they were then (which is saying something).
Growth hacking is something that any startup can do and should do.
Growth hacking is something that any startup can do and should do. You don't have to be in tech or even a startup. And it's not just for marketing or social media either—growth hackers try to find innovative ways to grow their businesses no matter the industry. The term "growth hacker" was initially used solely by those working on digital marketing campaigns, but now it's become synonymous with anyone who tries creative new methods of getting traction for their business venture.
Skillsets for growth.
Growth hacking is about using data to make decisions. That's it. It's not about marketing, it's not about engineering, and it's not a single skill or role.
In fact, growth hacking is probably most similar to what some would call product management: you need a combination of skill sets to succeed with growth hacking. You need someone who understands how to analyze data and make decisions based on that analysis—and then you need someone who knows how best to design an experience around those recommendations, as well as someone who can talk directly with customers to understand their needs better.
But there's one more component: growth hackers use engineering skillsets too! Growth hackers use technology to build systems that automate parts of the process, like creating email campaigns that automatically send out personalized messages triggered by in-app user behavior or even just creating new automation for Facebook ads automatically without any human intervention!
There's also a lot of overlap between growth hacking and product management.
Growth hackers and product managers are both involved in the development of a product. But they are not the same, nor do they work in tandem.
Product managers have a different focus entirely compared to growth hackers and developers. Product managers focus on the business aspects of creating products—everything from marketing plans to sales strategies and business models.
Growth hackers are concerned with increasing their apps' exposure by any means necessary (even if it's not necessarily within the bounds of good taste). They're also interested in defining what success looks like for your app or startup as a whole—and then using that definition as motivation for every step taken moving forward.
Growth hackers don't just use one channel or source to reach new customers or channels they'll use every single source they can get their hands on.
They know that the next big thing may not be what you're currently using and so they're constantly looking for the next piece of the puzzle. It's not enough to have a fancy product analytics tool set up—that's only scratching the surface.
Growth hacking reaches thousands and even millions of people worldwide by using intelligent and creative strategies and channels that don't cost nearly as much money as traditional marketing methods.
- You might use a clever strategy to automate the outreach process of getting your product into the hands of influential bloggers or social media influencers so they can write about it; or
- You might make some timely changes to the landing page on your website, which increase conversions by 5%; or
- You might create an online ad campaign that's not only highly targeted but also extremely inexpensive (perhaps even free) compared to other kinds of ads.
There are many different aspects involved in being a growth hacker and in implementing effective growth hacks
Growth hackers are the people who build up the infrastructures behind new products or services by using data analysis and marketing skills to come up with new ideas on how to increase revenue for their company through customer acquisition (or any other means).
Growth hackers don't necessarily have to be technical wizards - although some are! They can come from many different backgrounds, such as sales & marketing teams or even engineering teams, if they have these skillsets already under their belt before being promoted into this role (many do). All they need is an open mind towards innovation and an aptitude for strategic thinking around product development projects while also understanding what works best when trying out these ideas in practice.