What is Growth Hacking Anyway?

growth hacking 1If you do a Google search for ‘growth hacking’ you find a lot of cute images, like the Wonka meme one to the right, and a lot of articles with people saying “Yeah, growth hacking isn’t even really a thing” or blog posts that read like hipster manifestos and don’t really tell you anything about what growth hacking actually is.

We’ve broken up the term into bite sized concepts to help you get a better understanding of growth hacking and decide whether or not it’s right for your company. 

A Growth Hacker is a Marketer.

Let’s be honest, growth hacking isn’t a new job category like some would want you to believe, but it is a new breed of marketer.

Gagan Biyani sums up the concept really well on The Next Web:

“A “hacker” is someone who thinks outside the box, disregards the rules, and discovers new ways to solve problems. In this way, a growth hacker needs to be as creative as she is analytical.”

A growth hacker is a very specific type of marketer who understands (at the very least) the basics of coding, is new media savvy, loves to integrate new tech and doesn’t spend too much time harping on tradition. In fact, a growth hacker usually doesn’t think about tradition at all.

Most growth hackers probably don’t think about media buys or press releases. They’re approach is much more organic and sometimes, off the wall. They look for ways to grow a company, regardless of whether or not that way “makes sense” on the surface. They’re really good at finding, or creating, opportunities where it didn’t seem like any existed.

Growth Hackers Love Startups.

A growth hacker’s obsession with creating unusual opportunities for growth was born out of necessity. The growth hacker craze began, and still flourishes, in the startup sphere. It was born from engineers who didn’t understand traditional marketing, but they understood the internet and how to leverage it to attract business.

Not every growth hacker is an engineer. Many of them have a marketing or even artistic background, but they work on small businesses with even smaller budgets. In an odd way, budget constraints provide a kind of freedom. This means to get the job done, you need to be a little bit mischievous – and that can be really fun.

The startup space provides a pressure cooker of unlimited possibilities. You have a small budget, but permission to grow the customer base in any way you can.

Growth Hackers Put People First.

Whether an engineer by trade, a marketer or just a savvy creative mind, all growth hackers understand one thing – consumer behavior. Sure, their endgame is growth, not community management, but in order to grow that customer base, you must understand how your demographic thinks.

They understand the language your customer uses to talk about their needs.

They understand where the consumer spends their time on the internet.

They understand what types of media the customer wants – video, blogs, images, infographics etc…

Then, they use all of this data to create a viral campaign that will move the company forward. As the campaign progresses, they analyze the results and adjust accordingly.

So, in short, a growth hacker is the next generation of marketer – someone who knows how to blend consumer data, technology and creativity to advance your business.

What do you think? Do you agree that a growth hacker is a marketer or are you in the camp that they are something completely different?

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