It used to be that growth hacking was only used and understood by startups. This unusual role that combines an active and curious interest in marketing experimentation, data analysis and automation is now starting to be seen in more established companies and even large enterprises. When growth hacker, Andrew Chen took on a full time role at Uber it was clear that the ground was shifting. Known for developing an insightful and detailed system for growth, Andrew is the go-to guide for most startup founders needing (or wanting) to link their marketing to their business strategy. His particular focus on growth, based on a deep understanding of data analysis and product development, is popular with startup founders but is now becoming popular with corporate marketers. But what is a growth hacker, and how is it different from marketing? In many ways, growth hacking is what happens when your job as a marketer is disrupted. But I also like Ryan Law’s suggestion that growth hackers are marketers with coding skills. This means:
- Data driven strategies create experiments not campaigns: Where marketers create campaigns, growth hackers create experiments. The experiments may have micro-budgets but lead to focused insights that feed directly into product or market development
- Growth tactics propel customer interaction: The activities and experiments are designed to move the needle on your key metrics. They should progress your relationship, reveal insight or (hopefully) generate leads, conversions and sales
- Creating content that solves problems: Understanding the needs of customers means that growth hackers are creating content, tools, insights and data that helps customers solve their problems. Where this aligns most closely with your products or services is the point at which a commercial transaction takes place
- Growth hackers steal and improve marketing processes: Seeking scale as soon as possible, growth hackers look to marketing and sales automation technologies to accelerate lead generation, scoring and nurturing. But they do so according to the dictates of growth – not vanity metrics
- Growth hackers own the revenue number: Marketers have traditionally been shy when it comes to revenue numbers. Growth hackers step out of the shadow of sales teams, knowing that the path to growth is data driven
With the rise of digital, marketers have had to become closer to growth hackers whether they wanted to or not. But with a very hands-on focus on data, insights and technology, the growth hacker could be considered a digital marketer on steroids – using all three to rapidly experiment and improve their efforts. The Growth Hacker has a singular focus While growth hackers and marketers have similarities, there is one key difference – the growth hacker has a singular focus: growth. Only growth.
In our latest Disruptor’s Handbook, we provide a framework for you to test, learn, apply and iterate on your own approach to growth hacking. And, of course, you can also download our Lean Marketing Plan. It’s a bridge between the marketing and agile worlds that can help you go from startup to scale up.