In the past, marketing and sales were the only departments of a corporation responsible for growth. This has now changed as it’s become obvious that growth requires effort from all teams and that more than marketing divisions should be concentrating on customer acquisition.
Ryan Holiday, author of ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’, offers a unique description of what a growth hacker is; “A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are emails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money.”
The term “growth hacking” has received a lot of attention in the last few years, but it has actually been around since 2010. Sean Ellis actually coined the phrase, defining a growth hacker as a person who evaluates his or her actions solely on their potential impact on growth.
The above figure shows a clear difference in the purpose and space of a marketer in comparison to a growth hacker. It shows that in order for a business to accelerate growth, all departments have to contribute.
While self-identified growth hackers are found around the world, San Francisco leads the way. The main reason Silicon Valley has about double the number of growth hackers compared to the next city is that start-ups are focused on very fast growth in order to attract the attention of investors. The lesson is clear – companies focused on growing employ growth hackers and their techniques.
HOW GROWTH HACKERS HELP SCALE BUSINESSES
The core of growth hacking is process-driven action with the goal of finding your product’s place in the market. Surveys and customer development also play a big role in a product’s rapid growth by increasing lead generation.
The steps for successful growth hacking vary widely by industry, product, target audience, and resources. Below are some examples of growth hacking at work.
SOME EXAMPLES OF THE BEST GROWTH HACKS
- PayPal’s Friend Referral Cash Reward. PayPal quickly secured tens of millions of users by giving away $10 cash to each new customer as well as to the referring customer.
- Hotmail Tagline. Hotmail inserted an automated message promoting its service to the recipients like: “This email sent with Hotmail, Join Hotmail now” and “Get your free email at Hotmail.”
- Dropbox’s Stimulated Referral Program. This was similar to PayPal’s invite system in that Dropbox encouraged users to invite their friends in exchange for more storage space. In two years, their numbers rocketed from 100,000 to 4,000,000 users.
- Twitter’s suggested followers. Twitter conducted research that suggested that users who followed at least 30 people were more likely to become more active. They improved the user experience to boost this behaviour.