Updated: Sep 7
Growth strategies cannot be simply duplicated from product to product. The tools differ, but the mindset stays. Rather than a set of tools, growth hacking is more a mindset that revolves around growth - Growth hackers are abnormally fixated on growth. They are obsessed. Every decision they make, every action they take is instructed by growth and is endeavored with an eye toward growth. A growth hacker is, in the end, “a person whose true north is growth”
Growth hacking is more of a mindset than a toolkit!
Successful growth hacks are rarely replicable. The first mover gets a greater advantage. A growth hacker understands novel hacks have limited lifespans. If it’s successful, it won’t take long before your competitors follow and the results decrease. You can’t simply learn popular growth hacks and apply them straight to your own business. Instead, learn the mindset so you’re able to move at the same speed as a hacker.
Unlocking the secrets of a growth hacking mindset
Blends marketing with product development - Growth hackers stand at the “intersection of marketing and product development”. For a long time, the circumstances have been that coder builds, and marketer pushes; now, the systems are colliding, as marketing features can be baked into the application experience. For instance, in the case of Hotmail, a promotional pitch was embedded into every email composed by users. For another instance, if phone contact is not on Viber, it is possible to send that person an invitation to join Viber.
That is to say, product features can now be directly accountable for growth. To leverage this attribute, a mindset that is both marketing-and product-driven at the same time is required. The above example of Airbnb reflects this requirement. The Airbnb integration with craigslist simply involved too many technical details for a traditional marketer to conceive, much less to execute. Only an engineer assigned to acquiring customers from craigslist could have done it.
Favors data - Growth hackers have a passion for, and a reliance on data. As growth hackers associate themselves with only what is “testable, trackable, and scalable”, or in other words, “measurable (...) and calculable”, they need data. Data keep growth hackers honest and away from assumption and vanity. Data assist them in placing and shifting their focus, as well as enable repeating past successes and predicting future trends. Certainly, there is more to how data benefit growth hackers. Data are important to the extent that, without data and metrics, growth hackers feel “naked”.
Embrace creativity - Creativity is a must-have for growth hackers. First, business tends to flock to channels with which they are familiar, or which they think they should use due to their product or company. However, more than often, it is the uncommon and underutilized channels that are the most likely to deliver results. Hence, to drive growth, growth hackers need to go beyond the predetermined tactics to unearth the right methods. They need to think out of the box. Second, the right channels will work wonders at first, but all channels have their own lifespan. Their efficacy is bound to decay over time as the market becomes saturated. As a result, growth hackers assiduously seek new channels and “reimagine the existing channels”. For that, they need to be ingenious. “Paths to grow are not usually obvious and it takes extreme creativity to find them.
Endorses curiosity - Curiosity kills the cat but benefits the growth hacker. Growth hackers have an urge to go beyond the surface. They have a long list of what-if and why questions. They want to know why certain things work while others do not. They continually run and tweak experiments to discover new ways to push their metrics up. This constant curiosity and an insatiable hunger for knowledge enable them to have a deep understanding of the product, user experience, and user behavior. Such understanding is decisive for growth hackers, for they work closely with both marketing and product development.
Lives on experiments - Growth hacking is not easy, it “only looks simple once you’ve found out the things that work for your product”. There is not a set in stone process for growth hacking and different situations and businesses require different strategies. Sean Ellis called growth hacking “Experiment Driven Marketing”. Thus, failure is not avoidable and most certainly inevitable. Not succeeding the first time but a hundredth time is the characteristic of growth hacking; and it is a process that requires running experiments, tracking and analyzing the results, and iterating the strategy.
To sum up, “growth hacking was born out of startups”, and is all about growth. The tools vary, but a growth hacker needs to be fixated on growth and growth alone and is able to think from the perspective of both marketing and product development at the same time. Additionally, a growth hacker needs to be analytical, creative, curious, as well as experiment-driven.
GrowaholicLab is a data-driven growth hacking agency that helps you carry your business forward across the different stages of a product life cycle by fully utilizing the latest digital marketing techniques and technological advancements.