Growth Hacking Defined

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growthhacking1At the heart of every successful business is a growing user and revenue base. These days, some of the world’s most influential companies and startups have employed the services of a growth hacker to help facilitate success; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Quora, for example, have all employed people to hack their growth. The term itself (coined by one of the experts contributing to this series, Sean Ellis) implies that there are ways to grow and then there are ways to grow. If you don’t have a growth hacker in your employ, are you going to fall behind the competition? Do you want to become a growth hacker yourself? Whatever your motivation for wanting to learn more about growth hacking and it’s implications, it makes sense to first nail down a definition. I’ve asked 5 growth hacking experts to walk you through the basics and not-so-basics of growth hacking throughout the week. Coming up this week, we’ll take a look at real examples of growth hacking in action, what you actually need in order to hack growth and the future of growth hacking. To kick things off, let’s see what these experts say growth hacking is.

Paul Rosania: Growth hacking is a fancy term for high-impact, high-velocity product marketing. Growth hackers try a lot of ideas, ruthlessly optimizing successes and quickly discarding dead ends. Sometimes these ideas are small – an email subject line, the layout of a webpage – and sometimes they’re big projects like integrating with Facebook’s Open Graph. In all cases, the goal is learning. You don’t have to be technical, but people with technical backgrounds tend to excel, since they can conceive and ship experiments rapidly on their own. When the pace of experimentation and learning is high, successes compound quickly. Companies that invest in growth hacking at the right stage outpace and outmaneuver their competition.

Josh Elman: Growth hacking isn’t the best term, but it describes a new process for acquiring and engaging users combining traditional marketing and analytical skills with product development skills. In the past, marketing and product development departments were often at odds where marketing groups would be spending significant amounts of money to acquire users but couldn’t get any development resources to build something as simple as new custom landing pages. And on the other side, product development teams would often build what they think users want and will attract users without ...

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