6 characteristics of a real growth hacker

Growth hackers: every company wants to have one and every person wants to be one. But what exactly is a growth hacker? What makes growth hacking different from a “normal” digital marketing? As being a growth hacker myself, I’m getting this question a lot. In my modest opinion, I think it’s all about the mindset. In this article, I will explain 6 characteristics of a real growth hacker.

1. We truly dislike assumptions

For companies it’s very easy to assume that they know all the solutions to the customer’s problems and for marketers it’s very easy to think that they know how to persuade their customer. Growth hackers never assume anything. We want to test it all. Only if an A/B test shows proof that someone prefers A over B, we are convinced that method A is the better way.

“Assumption is the mother of all fuckups” — Steven Seagal

2. We love marketing tools. We really LOVE them

I wouldn’t say every growth hacker is good with coding, but I think it is safe to state that we all want to be. It just makes life easier to be able to build everything that we can think of. Unfortunately, most of us are not that kind of person and that’s where the marketing tools come in. With all these tools, we can build, measure, send, create, and analyze almost everything we want. We just love them.

3. But we love data even more

Yes. Maybe even more than our better half. In fact, I think data is our better half! As I said before, we don’t like assumptions and data is the magic that can transform assumptions into facts. And besides that, data can reveal secrets about our customers that we never would have thought of!

4. We are a little bit lazy

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” — Bill Gates.

I think this is where the term “hacker” comes from. Why do the hard work yourself if your audience can do the work for you? A beautiful example of this is Hotmail when they were just a small company. The only thing they did is at every email their users sent, they put a small note at the bottom, which said: “P.S. I love you. Get your free Hotmail account today!” BOOM! Their user base grew from almost nothing to 1 million in just 6 months!

5. We learn fast!

So we like to build (with tools!), we like to measure (with data!), and we love to learn from all the insights this brings us, but what next? We build again! We measure again! We learn again! And we just keep repeating this cycle again and again. We only build the necessary stuff that gives us the necessary data so we can learn and execute as fast as we possibly can.

“In the new world, it is not the big fish that eat the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.” — Klaus Schwab.

6. We only think growth

It’s the last thing we think about before falling asleep and the first thing we think about when we wake up in the morning: growth. Sean Ellis, the first one who coined the term “growth hacker”, describes a growth hacker’s mindset in one sentence: “a growth hacker’s true north is growth.”