I’ve been reading a lot recently about what growth hacking is and isn’t, both from people who have called themselves growth hackers and from “others”. I’m going to break it down really quick here without explaining my reasoning or providing any proof for my claims, this is simply my opinion based on some experience.
In essence, growth hacking is this. Instead of building a product and then marketing it, you understand that the product is the marketing; let that settle in. Your growth marketer should ideally, in a properly functioning company, be involved from ideation phases right up to executing the whole GTM (go to market). You can’t build a product and then say, “Here, now go hack some growth”. All that brings is epic magnitudes of failure. I’ve seen the latter too often and each time it just doesn’t work, period. When you think “Growth”, think horizontal ideology across your whole organization; just like your tech stack.
To expand a little, growth hacking isn’t finding a magical lever like Airbnb, Reddit, etc, you can’t make a non-viral product go viral, that’s just forceful and any virality that is forceful and not innately built into the core functionality of the product, will never cater to sustainable growth. It’s like all the nut jobs that talk about the k-factor, it’s complete bullshit.
Once more. A growth person (hacker) needs to focus on the product right from ideation. She needs to be intimately involved in the complete user experience. She needs to think about who uses the product, why they use the product, who they want to use the product with, why they want to share the product, why they want to keep using the product and, amongst a ton of other additional things, why they continue to use the product. Once she understand this, she will then have the educated ability to scale growth (hack) in a sustainable way, just like Airbnb, etc. Why sustainable? Because like PG said, and I paraphrase, it’s better to have a few people that love your product, than a lot that just like it.. Why? Because those who love it will be the ones who reallyuse it, share it and thus, scale it.