Let’s define GROWTH HACKING for y’all

Growth hacking, like other “buzzwords”, has been largely defined as interpreted by the industry. The lack of clarity on the “official” definition has led to misinterpretations among marketers and technologists.

While some view growth hacking as a “revolutionary buzzword”, it is really the present and future of marketing for startups and products. Said that, it is important to establish an apt definition which defeats misconceptions around the term.

To set the base for the uninitiated, the term was coined in 2010 by Sean Ellis, and has taken over the way startups think about growth and marketing. Here’s what key people in the industry say about growth hacking:

“Welcome to growth hacking. Or better, welcome to actual marketing, where whatever works is marketing.” — Ryan Holiday on Fast Company

“A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.” — Sean Ellis on his blog

“Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing.. Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph.” — Andrew Chen on his blog

“Growth Hacking is a mindset more than a toolset.. A mind set of data, creativity, and curiosity.” — Aaron Ginn on TechCrunch

“Growth hackers utilize analytical thinking, product engineering and creativity to significantly increase their company’s core metric(s).” — Gagan Biyani on The Next Web

“Every decision that a growth hacker makes is informed by growth. Every strategy, every tactic, and every initiative, is attempted in the hopes of growing. Growth is the sun that a growth hacker revolves around.” — QuickSprout

There is no single definition of growth hacking but to accurately bring out the meaning, deriving from the many definitions, let’s say:

Growth hacking is a cross between marketing & technology, using data, creativity, & analysis to focus on a single goal of achieving growth.

And this focus has led to creation of many methods, practices, and tools used by growth hackers to achieve growth.

The implementation of these methods is different from traditional marketing and the focus relies on quick results and cost-effectiveness of the methods.

To extend our definition and clarify for those perceiving growth hacking as a quick fix, we can say:

What is growth hacking?

And well. Let’s take a step deeper from the strategy to implementation. We run growth experiments across channels. It’s key to understand where your ideal consumer is, and “creatively” leveraging the network to tap into your market. Your growth hacking success depends on the CREATIVE VARIABLE of how and when you tap into a network.

Growth Hacking is not just about experiments. It is about finding the right channels based on your consumer personas, and then using it creatively to leverage the power of the channel or network. Understanding how networks work, and the peak effects, help growth hackers identify the right time to target a network. The strategy can be repeated over new channels over time to achieve scalable results.

Growth hacking, is hence, a framework of specific, cost-effective micro-implementations for repeatable, highly-scalable, process-oriented growth.

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