This article originally appeared on GrowthRocks and has been republished with permission.
Birth Of The Growth Hacker
In the hindmost half of the 1990s, the Internet changed from a scientific and governmental research network to a commercial and consumer marketplace. As it was expected, the Web flooded with new businesses, thanks to its population going from a few thousand to millions, and people started to actively interact with the possibilities, the online world offered. Marketers struggled their way to the top, with enormous budgets and advertising campaigns, but the effects seemed to be quite disappointing. Suddenly, 100 years of marketing were almost useless due to the competition. Endless products and services doing the same thing seem like a very tough war for a marketer to win. The market changed, and so should marketing.
What is a Growth Hacker?
In my mind, a Growth Hacker is likened to a product given from the chemical reaction of two elements; Marketing and Engineering. He is like a super-mutant of the Internet era. Instead of traditional marketing, which typically breaks the continuity of your day, a growth hacker understands user behavior to persuade, through the value it immediately provides. A growth hacker will leverage across several disciplines, from analyzing insights derived from how people flow online and by applying typical gamification methods (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play), with the view to encourage engagement with a product or service. Growth hacking is based in marketing but driven by obsessive focus on the product. The growth hacker finds a strategy within the parameters of a scalable and repeatable method for growth, that relies on this obsession. He is more like a golden section between marketing, product and data. Danielle Morrill, co-founder & CEO of Mattermark, said that, “the best growth hackers are questioning marketing as we know it today, because the online tactics that were once the territory of a select few are now table stakes.”
In the mind of a Growth Hacker
It’s a fact that a Growth Hacker is a mostly right-brained individual with lusty glances at the left side. The right cerebral hemisphere of the human brain is responsible for creativity, intuition, the will to take risks, passion etc; As the left controls logic, reason, analytical thinking…. Well, you get the point. As a growth hacker, being creative is an essential feature, since it might be your best, but not your only, weapon in the business war. But remember; A Growth hacker is also an analytics addict. The best formula is to channel your creativity into data and proof, in order to make decisions.
The Growth Hacker Brain Map In Detail:
- Data-oriented: It’s all about Data ! All risks and decisions, in general, are taken due to data collected from research and analytics
- Analytical thinking:By the abstract separation of a whole into its constituent parts, a Growth Hacker studies the parts and their relations seeking for viral loops in order to plant Growth into the product
- Logical: All the Processes, a Growth Hacker follows are based on earlier or otherwise known statements, events, or conditions
- Creative: Finds innovative ways to do things
- Opportunistic: Has the foresight to find openings, in order to achieve goals
- Risk taker: Taking risks sometimes, can really put a growth hacker out of a very difficult situation. After all, failing is considered an honest mistake.
The Growth Hacker Skillset
Consider a Growth Hacker, as a marketing Warlord. In battle, except of weapons probably the most essential element is, the ability to use them and the required physical training. As a warrior needs speed, good reflexes, strength and dexterity to get through the battles in one piece, a Growth Hacker must, absolutely, master his abilities in:
- Data Analysis: Statistics, Spreadsheets, R, Pandas
- Marketing: Analytics, A/B Testing, Conversion Optimization, Email Marketing
Pick up your weapons and fight (the Growth Hacker Toolkit)
Your “war chest” as a Growth Hacker contains different types of equipment. “Armor” type tools to defend against your competitors and “ranged/melee” weapons to unleash your, Growth Hacking attacks. Typically, a Growth Hacker’s tools are considered to be everything that comes in use, depending on the occasion, but here is a sample of the best choices out there.
- Analytics Platforms (Google Analytics, KISSMetrics, Mixpanel, Trak.io)
- HTML editors or IDEs (Sublime Text, WebStorm)
- Product & Project Management (Trello, Asana, Jira)
- A/B Testing Platforms (Google Experiments, Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, Taplytics)
- Landing Page Platforms (Unbounce, LeadPages, Instapage)
- Email Marketing (Mailchimp, Mandrill, Intercom)
- Social Media (Buffer, Static, Social Sprout, SumAll)
The Growth Hacker’s war plan
A true Growth Hacker always has a plan and he always sticks to it. And behind, his every plan lies a specific approach in order to achieve his ultimate goal: Growth! This approach consists of 5 steps: measure, analyze, test, compare, refine, repeat. In case you want more details on that, you can read the The Introduction To Growth Hacking.
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