In 2010 Sean Ellis, entrepreneur, angel investor, startup advisor and now CEO of GrowthHackers, coined the term “growth hacker” as someone whose every strategy, every tactic, and every initiative is attempted in the hopes of growing. But that’s pretty vague, right? Check out the Google Trends graph below. Lots of people are searching for this term, so let’s dig into what it really means. What is growth hacking, really? ‘Growth hacking’ meshes digital marketing with traditional marketing with customer retention and product performance. Growth roles typically apply to the startup world where software and apps are the products because these days, there’s a lot to gain from marketers being close to product development. Ellis saw this as a talent gap. He had helped grow many popular startups, like Dropbox and Qualaroo, but had a hard time finding the right talent to support him. The tactics and strategies they use are simply to reach new customers efficiently, retain existing customers long-term, and build a product that markets and sells itself. For example, if people love the product so much that they are telling coworkers about it, blogging about it, or leaving app store reviews, then marketing somewhat handles itself. Growth hackers know this and will strive to find optimizations on the product side through quantitative study (ex: web analytics and CRM data) and combine those insights with their market research or discussions with users. You can learn about a few examples of successful growth hacking here. Qualities of a growth hacker and five top skills they possess According to San Diego Growth Hacker Dan Greco, the qualities of a growth hacker are simple to understand but often difficult to mimic: “Growth hackers see opportunity where others see challenges, solve problems creatively and collaboratively, empathize with users and try to tie everything back to metrics. Growth hacking is the mindset of never being satisfied.” It’s great to celebrate wins when the numbers are up, but growth hackers are programmed to always look for opportunities to improve. Five skills that you’ll need to become a growth hacker include: 1. Web Analytics Arguably the most important skill of a growth hacker is web analytics and quantitative skills. Before aggressively deploying tactics and strategies for growth, they need to have a measurement strategy in place. In other words, if we deploy this initiative, how will we measure success? For digital marketing this often lives in Google Analytics or Firebase (for mobile apps) or if the data source feeds into a database, running queries through SQL or automating reports to populate in MS Excel are extremely valuable. Don’t confuse this with data science; growth hackers don’t need to know advanced statistics or predictive modeling, but they do need to know how to collect and interpret data. Common Tools: Google Analytics (for websites and web apps), Firebase (for mobile apps and web apps), Excel, SQL 2. Digital Marketing Growth hackers should have a good understanding of SEO, PPC, social media, email and retargeting best practices. They’ll likely need to implement many of the optimizations and strategies across these channels if it’s a small startup, but if it’s a company that has the support of a digital agency, the growth hacker should manage the relationship and ensure they are hitting desired performance goals. Common Tools: AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Advertising, Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), Mailchimp 3. Community Building Building communities, both online and offline, is an important part of a growth hacking because it helps people to begin to perceive your brand as a thought leader. Unlike social media marketing, which is more about branding and short term awareness, community…
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