While everybody in the online marketing industry seems to be talking about growth hackers, not many seem to understand who or what exactly they are. Many get away with simply labeling them with an over simplistic estimation of “people responsible for growth” or “people that harvest users”. While this is true to a certain extent as growing a business or getting more users to a site is a primary growth hacking principle, there is more to growth hackers than many give them credit for.
It is quite natural to consider growth hacking as a collection of specific skills or the use of some fancy tools and formulas to aid the growth of any site or business. While growth hacking is all that, it has more to do with the mentality and mindset of the person or team involved in the growth hacking process. A better or even more refined definition of a growth hacker could be a person who has a natural ability to analyze and identify trends that can be beneficial to growth.
A growth hacker could be a marketer but that is not a necessary requirement. Anybody with an entrepreneurial drive, and the ability and skill to connect the dots between user acquisition to revenue generation can be a growth hacker. A growth hacker's role is very different from that of a marketer. A growth hacker often helps marketers create an effective marketing channel from where they can use their own unique strategies to generate revenue. You can say that they provide a platform for marketers.
Growth hacking came into existence to fill the shortcomings of traditional marketing techniques in start ups. Marketing - in conventional brick and mortar businesses and web based businesses - is quite different. Conventional marketing strategies in web based businesses cannot be used when driving growth, and as a result, a gap is created between marketing efforts and business growth. Building brand awareness is also a major issue for start ups as the word does not spread quite easily on the internet. Viral marketers would beg to differ on this point but applying viral marketing techniques on an unestablished product might not work well. Even if it did, it might not make a huge difference on growth. Viral marketing works best only on established products and companies, and the same goes for traditional marketing.
Growth hacking uses traditional and new, proven and unproven methodologies to grow your business. It’s not about marketing. It’s purely about the growth.
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