Growth hacker is the next VP of marketing, according to Andrew Chan, the growth advisor in unicorns like Dropbox and AngelList. You may wonder why Growth Hacking has become so trendy in the startups at Silicon Valley. Let’s dive into the growth hacking world: learn more about what exactly growth hackers do and see why your startup need one as well.


What is a growth hacker?

Growth hackers are not real hackers – but they love to hack too. Growth hackers pay attention to the entire journey the customers go through, or in specific terms, the conversion funnel. Then they propose and execute to improve the conversion funnel, this may include increasing the amount of people in contact with your product, boosting the amount of interest your potential customers have in you, keeping your users active and spend more in your product.

Growth hackers do not only aim at acquiring more customers but also strive to improve the customer experience in your product.

“Growth first, budgets second.”, this is pretty good to sum up what growth hackers should keep in mind.

What makes growth hacking important?

Startups want to improve their revenue and other important metrics. This graph illustrates exactly what growth hacking brings you – notice the change in slope.

Growth rate chart

The growth curve

Yet, the holy grail of growth hacking is not in the result, it is in the ROI it yields:
Growth hacking aims at inducing an acceleration in growth (as shown in the graph) with the least amount of resources.

How does growth hacking work?

Growth hacking is not only about testing out new ideas. While growth hackers propose ideas to solve certain marketing problems, they conduct experiments, then look at the data to support their decisions.

Growth hacker also looks at every possible channel to explore method in order to push growth. This would include introducing campaigns to gain exposure on various social networks, improving SEO to rank higher in search engines. When facing questions like “How to improve customer conversion and retention?” growth hackers will perform A/B test on websites or even in products to answer.

Growth hacking is more of a mindset than a set of formulas.

What is a growth hacker’s role?

A startup has two stage: pre-product/market fit and post-product/product market fit. In different stages, growth hackers would have different focuses.

In pre-product/market fit stage, your product is still trying to transform into something that satisfies a strong market demand. At this stage, a growth hacker is more of an integral part of the product team. The focus will be on developing viral strategies to help your product meet more early adopter, where you can get feedback and improve your product. In a nutshell, you hack growth to help your product get to the product/market fit.

In post-product/market fit stage, you have found your product fits the strong market demand. Growth hackers would now focus on ramping up growth strategies to ensure the product grows rapidly.

Growth hacking action items may vary depending the stage of your company and product. For instance, when the product launches, we should focus on user acquisition.

Who can become a growth hacker?

Relation between marketing, programming and data analysis in growth hacking

Relation between marketing, programming and data analysis in growth hacking

Growth hacking is a study of marketing, programming and data analysis. A Growth hacker embodies the hybrid among all three of them, and excels in at least one of them.

Marketing knowledge is necessary. Despite all the new approaches to promote your product, the message at its core is to market yourself. This allows more people to know, understand, use and embrace your product.

Have a great sense in data analysis is also critical. By reading the data, you can interpret objective feedback to the growth hacking strategies. Yet, growth hackers should also be bold to trust their instinct and creativity. Data simply should serve as a proof, but not a boundary.

Programming skill is certainly scarce. Many growth hackers are not technical themselves. Possessing technical skills makes deploying more technical growth strategies easier, such as implementing quick changes, writing data crawlers, etc. Even if you are not technically capable, you should at least know how to explore and work with technical resources.

Relationship between Marketing, user experience and systematic optimisation in growth hacking

Marketing, user experience and systematic optimisation

In a narrower sense, growth hacking is an art combining marketing, systematic optimization and user experience. A more systematic data-driven framework brings an ROI-based marketing approach, where the result can be observed and analyzed. It also allows your product team to improve user experience based on data.

The growth learnings are here to stay

Growth hacking is the study of focusing on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing.

The term ‘Growth hacker’ may no longer be hyped when time goes by. Yet, the methodology, data-driven mindset and the what we’ve learnt in growth hacking are here to stay.

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