Born out of necessity, frustration and innovation, Growth Hacking is a relatively new idea to help mainly startups (for now) focus on growth and only growth. According to Wikipedia, growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.”
The primary goal of growth hacking is to replace traditional marketing with low-cost and innovative alternatives such as social media, search engine optimization, content marketing, website analytics and A/B tests to drive sales and growth. It is the ultimate lean marketing approach at a time when resource-poor companies must grow quickly or die trying.
The concept of growth hacking is not meant to replace traditional marketers. It is a different animal. The father of growth hacking, Sean Ellis, whose successes include Dropbox, uses this description, “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.”
For an old school example, we can look to McDonalds. The company realized that the advent of the Interstate was going to funnel a lot of people down very specific road ways. These travelers were going to be hungry. By placing restaurants at the exits, McDonalds was able to quickly grow their business by innovating and taking advantage of a new transportation system. Today’s world changed when the Internet came into being. Now brick and mortar businesses can set up shop and use SEO to highly optimize their Internet presence and be seen and visited by everyone who drives by courtesy of the World Wide Web.
Growth is no longer the purview of the sales and marketing department. And product design and development is no longer kept in a silo. Growth is everyone’s responsibility and keeping the customer central to everything you do will help ensure continued growth.
It is unlikely that growth hacking will remain a startup only strategy. Fortune 500 companies are sure to follow suite.