In the wake of Silicon Valley startups a new way of thinking was born growth marketing strategies : Growth Hacking. Facebook, LinkedIn, AirBnB and a large part of the global ecosystem of startups use growth hacking to generate leads, traffic, visibility, in short, growth …


Growth hacking: a simple definition

Simply put, growth hacking is an agile digital marketing technique that allows you toaccelerate the growth of startup business or innovative SMEs at lower cost.

How does growth hacking work?

This technique is based on rapid tests of digital marketing levers (Facebook Ads, cold emailing, Twitter automation …) to exploit what works best … and for the cheapest possible.

It is also possible to test new markets thanks to growth hacking. The principle is simple: promote a product or service that does not yet exist, and measure the enthusiasm of Internet users. This practice has popularized in startups and is gradually expanding into large groups to test new markets before developing innovations.

growth hacking innovation scheme
Continuous iteration and testing process carried out in startups to refine the product, or marketing levers to generate growth for the startup.

Who are the “growth hackers”, these digital marketing specialists for innovative startups and SMEs?

The growth hacker, marketing expert in charge of growth hacking, aims to use unconventional techniques, often little known, to achieve its objectives: testing new markets, acquiring new customers …

As defined by the time created by Sean Ellis of Dropbox, the “growth hacker” represents someone whose real commitment is growth. The first one community dedicated to growth hacking is active from 2012: The French growth hacking community was born shortly after: with Growth England on Slack and the forum.

It uses commercial, digital marketing, design skills, Or even web development. Likewise, data analysis skills, SEO (SEO) and social networks are important to support the digital strategy of the company he supports.

The origins of growth hacking

Originally, growth hacking was a Way of thinking (or mindset). Before being defined as “growth hacking”, unconventional techniques had already been used by Silicon Valley startups to boost their growth with a very limited budget.

Origin of the word “growth hacking”

The word “growth hacking” first appeared in 2010 in the startup Dropbox. Sean Ellis, then marketing manager, decides to leave the startup. In order to train his successor, he defines his techniques and know-how as part of “growth hacking”.

What is the profile of growth hackers?

As defined at the time, the “growth hacker” represents someone whose real commitment is growth. The first one community dedicated to growth hacking is active from 2012: The French growth hacking community was born shortly after: Growth England.

Growth France
Growth England, one of the most active French communities on the subject of growth hacking.

The new era of growth hacking

It was only in 2013 that the term gradually appeared in England. The media and European startups then took hold of the phenomenon. In the years following its appearance, the number of growth hacker positions has increased among startups.

Today, the term “growth hacker” refers to all those who aim to boost the growth of the innovative company for which he works. In particular via the consolidation of the user base, and the acquisition of new customers.

A new form of web marketing

In most cases, the growth hacker responds to relatively similar issues:

To respond to these issues, he uses different tools (marketing, digital, method) in order to set up real-life experiences. When confronted with the users of his business, these experiences will allow him to determine the next levers of growth for the business. Then he can automate these growth drivers.

Why is it different from marketing

The real divide between digital marketing and growth hacking is
in the goals they are pursuing and thestate of mind who
emerges from each of the two concepts.

Indeed, although the two are quite close, the growth hacking is a state of mind in its own right. Created and developed in the world of startups, growth hacking is intended as an evolution of marketing specially oriented towards “test & learn”.

Its objective remains to constantly and quickly iterate on the marketing levers that work.

Uber strategy
Uber used the iterative process of growth hacking to find its 4 pillars of growth: the speed of service opening in cities, the first free journey, word of mouth facilitated by sponsorship and the experience that is intended flawless and inexpensive.

Market opportunity tests, alead acquisition, traffic generation

The mindset of a digital marketing consultant will also be different from a growth hacker. While the growth hacker will seek to boost business growth at lower cost, the digital marketing consultant will be more tempted to use traditional acquisition levers, such as Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, …

When to use a growth hacker?

The final difference between digital marketing and growth hacking is that the two disciplines do not require the same skills. In digital marketing, consultants will resonate more by specialization.

They will thus be specialized in their field, with a more marked specialty (Facebook Ads for example). If you have a specific need, you will find what you are looking for with these consultants.

Growth hackers have more technical knowledge : basics of web development, design and data processing. They reason more by mutual influence: optimizing the ergonomics of your pages will have an influence on SEO, automatic marketing on your loyalty, etc. This allows them to have a global vision of the digital levers to be optimized to generate growth.

To conclude

Together, we saw that:

  • Growth hacking is above all a state of mind based on “test & learn”;
  • That it allows:
  • As a startup, growth hackers are marketing and technical profiles (code and familiar with advanced notions of digital marketing).

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Understand growth hacking in 4 minutes via @webmarketingcom