HBR Defines Growth

Growth Hacking

Here is a really good article by Harvard Business Review on Growth Hacking. (HT to Sarit A. for sending me the article.)

The authors state "The Growth Manager function typically lives at the intersection of marketing and product development..." I completely agree. This also makes it difficult to explain to others what I do. I have always believed the best marketing program is a great product. The rise of the Growth Hacker or Growth Manager (or whatever you call) it is the embodiment of that.

The product must be great. Very few (if any) products emerge from the womb on Day 1 as great products. Just like our kids, they come out red, slimy, banged up and crying for attention. Through love, care, and feeding they grow into beautiful, productive humans.

Same with product. But how do you know how to make your product better? That's where the analytics framework and experimentation fundamentals come into play. And how do you improve your product faster than your competition? That's where agile development comes into play.

But even a great product isn't good enough. The product needs ways of "reproducing" users. I'll use another analogy from biology. A tree performs lots of great functions: turns CO2 into O2, prevents runoff, home for animals, etc. But it is one feature above all else that has covered the earth with trees: the ability for it to spread.

Same with a product. The product you are building isn't just the core functionality that you might list on the package. It's also the features that cause the product to spread. In other words, word of mouth, referrals, content loops and all the other stuff that growth hackers engineer.

Paid search and display, email, remarketing and other online and offline campaigns are often required too. So the growth hacker must be fluent in all those channels. But these linear channels don't act in vacuum. If you rely on them and only them, without a great product and without growth loops, your growth will be stunted but the high cost of customer acquisition.

Trackback URL for this post: