What is Growth Hacking & 5 books you should read on the subject

12Apr, 2018

Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacker” in 2010 and defined it as:

“A person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scaleable growth.”

Many posts on the subject have been written but these two kind of started it all.

Find a growth hacker for your Startup” & “Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing

Silicon Valley was not the most friendly place for marketers after the .com bubble burst. The tech hub was full of engineers and the typical marketer just didn’t seem to fit the mold of what technology start ups required.

Marketing in the early 2000’s was more about spending money on big expensive, flashy outbound campaigns. Technology startups simply didn’t have the money for this type of marketing, nor did they find it very effective for building an audience or for marketing their products.

Growth Hacking can be explained as a marketing technique that uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to build an audience, gain exposure and ultimately sell products and/or services. Another word for it is Customer Acquisition.

Growth Hackers typically focus on innovative, measurable tactics that generally focus on using inbound marketing, search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing, social media and A/B testing.

The focus is placed on low-cost, innovative alternatives to traditional outbound marketing like buying ads like newspaper, print, direct mail and television. It’s the preferred method for startup marketing because it’s the most “lean” approach that focuses on “growth first, budgets second.”

If you are new to the “lean” movement, I recommend you read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries as well as The Lean Entreprenuer by Brant Cooper & Patrick Vlaskovits. These books will help you understand how you how to start and grow a business today.

Who uses Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking was originally focus on startups but today these same strategies and techniques can be used by all kinds of companies. We use growth hacking strategies here at Marketing Stream and so do organizations like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AirBnB and Dropbox to name just a few.

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more, GrowthHackers.com is a Community for Marketers to share and discuss useful growth resources. It’s a great website for cutting edge marketing ideas and strategies focused on growing your business or startup.

Also as promised, here are the 5 best books on the subject.

1) Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

2) Viral Loop by Adam Penenberg

3) Contagious by Jonah Berger

4) Lean Startup Marketing by Sean Ellis

5) Growth Hacking by Jose Casanova

About The Author
Craig is one of Marketing Stream's co-founders. He's spent 15+ years working with companies to develop and implement digital products & growth strategies. Craig also blogs about online business on his personal blog at CraigCherlet.com.You can also find and follow him on these social sites.

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