What Is A Growth Hacker

In one of his blog posts, Sean Ellis, a marketing thought leader, coined the term “Growth Hacker”. In his words:

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

Growth hackers are marketers who are driven to help companies accelerate growth. Here are the characteristics of growth hackers that Sean describes in his post:

The common characteristic seems to be an ability to take responsibility for growth and an entrepreneurial drive (it’s risky taking that responsibility).  The right growth hacker will have a burning desire to connect your target market with your must have solution.  They must have the creativity to figure out unique ways of driving growth in addition to testing/evolving the techniques proven by other companies.

An effective growth hacker also needs to be disciplined to follow a process of prioritizing ideas (their own and others in the company), testing the ideas, and being analytical enough to know which tested growth drivers to keep and which ones to cut.  The faster this process can be repeated, the more likely they’ll find scalable, repeatable ways to grow the business.

In many company situations, growth hackers can determine a company’s success. These are the individuals who will join a company when there is zero revenue and traffic and will pursue every initiative and channel to drive growth. They will be relentless and will not quit until success has been reached.

Growth Hacker

Sean Ellis

How Do You Find A Growth Hacker

Finding a growth hacker can be particularly difficult because they tend to be linchpins at either their own companies or companies they are working for. They are professionals and because they love and succeed at their work they are in high demand. To locate a growth hacker look for the following characteristics:

1. Reputation For Excellence: Growth hackers drive growth at companies and will have a list of very positive recommendations from colleagues.

2. Success In A Number Of Areas: Growth hackers are individuals who can excel in multiple arenas; they were the individuals at your university who not only served in an elected position, but also founded a club, received good grades, and always found time to be with peers.

3. Persistence Beyond Reason: These are individuals who will have had the experience of sitting at their computer, wondering how the world was going to find out about their company, and were determined enough not to quit until they succeeded. You will be able to sense this persistence and determination in them.

4. Track Record: All growth hackers should have a list of accomplishments they can call upon. Despite any person’s persistence, there are a number of challenges and lessons that you can only learn through experience.

5. Bitter Sweet Moment: You will know when you have found a growth hacker when you realize after you have worked with them that you need them more than they need you. That is the type of value they will bring to your company.

Growth Hacker

How Do You Recruit A Growth Hacker

The following are recommendations for recruiting a growth hacker into your company:

1. Think Big: Growth hackers have a number of opportunities they can pursue, so make sure to clarify why they should work for your company.

2. Be Generous: Growth hackers are not commodities; they merit higher compensation. I would rather bring 1 growth hacker onto my team than 10 mediocre marketers.

3. Propose Challenges: There is nothing that growth hackers enjoy more than challenges. This is partially because growth hackers are driven by learning, and they understand that challenges pose the greatest opportunities to learn.

On a last note, if you have the opportunity to work with a growth hacker, I would recommend you do so. I have met a number of talented developers and programmers, but unfortunately I have not met nearly as many growth hackers.