Who / What is a Growth Hacker?

Last Updated on February 7, 2022 by justin

Article 3 in the series “Why you need to know about growth hacking”.

What is a growth hacker?

“A growth hacker is someone whose true focus is growth” – Sean Ellis It is someone who works systematically with marketing through data-driven growth – growth hacking.

Read more about what it is in the first part of this article series: What is growth hacking?

How does a growth hacker work?

Cross-functional between departments

If a classic marketer’s job mainly involves the marketing department, then a growth hacker works more cross-functionally across the organization, and covers a longer part of the sales funnel. Therefore, both marketing, sales, IT, operations and product development are involved, and thus often also the management. If it turns out that the bottleneck for growth is not within the framework of how communication is designed or marketing is distributed, then a growth hacker does not stop at rewriting copy or designing creatives. Then the developers may need to rebuild the website or make changes to the app, or the entire product or service may need to be adjusted. You do not change the market to suit the product, you adapt the product to suit the market.

Measure, test, track, scale up

All experiments must be measurable and all decisions are based on data.

A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money – Ryan Holiday, författare bl.a. till boken Growth Hacker Marketing

Every decision, tactic and strategy has sprung from a growth focus. This can be a double-edged sword because there are long-term soft values that are not taken into account. A growth hacker’s horizon does not include “What happens to our brand?”, “What do we do in case XYZ happens?”, “What will be the next step when product X has played its role?”.

Who is a growth hacker?

Often with a technical background

Surprisingly, they usually do not come from traditional marketing but have a more technical background, which is needed to understand today’s technologically heavy products and services but also to be interested in the data-driven analysis and plethora of tools available to help the modern marketer.

Regardless of whether it is basically an engineer, behavioral scientist or marketer, the strength of a growth hacker often lies in the fact that he/she has a personality with a so-called T-specialization. The T-specialization (often used at Swedish universities to describe the engineering specialization Industrial Economics) looks like the following:

By having basic knowledge in all areas, a growth hacker will go a long way, or alternatively know what he needs to order from a specialist. Pareto’s law, the so-called 80/20 rule, is a central part. With that said, growth hackers always have one or a couple of specialist areas, in marketing, programming, UX or design.

More specifically, a growth hacker has a unique combination of marketing skills, technical expertise, an interest for numbers and curiosity to understand the underlying causes of events. You can describe a growth hacker like this:

  • Wide set of skills
  • Often an engineer
  • Curious
  • Technical competence
  • Psychology and / or human interest
  • Communicative
  • Business interest
  • Doer – 80/20 setting
  • Obsessed with improving things
  • Dare to lower their own ideas
  • Works with small changes
  • Obsessed with his measuring factors
  • Creative
  • Dare to say no and take risks

Supply – the demand for growth hackers is about 1 to 7 (according to growthtribe.io) This is due to the broad knowledge base needed by relatively new tools and knowledge areas, which in turn limits it to people who are very curious and up to date.

Further reading

Previous articles in the article series “Why you need to know about growth hacking“.