Growth hacking is the process of utilizing different marketing channels and experimenting with various product development strategies to identify the most effective and efficient ways to grow a business by acquiring more users and increasing revenue.
To gain a better understanding of what growth hacking actually means and to understand where the phrase came from, it’s better to first know what is meant by the term hacker. According to MattanGriffel, co-founder of One Month,a hacker is someone who is more concerned with achieving an objective than following a prescribed process. In other words, hackers care more about what needs to get done than how it should get done. As a result, hackers often come up with innovative ways to get things done. A growth hacker is a hacker whose objective is to grow the number of users for a specific product.
The phrase growth hacker was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010 when he began to search for replacements for himself, but was unable to get the right fit. “A growth hacker is not a replacement for a marketer. A growth hacker is not better than a marketer. A growth hacker is just different than a marketer. A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.” says Sean. The complete focus on growth has given rise to a number of tools, methods and best practices that didn’t exist in the Traditional marketing range of activities.
On the other hand, there has been an introduction of something known as “customer hacking”. According to Peter Fader, while growth hacking may imply innovative, out-of-the box strategies, that isn’t the case any longer. He argues, that while unconventional and well done growth hacking techniques must be carried out by every company, the common techniques that typically fall under the growth-hack umbrella certainly don’t merit the label.
Keeping that in mind, customer hacking was created as a solution to the one size fits all growth hacking phenomenon. Focus was shifted from the product to the customer to understand the differences in the potential user base. In customer hacking, efforts are made to first cater to the company’s best customers instead of putting in efforts to cater to all, including low value ones.
Peter Fader concludes by saying, a true customer focused growth strategy is about shifting your entire focus to identify the kinds of customers who have spent and will most likely continue to spend money with you for the foreseeable future, finding more like them, and not worrying so much about everything else.