How To Understand Growth Hacking In 5 Minutes






Growth Hacking is a very popular topic.

The Twitter statistics dashboard shows for example that the tweets dedicated to Growth Hacking are massively forwarded.

This is not very surprising.

Driven by the desire to contribute to the positive development of our societal ecosystems, most of us are creating their start-up.

And we all have this question: how to get to grow revenues exponentially and in record times?

This is the art of Growth Hacking.

Growth Hacking definitions are often complex.

This term, coined by Sean Ellis in an article he published in 2010, has become very popular, following a positive viral effect.

Its description should actually be simple.


Growth Hacking consists in deploying techniques and strategies to enable a brand to take off quickly.


The techniques are called hacks.

The simple fact, for example, to contact influencers on LinkedIn in order to make the promotion of a new digital product is a Growth Hacking technique.

Setting up pop-ups on a website to collect emails with the aim of increasing conversion rates through perfectly segmented newsletters is another.

Create an eCommerce site specialized in the distribution of a new type of porcelain is a third.

We could also mention: SEO, native advertising, campaigns on social networks, contests, quizzes, etc.

The list tends to infinity.

Growth Hacking > Where to start?

The hardest thing is not to develop techniques for Growth Hacking.

There are plenty of means to ensure the development of a brand: you will be spoiled for choice in terms of hacks.

There are indeed many hacks that already exist and have already proved their worth.

And there are countless hacks that do not exist yet but that you can create from scratch in order to develop your business.

No, what matters is not to find hacks to ensure the development of a brand.

This is to select THE hack or the right combination of hacks that will allow a start-up to take off.

Growth Hacking is often defined in opposition to Marketing. We often read that hackers are not marketers, but people who use techniques from Marketing in order to develop a brand.

People often tend to oppose the modern method called Growth Hacking to the traditional approach called Marketing.

Modernity versus Tradition.

This dichotomous view is probably wrong. It comes in every case from this intrinsically human trait to always want to define something in opposition with another.

The idea of perspective, rather than the idea of opposition, may shed a better light.

Growth Hacking, as its name suggests, focuses on growth. How to ensure that sales of a brand grow quickly?

Marketing, as its name suggests, focuses on the market. How to perfectly bring a product on a market and increase its market share?

Growth Hacking is often described as a process in which a product is developed while being tested in the design phase (during the product development process).

This may imply that this is not the case in the so-called traditional marketing process.

It’s wrong.

In many companies, especially in those where Marketing drives the business (Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L’Oréal, etc), many projects do not emerge because they do not pass the testing phase, the quantitative studies and focus groups.

The objective of Growth Hacking is rapid growth.

The purpose of Marketing is the gain of market share.

The strategy of a growth hacker will be to deploy marketing techniques (hacks) to quickly boost the business and the financial performance of the brand for which he works.

Growth Hacking adopts a rather short-term approach while Marketing rather focuses on mid-term and long-term targets.

The idea of Growth Hacking is to get the most possible sales, as soon as possible.

With an optimized customer acquisition cost, in order to maximize the margin.

To accomplish this, the question of timing is critical. Studies show that the topic which has the greatest influence on the success of a start-up, is timing.

growth hacking timing

Source : TED

Growth Hacking > Analyze the conversion funnel

Besides the timing, the conversion rate is at the heart of the process.

Hence the importance of dissecting this conversion funnel.

It’s very important.

All businesses begin with a certain number of visits. Some visitors will represent quality leads. Among these leads, some prospects will turn into buyers. And among these buyers, some will regularly conduct re-purchases.

We must correctly analyze the conversion rate by each of these steps.

A website could for example generate many visits but very few sales. It will then be crucial to understand what brakes the purchasing process. What blocks.

Another website can have exceptional conversion rates  visits  >>>  sales  exceeding 60%, while having a small volume of visitors. A significant increase in the influx of people visiting the website will then allow to drastically increase the volume of sales.

Growth Hacking > Capitalize on technology

Define a new term (Growth Hacking) in opposition to an older term (Marketing) leads to a hybrid mental representation that may not be much effective in terms of business.

Growth Hacking can be simply considered as a perfect complement to Marketing, as well as food supplements can perfectly boost the performance of a top athlete.

It is a matter of perspective.

A way of seeing things.

One thing is certain: Growth Hacking is a new phenomenon.

It was born with the internet revolution.

This was made possible thanks to all the new technologies that digital has recently created.

These technologies allow today to develop, test and launch products with much smaller budgets than in the past.

Online questionnaires can thus be set up in only one day, thanks to WordPress plugins (no need of quantitative studies conducted by institutes any more).

Social networks allow the free broadcast of a message in the space of a few seconds on a global scale.

A/B testing allows us to verify the results on a multitude of parameters and variables: titles, wording, colors, CTAs, pop-ups, etc.

The metrics provided by Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Webalizer or Jetpack allow to have dashboards.

Even if the results are completely different from one tool to another, which sometimes looks like having a series of compasses that do not give quite the same indications.

How funny.

The advantage of these techniques is that they are scalable. In other words, we can start establishing an economic ecosystem that can very easily and very quickly be transformed from a few thousand $ platform into a few millions $ platform.

Example: the expected turnover of Snapchat for 2016 was estimated at tens of millions of dollars => the digital experts predict TO in hundreds of millions for 2017.

The founders of Snapchat have perfectly thought their business model: they will succeed to pass the various steps of their business path without much obstacles.

The digital allows the manufacture and distribution of marketing contents in record times.

With social networking, a brand can benefit from a positive and massive virality effect.

That’s what happened to companies like Facebook, Snapchat, Spotify, Airbnb who did not have to spend multi-million dollar budgets to deploy marketing and communication campaigns to ensure the growth of their revenues.

The creation ex nihilo of such notoriety, by using traditional marketing methods such as advertising and TV spots, usually requires investments of several million dollars.

Hence the importance of being able to create innovative marketing contents that will ensure the promotion of a new product.


Growth Hacking > Select the market

A common advice is to begin by choosing a niche market. Then develop the adequate expertise. Become the best.

Then acquire a leading position. And develop this market.

In order to ensure that it becomes after a mass market.

This is the ideal path:  start small  >>>  think global  >>>  walk tall.

Ideally, the final goal would be to transform a niche market into a mass market.

Even if Growth Hacking has no monopoly on this idea: most consumer products were originally products sold in small quantities, on niche markets: Coca Cola was marketed in only one pharmacy, TV sets were reserved for the happy few, the first car was manufactured by only one brand, etc.

When creating a start-up, starting by selecting the right niche market may prove to be a very lucrative method in the long term.

Hence the necessity to carefully choose the right niche market.

Growth Hacking finally modelizes a set of very classic stages where early adopters will create a wave of opinion leaders who will themselves allow the creation of a mass market.

This modelization is very important. Most people buy what has already been purchased, what others are already buying.

And many people think like other people think.

That’s simple.

Growth Hacking > Drive your community

Growth Hacking will therefore particularly be interested in the people who will allow a brand to take off: the influencers.

Thanks to them, an entire community will adhere to a new product. Or a new idea.

This explains the emergence of a new field : influencer marketing.

One guy can save your life.

One guy can make a call and enable your start-up to blossom like you never ever dreamt of.

The question of the mentality of groups and organizations is essential. Each community is individual.

Every community therefore has its individuality.

The teams that do not work properly develop urban legends.

The teams that revolutionize our societies enter into legend.

The question of the control group is also crucial. If you test your product with a group of people, the sample must be representative. Otherwise it will not work.

For example, if you have designed a new type of precious stone and you decide to test it with a group of cads, it will not work at all.

Because of farcical and grotesque biases. This is evidence.


Growth Hacking > Test to find the adequacy

The idea of Growth Hacking is to test, re-test and re-re-test – in order to find the adequacy. And succeed.

One of the keys to this success is perseverance. The idea of never giving up.

On the one hand, there are plenty of hacks and marketing techniques.

But in the other hand, we are operating in economies where the purchasing power of many people has diminished.

It will be harder to sell something, simply because potential buyers have less money than before.

The infinity of tests is directly correlated to the infinity of possible hypotheses.

Implement comprehensive mind maps here will help in decision making.

Often, we will have to accept the fact that the winning hypothesis did not appear at all in the mental representation at the very beginning of the process.

Being ablto change one’s mind is crucial.

This is all about serendipity: the idea that the initial postulates eventually design a path that will lead to a completely unexpected destination – but equally successful.

In many businesses, there is a gap between forecast and reality as it materializes at the end.

It is about accepting, anticipating and enacting. And relying on the tests which have been executed.

But again: this test topic, so often linked to Growth Hacking and Web Marketing, is not a new concept.

Thomas Edison had to make dozens of failed tests before creating a successful product that would revolutionize our civilizations.

If you do not give up, if you persevere and if you continue to test relentlessly, you too will find your bulb.


Growth Hacking > Automate in order to be able to prioritize

The question of automation is also at the heart of Growth Hacking.

The more you automate secondary tasks, the more you can focus on priority tasks.

The priority is to realize all the webmarketing tests which will enable the implementation of a successful digital ecosystem and business model.

Digital technologies allow the use of an impressive amount of tools to automate many processes.

Wich allows us to really give the priority to what is the most important. 

Growth Hacking > Always prioritize the product first

Growth Hacking should in no way obscure following essential fact: you need a product in line with a market.

You can master hacks and marketing techniques to perfection, but if the product is of mediocre quality or if there is no market-fit (a match between a product and a market), you will not reach your objectives.

Whatever the quality of your Growth Hacking strategy.

Because there will be a mismatch.

And economy hates mismatch above all.

That’s life.

The ideal steps and foundations are the following: Hype, Tribe, Fans.

A great product that provokes a phenomenon. A community that generates unbelievable enthusiasm.

And fans who promote the product to everyone around them, much better than sales representatives would do.

A hype. A tribe. And fans.

Something really cool.



Written by Jerome Perrin