What is Growth Hacking?

The term “Growth Hacking” in recent years is becoming increasingly well-known.

“Growth” has been one of the fastest growing words in professional terms.

Many companies have built “Growth Marketing” or “Product Growth” teams.

But the focus has not been on teaching more about Growth, but rather Product or Project Management.

“Growth Hacking” is a very important vertical that should not be forgotten.

Here we will cover how Growth Hacking came about, what it means, and how we can find out more about it.

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking is a methodology that relies on Data to create Experiences that help us lead the way to Growth.

Growth Hacking is a term that is based on the methodology of experimentation.

But this term does not live alone.

We need to have this mindset within us, and so we need to cultivate this growth mindset.

This mindset, if it is based on true facts, statistics and a methodology will help us achieve the Growth we need.

The Growth Hacking methodology is different from traditional marketing for one simple reason, because it focuses on all phases of the customer journey from A to Z.

This means that if we are defining a customer’s journey based on a Marketing Funnel, such as the AARRR Funnel (Pirate Funnel), we will focus on all phases equally, instead of only looking at Acquisition, as is natural in traditional marketing.

The most common way to look at this Funnel is as follows 👇

There are 5 simple Phases: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Return, and Referral.

How did it all get started?

This term, or methodology, was established by Sean Ellis between 2006 to 2008 (there is no exact date).

Sean Ellis is considered to be the driving force behind the Growth Hacking methodology.

Early on Sean worked in companies in Sillicon Valley, starting in sales and then focusing on helping businesses to scale.
One of the first businesses he worked on had a good product, but no users.

So he decided to focus on growing the user base of this product.

And so began his journey of becoming a Growth Hacker.

As time went by, he assimilated all the strategies he was building, and understood that if they were applied to other businesses, they could get the same or better results.

Since Sean was one of the first people to focus only on the growth area, one day he was asked what he does professionally, to which he replied: “I’m Growth Hacking Businesses”.

Since then the term “Growth Hacking” became associated with Sean Ellis.

The way Sean Ellis himself describes this methodology is as follows:

Experience-Driven Marketing

Sean Ellis

There are several ways to achieve the Growth objectives we seek, but at its genesis, everything leads to the same thing: the statistical data that guide us to Growth.

The Methodology

How is this methodology developed?

This mindset is supported by a methodology (framework) that is based on rapid experimentation, focused on “Growth Cycles” and the so-called “Product/Market Fit”.

  1. Product/Market Fit
  2. Growth Loop

We will start with the “Product/Market Fit”.

PMF is a methodology that allows us to understand if the product or service we are offering has any kind of connection to the market.

Only after we understand if the PMF will work can we focus on the next steps, and on building our “Growth Cycles”.

The PMF to start with has to be defined by the Business Model Canvas. Read more about BMC here.

This type of methodology before being tried requires us to study the market, to understand if it is worth investing the time and resources necessary to achieve success.

Growth Hacking is based on a pyramid, and we call this the “Growth Pyramid”.

After establishing our foundation, we move on to the second part.

“Growth Cycle”.

The Growth Cycle is a cyclical framework, focused on 5 Phases:

  1. North Star Metric (North Star).
  2. Analysis
  3. Ideation
  4. Prioritization
  5. Testing

The Growth Cycle has a very unique purpose.

That of making us understand what is the main Objective to work towards, the so-called “One Metric That Matters” or “North Star Metric”, or there are even those who only like to focus on KPIs.

Generally speaking, what is important is that a single, concrete, and simple-to-understand goal is defined.

Then, when we move on to the Analysis phase, we will study what has already been worked towards that goal and how far we are from achieving that same result.

The Ideation phase follows where we will collect as many ideas as possible to test our goal.

These ideas will be divided by a Prioritization phase, where we will define which are the main ideas to be worked on and how they will be structured.

At Growth Hacking School we have a Template to work on these ideas, like this one:

That’s why this is a Growth Cycle, because we are working until we reach our Goal.

If you want to learn more about how you can build a Growth Hacking strategy, we have the ideal course for you: Growth Hacking Fundamentals Course.

Summarizing Growth Hacking is a never ending Cycle.

That’s why it is so challenging, because we will never stop growing!


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