There are a couple of definitions of “growth hacking.” Why is it crucial to know the exact meaning of the concept? How did Sean Ellis construe growth hacking? And what is the RevelX definition?

Before you set up your first growth hacking experiment, we have to come to an agreement about what that phrase means. Because growth hacking is about measuring, we have to be precise. So, if I write about “growth hacking,” what do I mean, exactly?

Growth Hacking According to Sean Ellis

Let’s dive into the history of the term “growth hacking.” It will help us truly understand the meaning of the concept. The phrase “growth hacker” was coined in 2010 by US entrepreneur Sean Ellis. In a now classic blog post in which he wrote about growing a business, he recommended the fresh concept of hiring or appointing a “growth hacker” instead of hiring a VP of Marketing.

Let’s have a look at Ellis’ definition of a growth hacker:

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

Growth Hacking the RevelX Way

Ellis’ thoughts on growth hacking, among others, inspired us to found RevelX. In the years since our beginnings in 2014, we have developed our own definition of growth hacking.

The RevelX Definition of Growth Hacking

At RevelX, we understand growth hacking as a means to expand business through a process of large and small iterations, based on experimenting, measuring, analyzing and adapting.

In my day-to-day work, I also use a more simple explanation of growth hacking, which is this:

Growth hacking is the answer to the question: What works and what doesn’t?

Noud van Alem

Growth hacking is often associated with exclusively digital information, but I don’t think that is correct. Growth hacking is also visible in the offline world, although the Internet makes experimenting much easier. An example would be to test what the best positioning is of a product in a brick-and-mortar store and then use the data to determine the best display spot in the store.

Furthermore, it’s not just about marketing. Human resources can also benefit from growth hacking to create a happier workforce. Growth hacking can also be used to optimize production facilities and logistics work flow.

Growth Hacking: How to Start?

Sometimes C-level managers ask me: “Noud, my organization is not a start-up anymore. Is it viable to hack growth for us?”

Or: “Is my company too small to deploy growth hacking effectively?”

Don’t be afraid. Growth hacking is suitable for any size organization. I learned to hack growth at Google, but today I also help mom-and-pop shops that want more customers.

In other words, growth hacking is a useful tool for any organization that wants to:

  • increase earnings;
  • work more efficiently;
  • cut costs.

Of course, there are some ground rules to make growth hacking a success in your organization. Let’s look at some of these that are important:

  1. Your organization should have a growth hack culture. Occasionally performing a test is not enough; implement a culture of experimentation. In other words, everyone in the organization should be aware of the need to experiment and be involved in it.
  2. You should hire the best and the brightest. One of the main success factors of every organization is the people that work there. As a business, if you want to excel, you will need excellent people. The requirements for the task of growth hacking are huge, as I described in another article.
  3. Your staff should have the right tools at their disposal. Growth hacking is continually iterating your product or service based on insights that they derive from data. That is only possible if your employees have the tools to collect and analyze the data at their disposal.

So now you have the basic knowledge about growth hacking, it is time to delve deeper into this subject. Watch this space, because I will tell you a lot about this fascinating topic in the coming months.

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