Chapter 15Growth Hacking

The term growth hacking is shorthand for innovative marketing approaches that are best known for establishing and optimizing acquisition tactics—often with social functionality within the product or service—as an alternative to traditional paid media. Growth hackers are typically technical marketers who specialize in optimizing experiences such as landing pages and e-mail campaigns through activities such as A/B testing, which compares how two versions of an experience perform relative to each other. Growth hackers also scrutinize the product or service for opportunities to bake in marketing calls-to-action and other experiences that can drive awareness virally and fuel new customer acquisition. Sean Ellis, founder and CEO of Qualaroo, a website survey technology company, coined the term in 2010 to describe a set of marketing tactics used at start-ups whose mind-set was “growth first, budgets second.”1

At an Agile Marketing Meetup in San Francisco, Ellis presented a case study on how he's applied growth hacking to his work as a marketer.2 His approach is based on his extensive experience running growth teams at LogMeIn, DropBox, EventBrite, and Lookout. There is a lot to know about growth hacking, but Ellis focused on a practice known as “high-tempo testing” that ties into some of the Agile practices that we've covered. This practice sets a target for the number of tests that get run in a specific period or sprint.

Ellis recounts how increasing the number ...

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