Growth hacking is not a new term in digital media. It has been around since 2010. It may have been around for nearly a decade but it is only in the last few years that it has gained popularity. But, what is it really? It is a highly specialised form of marketing where the sole focus is growth. A growth hacker’s job is to ensure the growth of his company and to do this he employs all the tools available to him including programming, analytics, and marketing.
Growth hacking has gained importance in recent years because of the rise of Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. However, that doesn’t mean that the discipline isn’t applicable to other sectors. Growth hacking can be used on any business.
So, if you’re planning to hire a growth hacker for your business then you can congratulate yourself for being ahead of the curve than most of your competitors. Your business will only benefit, however, if you get the right growth hacker. The newness of the field means that there’re a lot of people claiming to be growth hackers. However, the following tips should help you avoid costly errors.
#1: Consider the Marketing Knowhow of Prospective Growth Hackers
On the internet, there is a myth that traditional marketers cannot be growth hackers. The truth is the exact opposite of this misconception. Traditional marketers will always be well-poised to become growth hackers. The difference between them and growth hackers is one of focus and focus is something that can be easily changed.
Such is the importance of marketing knowledge in growth hacking that it is one of the most important things you’ll have to consider while looking at candidates. A growth hacker can be seen as the naturally evolved form of a traditional marketer.
A growth hacker cannot be effective in his job if he doesn’t understand the very fundamentals of marketing. This is why it is important for you to find candidates with a solid footing in marketing techniques and strategies.
#2: Find If they Possess Basic Programming Knowledge
Programming knowledge is also seen as intrinsic to growth hacking. The association with SaaS products is the main reason behind this. At the same time, growth hacking is about using the latest digital technologies to spur the growth of a company. While not impossible, it can be quite difficult to cope with the latest digital technologies without programming knowledge, especially at the level that growth hacking demands.
This is why you may want to ensure that the growth hacker you hire for your business possesses some level of programming knowledge at least. You will always have the option of supplementing his skills with a dedicated programmer but to even use such a resource a growth hacker will need to have a modicum of programming knowledge.
#3: Evaluate their Ability with Analytics
Analytics is an absolute must if you want to hire a growth hacker. This is an area where most traditional marketers differ from growth hackers. Growth hackers form a hypothesis, create an experiment on the basis of that hypothesis, and then tally up the results.
In order to form the hypothesis, they need data, which means analytics. They experiment with a hypothesis by evaluating the resulting data, which again means analytics. Finally, tallying up the results means collating various forms of data, which yet again means analytics.
Everything that growth hackers do has something pertaining to analytics somewhere. Analytics are important to growth hackers because of multiple reasons.
- The first is that analytics allow growth hackers to assess the efficacy of their activities.
- The second is that analytics often reveal fresh market intelligence and new areas of focus that the team may not have looked at otherwise.
- Another is that with the help of analytics, replicating what works becomes easier across multiple platforms.
- One more is that analytics play a predictive role for growth hackers where they can evaluate patterns and project future paths and directions.
#4: Assess their Core Strengths and Peripheral Abilities
As you may have surmised already, growth hacking is an amalgamation of multiple disciplines – analytics, programming, and marketing. Generally, growth hackers would have started out in one field and diversified to gain knowledge of others. This is how growth hackers are made and this is why no two growth hackers will be alike.
All of them have their own core strengths and peripheral abilities. Discovering this equation in each of your growth hacking candidates is in your best interest because it will reveal whether they’re suitable for your company, products, and sector or not. Every one of them may not be suitable for your specific requirements.
For example, there are growth hackers who specialise in taking businesses that are already growing to the next level. These types of candidates will have analytics as their core strength because they will assess your existing data and come up with solutions or modifications to improve your returns. These types of growth hackers are not ideal for start-ups because there is no data to analyse in the first place.
For start-ups, growth hackers will need to be more qualitative than quantitative. They’ll need marketing to be their core strength so that they can try techniques that haven’t been tried on your project but have worked in other businesses. They’ll put in place multiple such “punts” and analyse data created by all of them till they find one or more that work.
Similarly, if you have a series of SaaS products, then you’ll need a growth hacker whose core strength is the programming platform that your products are based on. This way he’ll know how he can use that technology to promote growth.
#5: See if they can Be Innovative
Innovation is very important in growth hacking. The best case studies of growth hacking have been those where the solution has been innovative and left-field in nature. While boosting traction and return in gradual increments can be beneficial, innovative solutions have the potential to create leaps that aren’t common.
Even though analytics is absolutely crucial for growth hackers, they also need to be able to look beyond numbers. There are always situations where statistics and numbers are either inconclusive or incorrect. In such scenarios, taking that leap of imagination or listening to the gut can make all the difference to solving a problem or overcoming a challenge.
#6: Measure their Persistence
Persistence is a very important trait of growth hackers because that is what is needed to focus on a single goal day in day out, week in week out for months at a go. While fun in the initial phase, it can get tiring very quickly. It is only through their complete devotion and commitment that they can be successful.
This is why when evaluating growth hacker candidates, you need to look at how persistent, headstrong, and persistent they are. You need to find one who will keep going even when everyone else, including you, is willing to give up. You’ll probably learn something from seeing their obsession firsthand.