Blog / Leadership & Transformation

Growth Hacking: Where to Start?

Not only a startup buzzword anymore, growth hacking is an important segment in the marketing domain that all digital business professionals should tame. Jordi Tomàs, professor of Digital Marketing in Global MBA in Digital Business, will present an outline of the concept and strategies it involves. In the world of online marketing, if you are not up-to-date, you're nobody. That's why we have to have a look at one of the most mainstream concepts in our sector: growth hacking. Growth hacking goes beyond the boundaries of traditional marketing, turning around strategies to achieve exponential user growth. Let's see what advantages it offers for a business.Growth Hacking is a trend that encompasses processes, programming and marketing strategies that began to be adapted in startups to maximize their growth, increasing the number of users with minimal investment and effort; however, many of the techniques are applicable to any business regardless of size or rotation. It is a goal (to always grow) and a path (systematic experimentation). Unlike digital marketing, Growth Hacking's ultimate goal is always growth. For example, in traditional digital marketing you could work on increasing engagement to improve the brand. On the other hand, if we worked on the engagement in Growth Hacking, it would always be oriented to increase the final growth of the business: more users who pay. In addition, Growth Hacking is transversal: it concerns the entire life cycle of the customer and his/her experience, not just acquisition (which is usually the focus of traditional digital marketing). That is why Growth Hacking seeks to grow rapidly both in the user base and in the retention of them.As you already know, Growth Hacking is intimately linked to the world of startup culture. This culture is characterized by analytics, tight budgets, creativity, and innovation. And it is in this context that growth hackers try to achieve exponential growth both in the customer base and in user retention. The profile of a Growth Hacker should include:
  • Knowledge of SEO and the Google algorithm in general
  • Knowledge about Analytics and about the interpretation of reports
  • Ability to manage social networks in a strategic context
  • Knowledge about how the Funnel works: Visitors, members and conversions.
  • Knowledge of blog management
  • Understand how Inbound Marketing works
  • Know the three “P's” of generating traffic: Pull, Push and Product
  • Specific knowledge on how users act on the network
  • Knowledge of programming (you do not necessarily have to be a programmer, but rather know how it works and is applied), also about API and Apps
  • Knowledge in A/B testing
  • Ability to generate business objectives
  • Ability to be creative, analytical, curious, investigative and obsessive about growth
One of the most used frameworks in Growth Hacking is the AARRR Framework, AKA Pirate Funnel. In one sentence, the AARRR Framework is the measurable process through which a visitor becomes a paying customer.The AARRR framework was created by Dave McClure, the founding partner of startup incubator 500 Startups in 2007. Since then, the framework has become a standard tool for marketers whose true north is growth, aka Growth Hackers. The AARRR framework is made of five phases a customer goes through, and each stage focuses on its own metric. Accordingly, these phases are:
  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Referral
  • Revenue
Answer the questions: where does the user come from? How does he/she find us? How much time does he/she spend there? Which channel provides higher quality traffic? At this point, it is essential to define content marketing strategies, SEM, SEO, email marketing or social media.Now, we must stay with those users who are really interested in what we offer. This is where we must find the answers to: have they had a good experience with your website and your product so that they return? Has the engagement strategy worked? We must measure whether users have subscribed to the newsletter, have added our pages to social networks, enter via a direct channel, etc.Once we are sure that we are offering our users what they are looking for, we must promote their return or, what is even better, retain them. We must know the answers to: what is the return frequency? how many times do they access in a specific period of time? by which channel is it more common for them to return? etc.Knowing if our user recommends us to his friends or mentions us on social networks without obtaining anything in return is important. Actually, it is a way to succeed and become a reference for other businesses. To achieve this goal, you must surprise the users and "hook" them, otherwise it will be difficult to design viral marketing strategies. Thanks to the reference we will be able to find out who is talking about us? What do they say? In what medium are they talking? What is the reason?All efforts end in getting a sale. We must turn every user into a customer, but not just any customer, but loyal customers. In this metric we will focus on the income we get for each user (on average) at the end of their journey on the web. We must take into account what percentage of users of the total that enter the web, end up converting. Likewise, it is highly recommended to perform a funnel to visualize in which step they fall from the process, in order to know what is failing and to be able to offer solutions in time.All in all, Growth Hacking is a proven strategy to attract qualified leads and retain them. Pirate Funnel is just one of the best-known frameworks at our disposal to grow the business by identifying its weakest point and certainly a point where you could start your Growth Hacking journey.

Make technology and innovation your allies by joining the next edition of Global MBA in Digital Business!

Jordi Tomàs Professor of the Global MBA in Digital Business C-Level Marketing Professional and Mentor


Zigurat Global Institute of Technology