• USARugger

    “Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the
    traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and
    answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email
    deliverability, and Open Graph.” -From the Chen article

    So they’re a hybrid of marketer and coder that apparently does none of the things a coder or software engineer does and instead does stuff that literally every half-decent digital marketer does? Oh, okay.

    Thanks for taking the time to point out the alarmingly blatant logical fallacies in that article, it was a great read.

  • AzzamS

    My MD (marketing director) registered one-name brandable domains for our national company in 1995. As a traditional marketeer he has build the online revenue of multiple sites to over £30M a year.

    Does he use data, econometrics, analytic, goals, funnels, etc. Of course he does and always has. When direct marketing and newspaper marketing was the medium to grow the offline business everything was done via post, fax and recorded in a spreadsheet for reporting, the internet speeded up the process.

    Our board gives us a (monetary) target every year (I am SEO and Social Media guy) and wants to achieve that target, obviously. Now it is our job to squeeze that money out. The obvious thing for us to do is to use our experience in traditional marketing and apply it online and funnel SEO, PPC, email, social media marketing into the sales funnel. As we go along we track, monitor and optimize for better conversion.

    Nothing different going on here folks then the obvious to keep us in a job. Our tradtional boss does not care about the gimmicks, he just wants to give us a £1 and spend it wisely to bring in revenue. Can not blag him and boost about Facebook fans, twitter followers, SEO visitors, etc. He just wants to see the £ note at the end of the month.

  • http://www.silvar.net/ Miguel Silva Rodrigues

    Good follow up; agreed 100%

  • Samuel Hulick

    I won’t claim to know what Sean Ellis “really” meant by what he said, but I can say that my interpretation is close to yours, yet also its inverse: when you take it to mean “that growth should be one of your marketing objectives,” I think you have it backwards.

    The sustainable growth of highly-engaged users is not “a” marketing objective, it is the primary objective of the entire company. A thriving, robust, and growing user base is THE determining factor of a healthy startup. For growth to be relegated to merely one of many “marketing initiatives” is, I think, selling it quite short.

    The primary voices promoting the idea behind growth hacking aren’t doing so to put rigorous, results-oriented marketers out to pasture. It’s the opposite – they want the *entire company* to absorb their thinking.

    People who have been practicing this for years have a significant opportunity to elevate their influence and educate those eager to learn. I wish that opportunity was met with enthusiasm rather than isolationism; those who go the latter route are shorting everyone, especially themselves.

  • seanellis

    Overall, the article does a good job of representing my view, but I definitely agree with the extension that you added Samuel.

  • seanellis

    Thanks Muhammad for writing a follow up post clarifying some of the differences in opinion about what a growth hacker actually is. I think we probably agree on a lot of things and that the major difference in our opinion is about the need for a “new” term in the first place.

    When I came up with the term I felt that “marketing” amazingly had a branding issue. At the time I was in Silicon Valley and it definitely had a branding issue there. Over time I found myself increasingly agreeing with the criticism of marketing by the engineering led Silicon Valley ecosystem. There were/are countless articles and presentations on why “marketing” was bad for startups. I heard Om Malik say this in a presentation, heard Vinod Khosla hint at it to a startup I was advising and we’ve all seen Fred Wilson’s recent article (though he’s in NY).

    I believe the issue was because most marketers were trying to exclude the rest of the organization by confusing them with jargon and acronyms. These are also the same people that often celebrate marketing creativity for creativity’s sake. But there was another group of “marketers” that were more purist in their focus on growth and seemed to work better alongside engineers. These were the people that startups really needed. They couldn’t afford the other group of marketers. I wanted to distance myself from the first group and ally myself with the second. I also wanted to identify and help recruit people from the second group into startups where I had equity. So I met with a couple of like minded friends and re-segmented marketing with a new term. One of the friends doubted we could coin a term and make it stick. I disagreed.

    So the “class divide” you mention in the article was definitely my intention. Your not the type of marketer that I was trying to distance myself from though.

  • moovd

    Growth hacking is a part of marketing. It doesn’t matter who’s doing it. You need someone with a marketing hat on. You need a coder. If the marketer can code they can growth hack. If the coder can figure out marketing they can growth hack. Growth hacking is six word simple. Leverage your product to market itself.

  • http://www.kaintietzel.com/ Kain Tietzel

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Growth Hackers aren’t rock stars – we’re just musicians using data and intelligence to make music more compelling and more accessible.