What is growth hacking?

Growth hacking is an empirical way of working. It is a set of practices and strategies that aim, through experimentation, the uninterrupted growth of companies in different sectors.

This term may seem like a big novelty, but it is already a well-known practice in the market. And companies that want to accelerate their earnings have been adopting this strategy.

It is quite common to be applied in technology companies, especially in Saabs businesses. But its application is already becoming popular in other niches.

Some mysteries surround what growth hacking is and also its application. There is, at times, the understanding that it is necessary to radically change the company’s culture or even the profile of employees.

As a matter of fact, it is necessary to adapt, yes. Improve processes and also stay in tune with what the market and customers demand.

In this article, we’ll talk about what this strategy is, how it came about and how it can be applied in companies.

More than that, we will talk about the professional profile, the so-called growth hacker, and also the importance of structuring a funnel so that these strategies can have the desired effect.

Let’s check it out?

Good reading!

Understand what growth hacking is and how your strategies change the company’s culture.

Growth hacking: what is it and how did it come about?

  • Growth – Growth
  • Hacking – the act of exploring spaces and gaps (this, in English, is called “hack”).

This is an empirical way of working. Seeking business growth by experimenting, meeting existing best practices.

Even so, it is not necessary to promote a revolution in your business. After all, companies have – or at least should have – a sector (or professional) dedicated to identifying trends, right?

This term, incidentally, was created by Sean Ellis. In 2010. And, according to him, the most precise definition is “experiment-oriented marketing”.

Translating: the search for existing loopholes. This will generate strategies for its use, which will leverage the company’s growth.

Ellis was growth at Dropbox and Log Mein and also founded Quarto and Growth Hackers.

To reach this understanding, however, a lot of study was needed. Listen to the “pains” of different companies and reach some common points.

Such as:

  • Attempt of companies to innovate in the way of publicizing their services or products, fleeing from traditional marketing;
  • Rigor in data collection and analysis, with any decision-making being based on always accurate information;
  • There were professionals dedicated to identifying opportunities. These teams were formed by people from different areas, to always bring different views of the whole.

Growth hacking is thought out, planned and put into practice

It is the relentless search for triggers that can accelerate business growth.

To identify and exploit the opportunity. And keep repeating this same process as many times as possible in several other situations.

It’s much more scientific, based on metrics, research and observation than purely a blind “trial and error”.

It’s not something to be done without processes. Without any direction, nor without control of what is done.

Therefore, companies need to:

  1. Direct efforts to correct the company’s problems;
  2. Understand what the company’s objective is and seek improvements that meet it;
  3. Thinking, researching, studying ways to achieve these proposed goals and objectives and focusing on the best strategies;
  4. Find the best (cheapest and most efficient) way to put ideas into practice
  5. Monitor and measure everything that is done, ensuring that the process is always improved;
  6. Find ways to optimize the work and learn from what didn’t go as expected;
  7. Analyze everything that has been done and repeat the steps to get the best results, every time.

Look. There is nothing new, revolutionary. It’s still the way to work as we know it. Process-based. In focus. Constantly improving.

That’s what needs to happen.

No magic formula. But with determination and attention to detail. They appear and need to be identified and explored.

Later, we go a little further on this.

Find out the advantages of applying the method within the company.

The advantages of applying growth hacking in companies

Large companies – not necessarily in size – are always aware of what the market signals.

Even better, they have a great relationship with the customer. They always seek to improve processes and identify where they can grow and generate more value for those who dialogue with them.

Growth hacking exists to meet this demand. This need to always be more and better. To always be the locomotive within the segment in which it is inserted.

Therefore, we have separated 3 advantages of applying this method within organizations.

1 – Culture of constant improvement

A good application of the method requires monitoring everything that is done. It forces those responsible to be constantly attentive from the beginning to the end of the process.

From the idea that arises, to the way in which it can be tested, passing through its application and measurement of results.

Everything must be measured and reviewed constantly.

Remember, time is money. It’s cliché, yes, but true. And parallel to that, the problem that needs to be fixed, or the opportunity that has arisen, is “running”.

And you need to surround yourself with all the knowledge to be able to generate the best results as soon as possible.

Therefore, constant improvement, the search to be always better, is something essential.

2 – Sense of belonging

The sense of belonging increases the team’s productivity and engagement.

Especially when there is no growth hacking team or professional, it is necessary to bring together people from other areas to bring different views on the problem.

This will encourage the feeling of belonging in these professionals. They will feel important, after all, important strategic issues will pass through them.

What can and should also be reflected in engagement, in the search for better solutions for this moment.

Not only in the conception of ideas, but also when executing and following them up.

3 – Value to customers

The third benefit is actually “obvious”. After all, the strategies are aimed at customers benefiting from what is done. And the company, too, of course.

But all practices, thoughts, actions, corrections… everything that is oiled will focus on the customer.

It has to be that way. Always within the company’s mission, vision and values.

The goal is to make him so enchanted with the brand that he won’t have to, for example, spend so much on active prospecting for customers.

Therefore, it is recommended to even listen to what they have to say.

An NPS survey can help at this point. Speaking of which, we have an eBook with a complete guide on how to carry out this research. Download it by clicking here.

How to apply growth hacking in companies?

To be successful in the application, you can and must resort to technology. A good way is to use a CRM that doesn’t limit you to creating just one or two pipelines.

With good software, create a growth hacking funnel with well-structured steps.

And do it based on what Dave McClure defined as “the pirate’s funnel.”

This expression is a little strange, because he used the funnel abbreviation “AARRR” to name it. According to him, it’s the sound pirates make…

Well, whether it is or not, we don’t know.

But the truth is that the growth funnel is structured as follows:

  1. The acquisition or acquisition – actions to attract and delight the customer;
  2. A activation or activation – the moment when value is generated in the customer’s first experience with the brand;
  3. R detention or retention – the stage in which, being satisfied, customers follow consuming what the company sells;
  4. R avenue or revenue – the moment when consumers begin to generate revenue for the company;
  5. R referral or referrals – when the customer’s success is so great that he becomes an evangelist and indicates new customers.

If all these stages are fulfilled, then there will be a positive impact on the organizations CAC and LTV  as well as a reduction in the sales cycle .

But, to complete each step the way it should be, generating value for the prospect, it is necessary to pay attention to what is done.

Within this need, 3 steps are important to be followed.

1 – Generate ideas and select the best ones

It’s time to join the team to develop ideas that address your company’s problems.

As we said before, it is necessary to generate ideas to seek not only to correct defections but also to identify opportunities.

One of the ways to accomplish this is through benchmarking, analyzing who is a benchmark in the market.

Look from end to end how these companies position themselves in the market and where they have a stronger presence.

In some places there is a specific growth hacking team, or at least a designated professional.

But in other cases there isn’t. So, this analysis task can be left to the CEO or some outstanding manager.

Either way, once that is done, it’s time to bring together either the team or people from different areas to think of solutions.

An effective way that can help is to do a SWOT analysis – which will help to group ideas and make them more visual.

Make this clear: one way or another, record all the ideas generated. They, if not useful for the moment, can be useful in other situations.

After that, it’s time to choose the proposals that make the most sense for the problem.

For example: let’s think of a business that has MRR .

If there is a lot of churning in the company, then the focus needs to be on how to retain customers , not how to attract customers , right?

Take into account, when selecting the strategy, things like:

  • costs and difficulty of implementation;
  • The size of the impact this will generate (it has to be big to be worth it, right?);
  • the time it will take for the first results to come (consider the urgency of the issue);
  • difficulty in measuring and monitoring the actions taken;
  • Possibility to change the actions along the process.

2 – Find a way to apply what was thought

Before getting down to business, check if the ideas are viable.

It is now necessary to understand how the idea leaves the paper and can possibly be applied.

It is not yet time to get down to business. After all, you need to be strategic. Be careful when actions involve time, money and efforts of professionals in companies.

At this time, too, the science of growth hacking will be put into practice. And one of the most common is statistics.

For a better understanding, let’s go back to the example above. The need to retain customers. The cohort analysis help in this task, too.

A hypothesis is thus raised, based on why customers leave the company. One of them is the fact that the tool is too complex and, consequently, expensive.


“How about investing in customer cases from the same segment, showing how the tool works and how it made it have better results?”

And then the idea proposed was to make an info graphic of this story, while showing how the solution sold was used.

Now it’s time for questions:

How will this material be made? How will it be disseminated? How will we make the customer who wants to churn watch?

What speech will we adopt to deliver this video? What actions will we take afterwards?

We talked about statistics before, right? So it’s time to measure the test done.

Eye on performance

Then it’s time to test with a specific group of customers, one of the many types served and who are about to cancel their subscription.

Watch out for:

  • see if the email with that content was opened;
  • if the CTA present in it was triggered;
  • if the video was watched;
  • how long the video was watched;
  • if there was a response to this email;
  • whether there was customer retention after that;
  • How many customers have given up on leaving?

It worked? So it’s time to make this material and this same disclosure to all dissatisfied consumers.

Did not work? Then it’s time to identify the bottleneck and fix it. It can be at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the process.

It is time, too, to find out who will be assigned this task. In this example, probably responsible for customer success .

Of course. Everything must be taken into account. From the resources (financial and technological) used for this, as well as the cost of the designated professional. Does it make sense to be him?

Analyze, measure, review and find the best way to finally get your hands dirty for real.

3 – Put your hands dirty and follow what is done

Well, so you finally found the format that made customers stay with the company the most?

So, time to put it into practice for all consumers of all profiles, segments, etc.

You need to prove the hypothesis, so it is worth speeding up its application.

More than that, it is necessary to equip those designated for these tasks with time, financial resources and also the necessary tools.

It will be easier to apply the solution because everything will be defined and structured as it needs to happen. All it takes is organization and focus to bring results as soon as possible.

Everything that is done needs to take place in a context where it is possible to track and measure the effect of actions.

Let go until the end, even if at some stage things don’t go as planned.

Interrupting a process will only bring uncertainties about what might or might not work at that moment. An improvisation can, for example, solve a question very well.

Time to analyze

After the designated period for the experiment to bring solutions, it is time to analyze the information generated to find out if the actions were successful or not.

Right now, you have to let go of ego, vanity, whatever. The analysis needs to be fair, impartial, and free from any “passion” for what has been done.

It’s time to learn about the format of what was done, how it was delivered and also what was possible to learn through customer feedback .

If the strategy worked, great. But don’t just stick to the hit goal. Go step by step, inspect and understand the whys of success.

And if there was not the expected return, even more so. Also, take advantage of the example we mentioned, and try to talk to some of the customers who left your company sometime after this occurred.

Valuable insights can be gathered for you, when you restart this process, to do this as assertively as possible.

Did you know that you can discover a growth hacker within your team?

Who is the growth hacker?

There are some ways to have this professional in companies. He can be hired from other organizations within the business segment, of course.

This, however, will certainly be much more expensive, after all the best professionals are usually working somewhere.

But it can also be “created”.

Marketing professionals have, in general, a more adequate profile. At least that’s what Sean Ellis believes.

According to him, these people have the necessary knowledge. They dominate both the technical part and are also used to experimenting with hypotheses all the time.

In fact, there may already be someone acting like this within several companies, not knowing that they are being a growth hacker.

Identify opportunities, test solutions and measure what is done. This is all part of this professional’s mission.

And if this is happening in your company. If there is a person doing these activities, invest in them and retain that talent as soon as possible.

It doesn’t have to be just marketing. Everyone can and should follow this line of reasoning and action.

In sales, for example. The sales force must always be looking for initiatives that optimize the day-to-day work and bring the best results for the company.

Now transfer to all areas. When you least notice it, the entire company is being a “hacker”.

And the search for innovation and for being always better will be a constant, no longer an exception.

So, how can we help you?

Take the opportunity and read two articles that can help companies to be always more and better.

The first talks about how to create a business success mindset.

The second brings 6 tips on productivity at work for all sectors.

Good sales!