Growth Hacker Marketing – A book review

Growth Hacker Marketing is the third book from Ryan Holiday I’ve read in 2014. It’s about people, he calls growth hackers, who have thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable.

With the rapid change in technology over the past 10 years and the behavioural change in the way consumers search, do research and shop, growth hackers have grown tired of doing the same things over and over again, hoping for different results.

The tools used by growth hackers are different to those used by traditional marketers. They prefer e-mails, pay- per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money.

While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like “branding” and “mind share”, growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth – and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users.

In this book Ryan aims to show that marketing will need to get smaller, and it even needs to change its priorities. Our job as marketers today isn’t going to be helping some big boring company grow 1 percent a year, but creating a totally new brand from nothing using next to no resources. Marketing is not a self- contained act that begins towards the end of a company’s or a product’s development life cycle, but instead it is a way of thinking and looking at your business.

The new marketing mind- set begins not a few weeks before launch but, in fact, during the development and design phase.

PMF. Product Marketing Fit

An interesting topic in the book is about product market fit. Too often marketing strategies fail, because marketers start with a product nobody wants or nobody needs. Marketers have for years, tolerated and accepted this scenario as part of their job. Growth hacking rejects this obviously flawed approach completely, because marketing as we know it is a waste of time without PMF.

Product Market Fit (PMF). That is, the product and its customers are in perfect sync with each other.

Mind Shift

In the world of growth hacking, failure is acceptable, because the costs associated with the failure are much less than with traditional marketing. So it is ok to learn as you go. This makes the move from traditional marketing to growth hacking much easier to accept. But it still requires boldness on the part of the marketer to agree that what they have been doing is not working anymore. Instead marketers need to replace their old strategies with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable.