What is Growth Hacking?

If you are doing business in today’s age, you must have heard the term “Growth Hacking” a lot.Every growing company and startup is looking for growth hackers. But what does it really mean? And what is the advantage?

Understand what is Growth Hacking?

“Growth hacking means to grow your business, on a small budget, in a short time.”


Back in 2010, Sean Ellis, Head of growth at Dropbox, was looking to find his replacement. All he was getting were marketing candidates and he wasn’t satisfied. SO he coined the term “growth Hacker” and It quickly gained traction.

What does Growth Hacker do?

A growth hacker is someone who is concerned about achieving a goal instead of what path is taken to achieve that goal. As a result, hackers come up with unique and innovative ideas to get things done.

Growth hackers use innovative new ideas to help grow your business, test and analyze different ways to see what works best and repeat the same cycle.

The sole idea of growth hacking is to grow your business with minimum budget.

Growth Hacking vs Marketing

People often mix growth hacking with marketing. These two are not the same. Growth hacking is not an alternative to marketing. Infact, both compliment each other.

Also, it is not necessary for the growth hacker to be a marketer.A growth hacker can be a marketer, an engineer, a salesperson or whatever. A growth hacker’s sole purpose is growth. Every decision he takes must be to increase growth and nothing else.


  • A very good example of growth hacking would be of DropBox. In one of their campaigns, they mentioned “you can get 16gb free space for your Dropbox account if you invite your friends. That message spread like wildfire and soon drop box had thousand of new users.
  • Hotmail also used growth hacking to increase its users, by adding a “free email at Hotmail” link into users signatures.
  • Youtube made it very easy to embed its videos on any website

Again, testing is the key to growth hacking. Hypothesize, test and refine.

How can you start growth Hacking?

Most popular growth hacking methodology is to follow the Pirate Metrics.

Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, Referral (AARRR)


This phase focuses on creating Brand awareness, value, and visibility among a targeted audience. The purpose would be to increase your reach and see how the target audience reacts.


In this phase, you need to focus on customers having a great first experience, so they come back and slowly become a regular customer.


Retention phase, as names suggest, focuses to retain already acquired customers with new quality features, improvements, and offers.


This is where you start thinking about yourself. Start focusing on the idea of where you can start earning money and prioritize it, encourage your customers to start buying.


You simply start asking questions “would you refer our product to your friends?” make improvements based on the answers, Give referral bonuses and keep increasing.


Growth hacking is often criticized for encouraging a culture of shortcuts rather than developing a proper marketing strategy. It is also criticized for working in grey areas, as growth hacker’s sole goal is growth, often shortcuts are taken that are not ethical. That has also coined a new term “Growth Marketers” who believe to compete in the market fare and square, not bending the boundaries.


Like it or not, Growth Hacking is here to stay and is growing rapidly.

A good mix of growth hacking and marketing would take your business to new heights .

There is no book or rules to follow to become a growth hacker or how it is done. It can be learned by trying and testing new stuff. The good part is the failure won’t sting so much as it is a part of the growth hacking process.

Start hacking



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