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What the Heck is #GrowthHacking?

On March 27th, 2014, I’ve been invited to host a panel on Growth Hacking at the Startup Marketing Conference in San Francisco.

Read this blog to learn more about Growth Hacking, the amazing cast of panelists and the conference.

Startup Marketing Conference  - Growth Hacking


What put me off the term #GrowthHacking initially was that – for me – the word “hacking” carries a negative connotation a la Anonymous. But I have since been educated that the word “hack” nowadays simply means breaking existing rules for growth. I am all for rule breaking, as long as nobody gets hurt. The term also refers to using digital marketing for growth, I think….. Frequently mentioned in the context of #GrowthHacking are the terms: measurement, metrics, analytics, growth.


  • “Startup advisor and marketer Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacker” in 2010.In the blog post, Ellis defined a growth hackers as “a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”

MORE VOICES ON THE TERM Jack Mardack, panelists on 3/27/14, is a classic growth hacker, according to his LinkedIn profile:

  • “I’ve helped a number of early-stage web companies grow quickly by leading the installation of measurement and building a “growth analytics” practice, then leveraging those data insights through a program of experimental product development and testing to achieve growth effects in every area of the funnel.”

In his blog: To Growth Hack or Not Growth Hack David Whitaker offers different opinions on the term:

  • Combining the art of marketing with the science of product engineering. “Growth hacking”, promises to drive exponential growth for all who master it.”
  • “However, not all are convinced. Their detractors claim that growth hacking is nothing more than hype, and that the same results can be achieved through traditional methods, like “direct marketing,” “inbound marketing,” or just plain marketing.”
  • It’s “more of a mind-set than a toolkit”

Kerry Butters writes in The Truth about Growth Hacking and How to use Growth Hacking:

  • The terms implies a “strong emphasis on user growth and engagement
  • “A growth hacker is creative, yet also analytical; they will have a background that allows them to get the best value for the client out of the products and services that a company sells.”

I like this definition by David Whitaker best:

“Growth Hacking is a methodology of increasing user acquisition through clever marketing (yes, it is marketing), intuitive product development, and in-depth analytics. The goal is to achieve measurable growth, with the lowest acquisition cost, and to optimize results over time.”

No doubt, #GrowthHacking is a “hot” term. Just skimming Twitter shows you:

So, is #GrowthHacking simply GOOD marketing? How is it different from Digital Marketing? Expect to find answers to these and other questions on 3/27/14 at the #StartupMarketingConf during our panel discussion:


On March 27, 2013 at Startup Marketing Conference, I will moderate the Keynote Panel: Get More Users with Digital Marketing and Growth Hacking: Best Expert Advice from Both Worlds.

The Panelists

This will be an advanced take on the topic where the panel – leaders in the field – will cover the latest digital marketing strategies and growth hacks.  We all plan to open the kimono on our own best practices that have generated repeatable and scalable growth.  So no time for theoretical discussions, this is hands on stuff.

Topics we intend to cover:

  • Digital marketing vs. growth hacking: what’s the difference?
  • How to identify, acquire, and engage your target audience
  • Ways to turn your fans, followers and likes into qualified leads (even sales)
  • Beyond the basics: advanced social media and growth tactics for the pros
  • Best kept community management secrets will be revealed

If there are any burning questions you’d like us to cover, please comment on this blog or contact me @NaThomson, @JeanetteG, @2hp,@mfitz0705, or @VanessaCamones via Twitter.

See you at the Startup Marketing Conference.

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      Wow, another term to learn

      I look forward to hearing your insights from this event

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author


      it was great and Sean Ellis is a very smart and nice man.

      Here the blog I wrote as the wrap up:…

      We are doing a BrightTalk webinar on the topic on 6/12, Sean will participate :0-).