Growth Hacking with Pirates:


If you're even remotely involved in marketing (newbie or veteran), you've likely encountered the term "growth hacking." It's become somewhat of a buzzword, but what does it truly mean? Let's cut through the confusion and shed light on the growth hacker role ā€“ you'll be able to explain it with confidence by the end of this article.

Bonus alert!Ā  We've got a treasure waiting for you at the end (but resist the urge to skip ahead!).

The Birth of a Growth Hacker

The year was 2010, and enter Sean Ellis, a marketing whiz facing a familiar startup challenge: achieving explosive growth. Dropbox, his workplace, boasted a fantastic product, but user acquisition remained sluggish. Traditional marketing felt slow and cumbersome. Ellis craved a more agile, data-driven approach.

Out of this need for innovation, a term was born. In a blog post titled "Find a Growth Hacker for Your Startup," Ellis described a new breed of marketer ā€“ one obsessed with measurable results and rapid experimentation. This individual wouldn't be confined to traditional channels; they'd be a hybrid, wielding a blend of marketing savvy, analytical prowess, and creative problem-solving skills. Ellis christened this revolutionary role: a Growth Hacker.

The term resonated with the startup world. It perfectly captured the essence of what many were already striving for: a growth-obsessed approach that transcended departmental silos and embraced constant experimentation. Growth hacking became a movement, a philosophy that continues to shape how startups approach user acquisition and retention today.

Growth Hacking: Mastering the Customer Journey

So, what exactly does a growth hacker do, and what metrics do they own? The simplest explanation comes from Dave McClure's Pirate Metrics framework(AARRR): Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue (now extended to include Resurrection).

Money Gold GIF by happydog

Gif by HappydogStickers on Giphy

Here's a breakdown of these Pirate Metrics and how a growth hacker optimizes each stage:

  • Acquisition: This is all about getting users to your product or service. Growth hackers utilize tactics like content marketing, SEO, SEM, paid ads, influencer marketing, and more to attract potential users.

  • Activation: Once you've acquired users, you need to get them to actually use your product. Growth hackers employ strategies like free trials, onboarding tutorials, and other methods to convert users from passive visitors into active participants.

  • Retention: Keeping users engaged is crucial. Growth hackers leverage email marketing, push notifications, loyalty programs, leaderboards, and other tactics to ensure users find value and keep coming back for more.

  • Referral: This is the holy grail of marketing ā€“ happy users referring your product or service to others. Growth hackers create incentives and opportunities for users to become brand advocates, driving organic, cost-effective growth.

  • Revenue: The ultimate goal ā€“ turning users into paying customers. Growth hackers analyze user behavior and implement strategies to convert free users into paying ones.

  • Resurrection: Not all users are lost causes. Growth hackers can revive dormant users by offering new features, freebies, or targeted promotions.

Mastering the Flywheel

A growth hacker owns this entire customer journey, often visualized as a flywheel. They meticulously analyze each stage, identifying low-hanging fruit for optimization and more importantly Innovation. Their ultimate goal?Ā  Fueling business growth by increasing revenue.

Enjoying the Ride So Far?

We appreciate you sticking with us! As a reward for your attention, here's a special bonus:Ā a 100-page PDF titled "The Definitive Guide to Growth Marketing" by Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor.Ā This resource dives deeper into growth hacking, providing detailed explanations, tools, and tactics you can implement in your own business or workplace

Did this edition change how you think?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Growing On My Way GIF by Yeremia Adicipta