How often have I answered the question “Hendrik, how have you heard about Growth Hacking the first time“? No idea.
Just a few days ago, I answered the question 3 times, while standing at the coffee machine on a Growth Hacking coaching day for a corporate accelerator program in Düsseldorf.
Unfortunately, the answer is a bit boring. You can read it in my book – but that’s probably not why you’re here.
Instead, I’ll give you a full-blown head start – so that you can understand what Growth Hacking actually is, and get introduced to some of Europe’s Top Growth Hackers.
What the F**k is Growth Hacking?
„A Growth Hacker is a person whose true North is Growth“ – Sean Ellis.
I am pretty sure that you will immediately think about that colleague whom you have often wondered what he or she is doing in this moment or has achieved the last week.
You might even think of several colleagues immediately, right? Too many people and tasks around, you have no clue if it is worth it to have them in the team?
Okay, next example.
Is there a task that you have done or might have done in the last 2 months, you may have been wondering all the time what impact that might have on your company’s Growth?
By the way, these questions are not only common in big companies and corporations with hundreds or thousands of employees.
The same goes for the majority of startups. Here, for example, hundreds of e-mails are sent out without measuring how many users they really reached or knowing how much revenue was generated from them. Maybe they should have invested this time in something completely different? Who knows…
Of course, you can also apply that to your household. If my wife, just before I start cooking, scrubs the stove clean, that does not make much sense, in my opinion. But well, that’s another story. Better to stop here 😉
Means, the big challenge for startup founders or executives in large companies is to steer everything – really everything – in the right direction, in the direction of growth.
And that’s exactly what Growth Hacking is all about.
Let’s take a closer look at the two terms:
Means growing something, or increasing the value of something. In terms of business models or startups, the steady growth of the number of users, as well as the turnover or the profit margin is meant. Nothing new so far, right?
To hack into a system means penetrating into a system. At first glance, nothing incredible, right? But in combination with Growth?
It is important to understand that a Growth Hacker always follows a specific goal.
In order to achieve this goal he has to try countless ideas, methods and helpful tools on countless target objects. A Growth hacker does not have to stick to given processes or rules.
Rather, he also has to regularly think very creatively to achieve his goal. Experience, know-how, endurance and creativity are essential skills there. A Growth Hacker is a master in Trial and Error.
Let’s get it all together and finally come to my very own definition of growth hacking:
Growth hacking is a constant optimization process. It is about the perfect synchronization of the team-roadmap to achieve the overall Growth goal. The 4 disciplines of product development, business model, creative marketing and execution speed are taken into account. Unfortunately, there is never a single growth hack that shoots a startup or corporate overnight into the unicorn sky.
I have summed up that process within our Growth Hacking Process V3.0.
Passion never fails
Even these basics get constantly challenged. This could also be due to the fact that Growth hacking itself has no “traction” in Germany.
Why do I know that? Quite simply, because in 2017 I was allowed to coach around 900 participants in Growth Hacking.
Of all attendees, about 30% had never heard of the term “growth hacking” before.
Approximately 50% already knew it and said something like “creative and free online marketing hacks from the startup world”.
The remaining approx. 20% knew that the disciplines “tracking, automation and the right user targeting” are also very important for a successful Growth Hacking environment.
So far so good…
Looking back, my initial Growth idea for my personal brand was to organize a Growth Hacking Bootcamp every month in another German city. In total, we have successfully completed 31 bootcamps in the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich, Bonn and Stuttgart in the last 24 months. These bootcamps are not a great cash cow, but a very useful method to spread the Growth Hacking idea around Europe. Moreover, a useful tool to heat up the Growth Hacking Spirit to as many willing Growth Hackers as possible.
But very exhausting to do this alone, honestly.
Behind the scenes story
When I set my business goals for 2018 a few weeks ago and stuck the Post-It on the wall saying „Growth Hacking Speaking Gig in US,“ I noticed pretty quickly:
- I can not do it alone. I need a community of Growth hackers to get „traction“ on our favorite topic in Europe, finally.
- A community of Growth Hackers in Germany alone will not be big and strong enough to be interesting for the US. That must be at least Europe.
So this year I plan my bootcamps also internationally. No problem. The 1st Growth Hacking Bootcamp in Vienna in January was sold out completely and therefore a huge success. So happy! In addition to the major German cities in 2018 Zurich, Amsterdam, Paris and yet another international bootcamp will be added. In parallel, I will have my book translated into English…So far my idea list.
Pretty much Gary Vaynerchuk Hustle, right?
But, do you know what? I got it very quickly by my self, no worries… 😉 This challenge will probably not be enough. We need something cool, big and scalable, my growth hacker mind told me…
Europe, here we come!
And then I got it! To be honest, I was inspired by my personal growth hacker champion Neil Patel. He regularly hosts online summits in the US, with himself or with top speakers who simply stream their sessions from their office, across the web, into the world. And attendees can just as easily attend from home or office.
That’s cool. That’s innovative. That’s scalable. That fits perfectly with the Growth Hacker Image, right?
This is the chance to be able to spread the Growth Hacking Spirit across Europe, right? And best of all, nobody will complain about the non-tasty food you get on conferences 😉
The Growth Europe Summit – Featuring Europe’s top Growth Hackers
So in 2018, we organized the Growth Europe conference. The goal? Spreading the growth hacking spirit, learning from each other, and be inspired.
Here are Europe’s Top Growth Hackers that you can follow and learn from. If you miss somebody, please let us know in the comments…
Kevin Indig, G2
Kevin is an SEO expert that funneled his experience towards creating wholistic growth for SaaS products. Kevin on Linkedin
Talia Wolf, GetUpLift
Talia is one of the leading conversion specialists, combining customer driven growth with technical knowledge. Talia on Linkedin
Ben Sufiani, Pirate Skills
Ben is one of Germany’s leading Growth Marketing experts, specialized in building exciting customer journeys, fueled by content and ads. Ben on Linkedin
Maxime Pico, Save My Customers
Maxime is hunting for the holy grail of the startup world: Product-market fit. Maxime is one of the leading early-stage testing and acquisition experts. Maxime on Linkedin
Izzi Smith, Sixt
Izzi is a leading corporate SEO manager who has mastered technical SEO for growth. Izzi on Linkedin
Leonardo Saroni, Booking
Hailing from one of the fastest execution-driven corporates from Amsterdam, Leonardo is a leading SEO and Growth Expert. Leonardo on Linkedin
Chris Out, RockBoost
Dutch entrepreneur Chris Out has built several high-performing growth teams. He is an expert on building teams that can get a company to 10x. Chris on Linkedin
Job Plas, eyeo
Having grown AdBlock Plus to a major challenge for the publishing industry, Job is one of the leading experts for organic app growth. Job on Linkedin
Instagram is one of the hottest growth channels in B2C right now, and Andrea is one of Europe’s leading Instagram experts. Andrea on Linkedin
Starting with Idealo, Pip has built an impressive portfolio over the years. He is a leading consultant for Rocket internet and has advised and built countless ventures in Germany’s startup scene. Pip on Linkedin
Frequently Asked Questions about Growth Hacking
What is meant by growth hacking?
Growth Hacking is a process that aligns Product Development, Marketing and Customer Success around the fast execution of ideas, with the goal to grow a business. Growth hacking combines disciplines from lean management, IT and data sciences in order to make fast, data-driven decisions.
Who invented growth hacking?
The term „Growth Hacking“ was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010. Sean Ellis worked with companies such as LogMeIn, Uproar and Dropbox. We took the original definition of Sean and extended it with „it´s also possible for non-digital companies…“ 😉
What does a growth hacker do?
A Growth Hacker works on tasks that, traditionally, are considered marketing, product development and project management. Growth Hackers plan ideas with a hypothesis of why they could drive growth, execute and measure these ideas. Growth Hacking is a process of constant iteration.
How do I become a growth hacker?
Growth Hackers mostly come from either Digital Marketing or Product Development. In order to acquire the skillset of a growth hacker, we recommend to start by reading Sean Ellis „Hacking Growth„, and subsequently join trainings (online or offline) to expand the skillset.
What is growth hacking in digital marketing?
Digital Marketing is a part of Growth Hacking. While Digital Marketing mostly focuses on activities on the top of the funnel, Growth Hacking takes into consideration the entire funnel, making sure that the most effective measures to drive growth are taken.
How much do growth hackers make?
Depending strongly on company and location, the salary of a Growth Hacker is comparable to a similarly senior Marketing Manager. Because their knowledge can be more technical and in more demand in technology-driven businesses, salaries can even be slightly higher.
What are the best books or web resources on Growth Hacking and User Acquisition?
Sean Ellis – Hacking Growth
Raymond Fong – Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret
Is Growth Hacking nonsense?
Since Growth Hacking became a buzzword, many non-reputable companies joined the race. But growth hacking is a discipline that has strongly gained professionalization and is definitely not nonsense!
What is a growth hack?
A Growth Hack is a business activity with the intent to drive growth. It is built on a hypothesis on why it can create growth, the metrics that measure its success and the eventual results. Growth Hacks rely on fast execution and constant iteration. Once a „Hack“ gains traction, it is build out more extensively and eventually becomes part of the overall marketing and product strategy.