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What does a Growth Manager do? And what is a Growth Lead?

Growth hackers, growth marketers, growth managers, growth leads - the terms in the "growth world" are confusing. In this article, I explain what a Growth Manager does.

Growth hackers are sought after by many companies. Growth Hacking (German) has established itself as a discipline between marketing, product and customer service. But what is a Growth Manager?

What is a Growth Hacker?

To understand the Growth Manager, we first need to define a Growth Hacker. If you already know this, you can also jump directly to Growth Manager by clicking here.

„A Growth Hacker is a person whose true North is Growth.“ Sean Ellis, founder of Growthhackers.com

This description by Sean Ellis, the founder of the growth hacking platform Growthhackers.com, does not, in my view, get it enough.


Because a growth hacker usually doesn’t work in a vacuum. Of course, a growth hacker must be fully aligned with user growth. But ultimately also his entire environment. Otherwise he is without chance and will not be able to achieve his goals.

The iterative Unlock Growth Process for Growth Hackers and Growth Managers:

1. Understand where the biggest potential is: Product? Marketing? Team? CRM?
2. Generate ideas to leverage that potential!
3. Validate most promising ideas by executing in highspeed experiments…Start again 😉

More than 400 companies worked with this template to generate growth results faster…Download it here for free:

The Skillset of a Growth Hacker

What impact does this decision have on the goal of maximum growth?“ is the key issue for any growth hacker. Sometimes inconvenient, but ideally, this will make prioritization easier for decision-makers.

„Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder.“ Andrew Chen, Uber’s growth hacker

This definition by Andrew Chen is also not wrong, but it is not completely complete either.

Of course, a growth hacker must be a good and, above all, creative marketer. If he can then also program additionally or at least has learned to read code or talk to programmers directly on an equal footing, this will help him enormously.

For example: No growth hacker in the world wants to have to wait for the installation of a Google Adwords Conversion Pixel on a landing page. The own skillset and of course the technology stack used must make it possible to access the source code of the websites or the content management system at any time.

But why is andrew Chen’s definition not complete? I’m sure you can also think of some features that a growth hacker should necessarily have. Personally, I definitely add the features of all-rounder and, above all, data nerd.

Why all-rounders? In fact, the IT world is always looking for specialists and not generalists. In addition, my grandpa always said, „Someone who can do anything can’t do anything right.“ Today I know that my grandpa as a craftsman was actually a generalist and could really do anything by hand. And that was a good thing 😉 Because he was able to solve most of the artisanal issues himself.

T-Shape Skills: Necessary Marketing Skills 2024?

T-Shape Marketer

In the IT world today, the T-Shaped profile is more often spoken of, which every company and every start-up tries to win over. Using the example of a growth hacker, this means that he can play an active role in as many topics as possible. So we are talking about the following disciplines:

  • Marketing
  • Product
  • Technology
  • Big Data / Analytics
  • Human Resources
  • Customer Centricity
  • Sales
  • Project Management

The T-Shaped profile also provides for at least one specialization in one of these disciplines.

Pi-Shaped Skillset: One Step Further for Growth

Personally, however, I call the perfect growth hacker profile A Pi-Shaped, i.e. with a very broad base and two specializations instead of just one. For an excellent growth hacker, the specializations data/analytics as well as coding are particularly suitable. Of course, there is always the ability to put yourself in the customer’s shoes above all else.

P-Shaped Marketer

Neil Patel, co-founder of Kissmetrics, confirmed this to me last year at Bits & Pretzels in Munich. When I asked what skills a growth hacker must be equipped with at best, he replied:

„A growth hacker must be able to understand and interpret data. Creative thinking to find different ways than the competition does. Must be able to put himself fully in the position of the customer in order to be able to offer him a perfect solution to his problem.“

Neil Patel

But why data over and over again? One of the biggest differences between modern growth marketing and traditional marketing in recent decades is that every growth experiment can be evaluated very accurately.

A good growth hacker doesn’t forget to attach campaign tracking codes to campaign links or to install the Google Adwords Conversion Pixel on its landing page. He also masters his customer lifecycle in his sleep, as its optimization determines his prioritization.

A growth hacker is always able to calculate the return on invest (ROI) of a growth experiment. For this, valid data must be available at all times, be visualized in a comprehensible way and, of course, interpreted correctly. Not easy, but a necessary homework of a good growth hacker.

My definition of a Growth Hacker

I myself am often asked what I mean by a growth hacker. My personal definition of a growth hacker:

„A Growth Hacker is a hybrid of Marketer, Coder and Data-Scientist with given instinct to Growth.“

Hendrik Lennarz

What does a growth hacker do all day?

Experience has shown that a growth hacker is happiest when they can find, prioritize, execute, analyze and learn from all day completely independent of other growth hacks.

However, these conditions are rarely found, either in start-ups or in established companies, as there are always dependencies. It should be noted that dependencies are not always detrimental. Having someone who can write great copy text or create great banner ads is certainly a welcome gift for any growth hacker.

One of the most difficult tasks for a growth hacker and its environment is to start. What should I start with? Once the KPIs have been defined and the Customer Funnel is set up, it only needs to be filled with users. But there are hundreds of growth hacks for that, right?

How to find out which Growth Hacks are actually the best for your business? Gabriel Weinberg’s bullseye framework may help.

Growth Manager: Growth Hackers with Leadership with Responsibility

So: A growth hacker focuses on the implementation of Growth.

A Growth Manager, or Growth Lead, takes this one step further:

Growth managers are responsible for building agile organizations – organizations that align teams with growth across companies.

While growth hackers usually coordinate independently between different departments, growth managers have responsibility for a team. This can be a team of growth hackers, or even responsibility for interdisciplinary marketing and product teams, such as as „Chief Growth Officer“

Growth Managers Build an Environment for Rapid Experiments

In reality, growth usually fails either because of the skillsets in the company or because of the infrastructure. When a company is designed for long decision-making paths and x-fold protection, experiments are difficult.

The focus for growth managers is therefore to break these growth hurdles and get their team to give full throttle.

By the way, you can also find the 10 biggest growth hurdles and what you can do about it in my podcast.

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