Resource type: 
Product / Market Fit

The term “Growth Hacker” was first introduced in 2010 by Ellis Sean -an entrepreneur, angel investor and start-ups advisor. Further this concept appeared in the blog of an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley -Andrew Chen in 2012. He introduced this term as a new paradigm of Viral marketing (VM). In his blog-post Chen claim that nowadays marketing no longer goes traditional way. Marketer and coder started to be inseparable notions.

However, the fact that growth hackers` strategies and approaches are more technical then marketers is not only difference. Table 1 presents traits, which differentiate growth hackers from marketers.

Table 1. Difference between marketer and growth hacker (according to Holiday, 2013)


Growth Hacker

Go to the market with an end-product/service 

Believe that the product/service and even the whole business model can and should be changed until PMF (Product-Market Fit)

Want their product to be everywhere

Aimed to reach out and capture at the begging a group of highly interested, loyal and fanatical users

Spend millions on advertising 

Pay their customers for spreading information about product/service 

If company lacks growth, it should invest more in sales and marketing

If company lacks growth, it should invest in refining and improving product/service itself

This new model of marketing oriented on utilization of as many available Internet tools as possible. Among such tools are data, e-mail, social media sites, pay-per-click ads, blogs and others.


Dropbox built one of the most viral and most effective growth hacking stories in the startup world.

It was as simple as placing a little "Get Free Space" button on the front page of the service. The offer was that users would get 500 MB of free space for every friend they invited and got to sign up. Almost immediately, sign ups increased by roughly 60% and stayed at that level for months.


Holiday, R., 2013. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising. Profile Books.



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