Growth Hacker Marketing — Summary

Learn how to outperform massive traditional marketing budgets with free growth hacker marketing

Traditional marketing techniques won’t get you the same results like growth hacker techniques. For example, if you want to create a viral post or product, paying a huge marketing campaign won’t do the job.

Your product has to capture new customers by itself. Instead of just focusing on the marketing, the entire company has to be reevaluated. Only when your product is tailored to capture the attention of people can you get exponential growth. That’s what Growth Hacker Marketing is all about.

Today’s top internet companies like Dropbox and Groupon used low budget Growth Hacker Marketing techniques to build up their brands.

Growth hackers use technology to measure and track user behavior and adjusting products accordingly. In the process, they break down the division between marketing and product development. The feedback of people’s engagement after the product launch serves as input to further improve and modify the product.

While traditional marketers focus on creating “buzz” before the product launches, growth hackers focus on continual improvement, aiming for exponential growth.

Satisfy customers so that they become your advertising campaign

Traditional marketers often believe they can sell anything they want with a clever enough campaign. Even stuff people don’t want. It’s clear that with this approach they need tons of money.

Growth hackers focus on customer satisfaction instead. They know that if they can make them happy, their customers will spread the word for free for them, allowing them to bypass advertising costs.

So the first step of growth hacking is determining the product market fit. How does this product correspond to people’s needs? Is it useful? Does it add value to people’s lives?

When Instagram first launched it was a social network with optional photo capabilities. But once the founders realized that people were mainly interested in the filter-enhanced photo feature, they concentrated and developed that element further. Eventually making the company highly valuable, and successfully selling it to Facebook for $1 billion later. Product market fit simply means paying attention to what people want.

Target the right group of people

To get a product to be successful, you have to create customer awareness. Only if people know about your product, can they try it and spread the word about it. There are several techniques to achieve awareness. One example is creating an aura of exclusivity. You can obtain exclusivity by making an invite-only product launch.

Dropbox used invite-only and got 5.000 to 75.000 people on their waiting list. Today the platform boasts with hundreds of millions of members.

To achieve a similar growth, focus on the right people, not everyone. The right people are often early adopters. People who are eager to engage in new technologies and trends and who have a following. Once you get them passionate about your product, they will do the same with their friends, resulting in organic growth for your brand.

Making your product viral

Virality isn’t an entirely arbitrary and unpredictable phenomenon. There are reasons why some things go viral, and others don’t. As virality scientist Jonah Berger first noted, a product becomes viral more likely when it is noticeable. And getting virality is the ultimate way of getting free massive marketing.

Think of it like this, whenever someone shares your product, they are doing you a favor for free. Most people won’t do that. You have to give them something they want to share, creating a little win-win situation. You must make sure your product is worth sharing, and then encourage sharing.

Making your product worth sharing

Getting people to share your product by making it worth sharing can be achieved in several ways. In social media, people often share content which is funny or somehow original and entertaining. If they see such a post, they share it because they think their friends will like it also.

Another way of creating value for customers is by rewarding them with free credit for referring the product to their friends. Groupon gave customers $10 credit for every friend of them who made their first purchase. Groupon is not the only company to use the referral strategy, PayPal outperformed its competitors by giving away credit through referral and achieving exponential customer growth. Nearly all successful internet companies have some variation of a referral campaign.

Creating visibility

The next important step to creating virality is by encouraging sharing. To encourage sharing, you must make your product visible. Spotify achieved high visibility by integrating its service with Facebook. It worked so well because whenever someone listened to music on Spotify, friends could see it on Facebook and wanted to try it too.

Apple is very good at applying visibility to create free publicity. By making the iPod headphones cable white, they differentiated their product from the typical black color and thus ensured that people would immediately recognize when someone was using an iPod. They essentially converted their customers in free walking advertisements. The glowing Apple logo on Macbooks is another example of ingenious free advertisement.

Converting the product in its own advertisement is the keystone of growth hacking.

Optimize your ROI

The next step is to improve your return on investment (ROI). Getting customers isn’t enough, you may attract a lot of inactive customers who don’t generate you any income. You have to find out what customers want and give it to them. Engaged customers will generate you a greater profit.

Conversion rate is the term to measure how many customers stick around or engage. The conversion rate varies for each business but is essentially the percentage of visitors which become paying customers.

When Twitter saw that their new customers created accounts but didn’t stick around as active users, they hired growth hackers who discovered that people were more likely to engage if they manually selected accounts they wanted to follow after creating their account.

Instead of giving them a default list of accounts to follow, Twitter prompted its customers to follow ten people on their own. This little tweak generated more active users, something which was only achievable by improving the product.

How the author of this book applied growth-hacking to market this book

The author used growth hacking principles by first testing his idea. Instead of starting to work on the book directly, he wrote an article about growth hacking for the business magazine Fast Company to see the response he would get and how people would engage.

Soon Penguin Books contacted him showing interest and created a short ebook version of the article. It was inexpensive to publish and allowed Penguin to test audience response.

Once the ebook was well received, the author proceeded to expand the ebook and launch a paper version. He also wanted to focus on the right audience, so he encapsulated the lessons from the book into articles and published them for free on sites like The Huffington Post, MarketWatch, Hacker News, etc.

He also contacted well-known growth hackers like Andrew Chen and Sean Ellis, asking them to promote the book to their social media followers.

Furthermore, he rewarded his current fans with additional free content by adding a page to his initial ebook telling readers how to sign up for his news-letter. It created another win-win situation because readers benefited from the free content, and the author built an email list in the process.

The author then used the list as leverage to inform his loyal fans about his extended hard-copy version of Growth Hacker Marketing, leading to even more free publicity.


Growth hacking is all about creating free marketing leverage by integrating marketing with product development.

Ready to get more customers? Get this book

Karl Niebuhr

Karl Niebuhr

I'm Karl! I like to read, learn and self-improve.
Karl Niebuhr

Latest posts by Karl Niebuhr (see all)


Also published on Medium.