(Guest Blog) Growth hacking: What is it, how is it helping companies?

This article was originally published as an interview on the Randstad blog. You can read the original post here

Get ready for the digital marketing buzzword of 2015: growth hacking. If you haven’t heard it yet here’s your brief.

“Growth hacking is about using data to drive decisions, obtaining low-cost acquisition, and achieving massive scalable growth for a company,” says Jeff Goldenberg, founder of HackologyTO a workshop series designed to teach marketers without technical skills like programming how to be a successful growth hacker. People agree on that definition but there is a split on what people assume a growth hacker to be.

Who are the Growth Hackers?

On one hand there are technically minded people; the coders and developers who know how to link APIs (Application Programming Interface which specifies how software components should interact) and databases to create webpages and web applications that generate explosive growth. The other group is the traditional marketers now living in a digital world.

An API is the structure of how a digital machine, like an operating system, search engine or App work. Having access to one lets someone plug different types of data into it and get different types of output.

These people are finding that new marketing techniques require skills that weren’t taught to them in schools or large corporations. There is a skills gap that is plaguing marketing, and it is costing companies more and more every year. In a 2014 study by International Data Corporation about CMO predictions for 2015, 25% of CMO’s and CIO’s will have a shared roadmap for marketing technology.

The Fire Hose of Data a Challenge for Most

To make matters worse when attempt to dip your toe into the growth hacking waters you will inevitably be hit by a fire hose of data, metrics, and “hacks”.

“People fail to realize if you stick with it and set up systems to capture the right data, the right metrics to focus on, and the right “hacks” then making decisions becomes easier,” said Goldenberg, who through his talk helps marketers be less terrified of all of the information coming at them. “Marketers hear of the technical demands and think their skills are eroding, we want to help fix it.”

For marketers looking for jobs today, skills like, data analysis, design or Photoshop, basic web publishing like HTML 5, or using content management systems. For the non-technical marketer, these skills can create a barrier for them, preventing otherwise capable marketing professionals from applying to these jobs. “Most of these skills have easy to use tools or relatively low learning curves,

Tools you Can Learn Today

Jeff outlined some tools you can use today to improve your digital marketing, whether it is to market your company’s jobs, or to promote your employer brand. Software as a Service (SaaS) has been key to giving people the right tools to be a successful digital marketer. SaaS allows non-technical people to do technical things such as creating a landing page using Unbounce instead of learning HTML, CSS, and graphic design.

Companies are starting to realize the versatility of SaaS and marketing departments are changing to become more data driven. “We need to become growth hackers blending data, testing, and content to achieve growth. If you aren’t then you are at a competitive disadvantage,” states Jeff as data driven decisions become more important.

At Hackology you can expect to walk out of a workshop with tangible and topical growth hacks to take home. Think of it like being given the tools and a set of instructions. With the right tools and the right instructions any digital marketer can pull off incredible things.