"Growth hacking is more of a mindset than a toolkit". - Ryan Holiday
The main difference between a marketer and a growth hacker is in the way they process and deal with opportunities.
A corporate marketer’s mind is focused on repeating conventional marketing process that proved to produce results; obviously, that approach fits established corporations.
On the contrary, a start-up growth hacker’s concern is about how to use crazy, unconventional strategies to break through and grow the business faster.
In fact, the objective of both groups is to stay ahead of the competition, but if you switch their role they might not be as productive as they are in their current position.
As a matter of fact, it all goes back to your business strategy but in large, corporate policies and hierarchies do nothing but halting a growth hacker from creative experiment new marketing strategies. On the other hand, a process driven, by the book corporate marketer will also be overwhelmed in a start-up that wants to break new records on a daily basis.
The question, indeed, shouldn’t be about which one to hire, instead, it ought to be about how to strike a balance when using predictable and unconventional strategies!
I’ve listed five most substantial factors that you should consider when trying to hire a decent growth hacker.
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1. Go for Strategy, Not Tactics
Many people are of the opinion that if you pair a marketer and a programmer, the outcome is a growth hacker. I’m afraid, that’s absolutely incorrect. The main hint you need to look for in your growth hacking candidates is their eagerness for growth and adding value to your business. If they are creative enough to implement innovative business strategies, it will increase your chance to succeed.
You might meet a tactical growth hacker or a strategist; both characters have pros and cons. A tactical hands-on growth hacker knows what they know best and can quickly implement the technique but often tend to be biased about those methods.
On the other hand, the strategist might not know the exact details of each step but they would be capable to looking at the process from bird’s eye view and taking necessary actions toward the only goal; growth.
2. How Well Do They Interpret Data?
An ideal growth hacker should have the ability to understand and interpret data quickly. They do not necessarily have to know the exact analytical techniques that your business analyst does, however, the capability to read between the lines and propose data-driven workaround is a must.
To gauge your candidate's capability, describe a situation about your website and give them a target to achieve. Then, ask them to elaborate how they would conduct an A/B testing experiment. At that point, move on to asking more questions about the outcome of the experiment; let them talk about the results and proposed course of actions. It’s a great opportunity for you to see how they interpret data.
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3. Choose the Risk Manager Over a Risk Taker?
Customer acquisition process and growth hacking are meant to be agile strategies. It means, following a predefined sequence will not be a wise choice. While agility matters the most in growth marketing, an innovative growth marketer will put check and balance mechanism in place to make sure it's growth strategies are aligned with business model patterns.
Although growth hacking is mostly all about acquiring and activating customers as soon as possible, you must make sure that you are able to manage the uncertainties too. The secret to success is to make sure that your ego doesn’t take control of your plan for growth.
Having risk taking attitude is a plus point up to the time that you don’t bring the company to its knees. A true growth hacker is creative and willing to take a risk, yet, they definitely have a contingency and improvement plan in case the strategy doesn’t go well.
4. Ensure They Have a Solid Foundation of Skills
There are certain skillets that any growth hacker should have. Among all other expertise, ability to build a relationship with influencers, understanding the customer acquisition lifecycle, digital marketing strategies such as content marketing, white hat SEO, and social media marketing are of the utmost importance.
Knowing the strategies theoretically is important but having outstanding results differentiates the best from the others. Your growth hacker should be able to provide real examples of extraordinary outcomes and explain how they achieved those results.
5. Great Communication. Period
Your growth hacker will take charge of different projects. They could be accountable for managing your growth pipeline as you grow your company while at the same time overseeing specific content marketing campaign and split testing experiments to boost sales.
In any circumstances, your growth hacker must be the greatest communicator among others. The aptitude to get people on the same page while driving everything according to plan, and managing the risks are crucial to the success of a growth hacker.