Man drawing marketing metrics on a whiteboard.
Image courtesy of

Growth hacking – it might sound like a nefarious scheme from those inhabiting the cybersecurity underworld, but what is it actually?

In a post for, Ben Plomion writes that this “engineering-focused approach to marketing” is more about product and user experience designers who build products that market themselves. A good example of this might be products allowing users to embed their badges or profiles onto their own blogs or websites.

And while more traditionally-minded marketers might be skeptical about growth hacking, there’s definitely lessons to take away from what growth hackers have been doing.


1. Move quickly with your data.

Now that it’s so easy to amass data, there’s no excuse for not moving on it quickly. That isn’t limited to just using data to target messages based on customers’ demographics or preferences – it also means using data in real time through short-term tactics and quick, rapid-fire campaigns. That leads to immediate results, something growth hackers have already come to expect.


2. Learn from your failures and mistakes.

This one may not really be a new one for marketers. After all, they’re accustomed to trying different campaigns and testing them out to see what sticks. However, once marketers have found a method that works, they tend to stick to it, and they will invest in these campaigns and run them for months, not providing much opportunity to tweak them.

Growth hackers would try something different, as they’re not afraid to try, fail, and then try again. CMOs can take this practice to heart by running multiple display campaigns on thousands of websites, adjusting the message to make it as effective as it can possibly be.


3. Make use of your “pull.” 

Here’s a thought – “The best marketing wraps messaging into the fabric of a user’s life and thoughts,” Plomion writes. So what does this mean exactly? On a practical level, it means using your data to know when to deliver exactly the right message at exactly the right time, as opposed to disturbing users when they don’t want it, he adds. This means programmatic ad buying might be an attractive option for any digital marketer today.

While growth hackers aren’t infallible, and CMOs still need to think beyond the short-term and to promote their brands for the long-term, what growth hackers do is act quickly and responsively. And CMOs can definitely pick up some of the tricks they’re using – and ensure they’re taking greater advantage of their data.