January 8, 2014

Book review: Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday


The book Growth Hacker Marketing is a short book (92 pages on my iPad) and is written by Ryan Holiday. He has earlier written a thoughtful book called Trust Me I'm Lying where he explains how easy it is to manipulate (hack) both traditional newspapers and blogs. The book Growth Hacker Marketing is actually a little bit related to his old books since it explains everything about growth hacking and one of the methods used by a growth hacker can be to manipulate the media. 

A growth hacker is a new type of job related to marketing. The general idea is that a growth hacker should analyze data related to the company and come up with new ways to get new customers and keep old customers. One of the first growth hacks was when Hotmail, which was one of the earlier e-mail providers, came up with the idea to include at the bottom of each e-mail the following link: 
PS: I love you. Get your free e-mail at Hotmail.
The result of this small line of text was that the company grew exponentially since people who got an e-mail from someone who used Hotmail clicked on this text to get their own e-mail address. Just one e-mail in India spread to 300,000 new e-mail users within 3 weeks.

Another good example is from my biography on Elon Musk: "The Engineer". Elon Musk had founded a new company called X.com which would later become known as PayPal, and now he needed to find a way to attract new users. X.com offered $20 to anyone who opened an account, and members who referred new customers were awarded $10 for each referral. The result was similar to Hotmail's, as explained by Elon Musk:
"X.com is really a perfect case example of viral marketing where one customer act as a salesperson for you for bringing in other customers. So you had this exponential growth. It was like bacteria in a petri dish. We didn't have a sales force. We didn't spend any money on advertising."

Ryan Holiday's book is filled with similar examples and I recommend it if you need a good introduction to growth hacking. But remember that everything can't grow - growth hacking is not a holy grail. So the first step is always to find a product that can grow.   

If you need more free information on growth hacking, you should visit this page: Best Marketing and Selling Articles, Talks, Books, and Media

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