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Startups should NOT focus on hiring a growth hacker

  • startups

📅 September 26, 2020

⏱️1 min read

The job title of "Growth Hacker" is trending for the past few years in the startup ecosystem worldwide. In the Indian startup ecosystem, this word is even more widespread nowadays. As the role keeps getting popular, so does the misconception of the responsibilities that come with the position.

Every startup now wants to hire a growth hacker who will join their team and get exponential growth overnight. The role is misused so much that even digital marketers are being offered a position as growth hackers. Maybe it's the desperation of early-stage businesses to have someone play this role.

I recently spoke with a few early-stage SaaS businesses, and they asked me to refer a growth marketer (I prefer marketer over hacker) for their company. When I asked them what responsibilities you expect this role to take, I found that these are NOT the responsibilities of a growth marketer. Instead, what they were looking for is a digital marketer.

Sure, a growth marketer will help you acquire a broad set of users. They will make sure that acquisition is not a problem for you. But an early-stage startup should focus more on engagement and retention than rapidly acquiring users who churn out. That's like swiftly filling a leaky bucket with water.

I'll repeat the title here, early-stage startups should NOT focus on hiring growth marketers. They should only focus on getting a product-market fit. It would be best to run experiments inside the product and created stickiness for the early traction you get. Hiring a growth hacker will help you increase your (vanity) metrics like total signups and new active users. Eventually, if there is no stickiness inside the app, the users are not using the product, then they are likely to churn out in a few days or weeks.

Startups need a product-market fit and not recruiting growth hackers.

I'll split this post into two followup posts. One about getting product-market fit and one about understanding when to hire a growth marketer.

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