If you’re struggling with exactly why you should improve your technical chops as a marketer, then this book is for you.

Coming from a traditional marketing background himself, Ryan Holiday tells his story of how one day he realized the tides of marketing were changing. Engineers by discipline, so called growth hackers were behind the growth of now billion dollar companies such as Facebook, Twitter, AirBnb, and DropBoxall without using any of the classic marketing methods he’d been using for years.

This book is Ryan’s case for a new marketing mindset. While this book doesn’t get into the nitty gritty of what technical tools modern marketers should be using, that’s not the point.

As Ryan says, growth hackers may not share the same methods, but “…for all the technical differences, the strategic goal was the same: to reach people in an effective, scalable, and data-driven way.”

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Ditch the old mindset

  • Stop thinking there has to be a big launch, major media coverage, and a huge advertising budget.
  • Gambling on these methods is no longer necessary; the tools we have available to us today (if we know what they are and how to use them) allow us to track, test, iterate, and improve how we attract and retain customers.

Make stuff people want

  • The worst possible marketing decision you can make is simple: starting with a product nobody wants or needs.
  • The best marketing decision you can make is to achieve Product Market Fit: having a product/business that fulfills a need for a well defined group of people. Do this no matter how much tweaking and refining it takes, and back it up with data.

Build it and they will come

  • A good idea is not enough, we need ways to pull the right people in.
  • We don’t need a grand opening, we need a strategic opening that catches the attention of our core audience.
  • Growth hackers embrace technical solutions for acquiring new customers.

Enhance virality

  • Finding ways to turn your own customers into an army instead of paying for ads and publicity is much more effective.
  • Virality is not an accidentit must be baked into the product. People must have a reason to share it and the means to do so.

Never stop optimizing

  • Optimizing your product and focusing on existing customers will often result in more growth than investing in more sales and marketing.
  • Look at the data to find out where the problems are.

The growth hacker mindset Ryan advocates for makes so much sense. It throws away the old assumptions we’ve been taught and turns every aspect of growth into a science rather than a guessing game.

As marketers push themselves into more technical roles, we can remember Ryan’s words: “…anything and everything can be considered marketingso long as it grows the business.”

This is the future of marketing, and that’s exactly why I’ll be getting technical.


Pick up Growth Hacker Marketing on Amazon, and check out Ryan Holiday’s blog for more wisdom (a constant source of inspiration for me).