Book Review: "Growth Hacker Marketing" by Ryan Holiday

Growth Hacker Marketing was given to me as a gift. I don't think I would have picked it up on my own, so I'm glad the book found its way into my hands.

First things first, what is growth hacking? Here's how the author of the book, Ryan Holiday, defines it: 

A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mail, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs [Application Programming Interfaces*] instead of commercials, publicity, and money.  ~ Ryan Holiday

Basically, you bypass the traditional (non-trackable) methods of marketing, such as hiring a firm to reach a large audience using print ads, TV commercials, etc., and focus on reaching a select early adopter audience through bloggers, social media and e-mail. If early adopters like the product (which is key), they will organically spread news of the product through their own networks. If they don't like it, the company uses the analytics gathered from their efforts to tweak the product as many times as needed until the audience loves it and can't help but share it.  

The author highlights companies like Dropbox, Groupon and Instagram, which used this method to become the great successes they are today. 

Holiday believes traditional marketers need to "change their mindset" and embrace growth hacking as the future. He provides compelling examples in the book; however, they are almost all online companies that embraced this method as startups, and have a virtual product. It will be interesting to see if growth hacking garners the same results for established companies that offer a manufactured, physical product. 

Growth Hacker Marketing was an interesting book and really made me reflect on my own methods. As a social media marketer, it has some great techniques and concepts that can be immediately applied to your campaigns. I suggest giving it a read, and I'd be interested in what other people think. 

*Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Platforms (such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuit) that allow you to monitor and post content to social media accounts without logging into the account itself.