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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Information Systems Science | 2016
Thesis number: 14437
Growth hacking: Defining a digital marketing buzzword
Author: Herttua, Timo
Title: Growth hacking: Defining a digital marketing buzzword
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Information Systems Science
Index terms: tietotalous; knowledge economy; palvelut; service; markkinointi; marketing; digitaalitekniikka; digital technology; tietämyksenhallinta; knowledge management
Pages: 105
Key terms: growth hacking, digital marketing, marketing measurement, new products development, NPD, viral marketing, small business growth, marketing budgets
Modern marketers have a need for either more cost-effective ways of deploying existing budgets, or even an explicit need to perform marketing activities without any monetary budget whatsoever. Corporations are facing intense competition and need to take advantage of all opportunities provided for them by the use novel approaches to marketing, including the likes of social media and viral marketing.

In a July 2010 blog post, a Silicon Valley startup marketing consultant, Sean Ellis, presented a new job title: a "growth hacker" to respond to startups' need for cost effective customer acquisition and management of growth-related activities. In this blog post he proposed that a growth hacker should be a replacement for hiring a more traditional "VP Marketing" role in an early-stage startup. Stripping away many of the requirements one would have for a senior marketing role, and only keeping the ones that have a direct link to growth, would make such a person much easier to find and more affordable to hire.

"Growth hacking" has since become a popular term in the Silicon Valley startup scene, and beyond. So popular, in fact, that the startup press has called it "A Buzzword Surrounded by Buzzwords". Even so, since the term is widely used, it might be useful to understand what it means, and what kind of skills and experience companies are looking for when they are hiring for growth hackers - both from the perspective of recruiters and individual professional development.

This Master's Thesis aims to explore the different viewpoints about growth hacking, first by contrasting the articles about growth hacking with academic literature on marketing measurement, new products development (NPD) and viral marketing; second by contrasting this theory to marketing practitioner view sand expert blog posts; and third by conducting light quantitative analysis of Twitter data to check how the smaller interview and blog post datasets match a larger dataset of online micro-blog discussions. Finally, the aforementioned analyses are summarized into an initial framework of theoretical definitions that can be used to discuss the topic in a manner that is less ambiguous, and might help in conducting further research regarding the topic.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.