How to Build Your Growth Machine: Part 1 – People (Growth Hackers)

Growth Machine

How to Build Your Growth Machine: Part 1 – People (Growth Hackers)

Generate results creatively and based on experimental studies. Two things that look different but if used well can make your company a sales machine. For that, a way is needed that can unite different ideas focused on a single objective: to grow. Hence, Growth Hacking. But what […]

Generate results creatively and based on experimental studies. Two things that look different but if used well can make your company a sales machine. For that, a way is needed that can unite different ideas focused on a single objective: to grow. Hence the Growth Hacking.

But what is Growth Hacking?

A term still relatively new in Brazil and created in the United States in 2010, Growth Hacking is the methodology that seeks the company’s growth using creativity with its marketing knowledge linked to product development, connecting its target audience to products and services and generating excellent results.

Samir Patel, President & CEO of GrowthMachines, TheGrowth.Academy and Mentor at 500Startups, explains in this post a unique growth methodology for all companies seeking to stand out in the market.

Guest post written by Samir Patel:

This article is written for C-level executives, whether startups or Fortune 500, as a guide to understanding and implementing modern growth strategies. This content addresses tactical and strategic execution after the company already has initial traction and is now ready to scale massively to growth or a more mature company looking to accelerate its customer acquisition through digital channels.

After generating growth for the world’s largest companies, producing millions of dollars in revenue, creating business automation systems like SearchForce, and managing over $1 billion in online advertising investments, I ended up consolidating my experience into a single strategic model called 3P’s. An easy-to-understand guide to achieving high performance in organizations that work with Growth.

Every organization is unique, with different customers, markets, products and business models. It is universal, however, it is the opportunity for any business to implement the 3P’s in an effective and personalized way using a highly scientific approach.

So growth hacking isn’t just for agile and small companies like startups. It is for any organization that wants to generate profitable and sustainable growth.

There is no doubt that large companies operate in different ways, but the size of the company is irrelevant if the team is assembled in the right way and with the right values.

The 3 P’s of Growth – People, Processes and Platforms

A warning: this is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to growth. Rather, it should serve as a guide for CEOs and CMOs to accurately shape the 3P’s to address each company’s unique goals.

  • People: your growth team.
  • Processes: the search for continuous improvement.
  • Platforms: weapons of mass distribution.

Consider Some Top Questions for Your Business

What are your Growth goals for the next four quarters? What is your current plan to get there?

Do a “hole” analysis: What are the competency gaps between your team and the team you need to execute a global growth strategy?

People: Your Growth Troop

The two main points you need to know when attacking the first “P” are:

  1. How do you hire, build and structure a growth team for your business?
  2. What should the ideal curriculum for a growth magician look like, what skills and personal qualities the candidate should have.

This step will guide you in building a team that practices a philosophy of constant and uncompromising growth, as well as a commitment to understanding why an experiment succeeds or fails.

9 qualities a growth hacking professional must have

1) Has affinity with data

Everyone on the growth team respects and understands the numbers. Analytics data, pivot tables and user satisfaction surveys will always be the strategy guide and will be ahead of “guessing”.

In addition to being data-savvy, growth hackers are masters of spotting trends big and small and then translating that into new insights.

2) It is easy to learn about changes in marketing channels and growth platforms

The growth team tends to quickly understand the changes in paid and unpaid channels and what they should do, how they should work and what opportunities each can have for each company and specific market.

Marketing knowledge is critical, understanding the target markets and users, as well as the means to reach them. SEO, search marketing, mobile, remarketing, social media, viral, analytics, email marketing, inbound marketing and software platforms for automation and experiment channels are all inserted in the context of growth hacker.

3) Understand the growth process

The process in which growth takes place is by constant testing and analysis. Tests and optimizations resulting in performance improvements lead to more testing and new brainstorming. The results of these tests are collected and systematized to feed new experiments.

Most importantly, test data is translated into real knowledge for the company about the market, products, business and industry.

Growth hackers know that these tests are useless if the result doesn’t lead to product improvements, increased ROI and insights important to business operations.

4) Is a good tool for connoisseur

There are several tools in a growth hacker’s arsenal. In addition to a deep understanding of marketing channels and the networks that support them, third-party products and tools are used to gain and maintain a competitive advantage.

Proficiency in infinite product solutions for A/B or multivariate testing, analytics, conversion rate optimization, competitive monitoring, site retention and user surveys provide more insight and functionality in testing. Mandatory knowledge also includes: how to measure retention, churn (cancellations) and cohort (segments) analyses.

5) Has a restless Mindset

Most important of all, growth hackers think differently. They think “outside the box”, often avoiding common approaches and even best practices, if they feel there is a better way to do it. They practice process innovation by breaking the problem down into small parts and solving it through a highly organized system of controlled experimentation.

They foster a culture of growth – they infect others with a strong logical mindset and creative thinking. These are personality traits in which the growth hacker stands out. This personality type facilitates intelligent and flexible strategy, with tactics and actions that lead to success in the highly competitive and complex world of digital marketing.

6) Has interdisciplinary skills

Growth hackers are able to apply their knowledge to growing platforms and products across multiple disciplines.

Relying on a large group of people (each with specific knowledge in an area) – who must work together to extract even basic insights from a test – is not making the best use of resources. Growth hackers have enough knowledge in each area to extract valuable information without having to rely on the “expert” in a particular area to produce the information for them.

For example, an SEO analyst needs to understand SEM to cross opportunities. In the Mixpanel team, for example, an employee needs to understand the product, competitors and specific performance channels to design a strategy and be able to invest in a cross-channel based on the performance of each customer segment.

7) Connects Marketing with Product Development

While somewhat counter-intuitive for developers, growth hackers believe marketing ideas should inform product development. Marketers often don’t give input to the products they’re selling, which can somehow create the predictable possibility of developing products that no one wants.

Growth hackers value the more practical approach of using reliable market research to guide product evolution, ensuring that development is in tune with the wants and needs of the market you are aiming to serve.

8) It has technical quality

Growth hackers are competent in the following technical areas:

  • Statistics: It doesn’t take absolute mastery, but understanding the basics in some areas is a big part of effective data analysis. Confidence and significance levels drive A/B testing. Models based on regression and normalization drive growth patterns, etc. (Statistics and a logical structure are also important for finding insights through SQL data mining).
  • Programming: Growth hackers know the basics of code. A little knowledge goes a long way when it’s time to make a small change, customization or optimization to your site, or fix a broken Google Analytics code without having to wait 48 hours to get a response from the developer. Being able to make small changes on the spot can save a lot of time and energy for different teams and can give the marketer the freedom to conduct their tests on their own.
  • Growth Analytics & Data Visualization –  Analytics for Growth is the central command of the growth team. Analytics data serves as the foundation for marketing strategy, tactics, testing and results implementation. While free tools like Google Analytics provide a tremendous amount of information, there are many analytics solutions on the market, each with unique features and benefits. Solid knowledge of multiple analytics solutions allows marketers to choose the right tool for the job. Data visualization with Tableau, for example, is a rare knowledge and great choice for producing actionable intelligence and spotting trends. A “live” dashboard that monitors data from all the company’s business units in real time allows the creation of a system for detecting and quickly responding to problems and opportunities,
  • Advanced Excel/Data Analysis: Advanced knowledge of Excel-like pivot tables, advanced formulas, macros and data analysis means knowledge of how to make a case with data.  LTV analysis (lifetime value or customer value) vs CAC (customer acquisition cost), Churn (cancellations) and retention analysis, Cohort analysis, Financial modeling, Virality and Viral math, Multichannel attributions, ROI attribution (Programmatic vs rule-based ) and understanding attribution problems are all essential weapons in the growth hacker’s arsenal.
  • Database / SQL Search – Not all information is contained in analysis software. Sometimes it’s necessary to do an internal database search to find more advanced insights. SQL allows marketers to query these databases for information.
  • A/B and multivariate testing – In addition to understanding the value of testing, growth hackers know enough about this process (which tools to use, how to configure them) to create their own small tests without the need to involve developers and designers. They also know what to do with the data. After running tests in Optimizely or Google Website Optimizer, the results are stored and incorporated into future experiments.
  • Advanced web search – Finally, growth hackers know how to find the data they need. Web Scraping involves collecting and organizing large amounts of data from multiple sources across the web via tools like and Excel. It’s an extremely powerful trick for marketers who want to grow their Leads list, have information to make content creation decisions, and track their competition more effectively.

9) Hire

Growth hackers have a strong network of relationships. When it comes time for him to build his team, he knows how to find people who not only have the required skills, but who also understand the particular company’s market. Having people on the team who understand the product, know where the customer acquisition channels are, and understand customer behavior and trends in your organization’s specific industry is an immeasurable value.

Consider these questions for your organization:

  • Given your growth plan, what are your strengths and weaknesses from the entire first ‘P’?
  • How can you customize this profile for your company’s specific needs? What would you add or take away?

In the next post, I talk about the second ‘P’: Process. Until then, leave your questions and comments on Twitter @meetsamir.

Until then, continue climbing!


Generate results creatively and based on experimental studies. Two things that look different but if used well can make your company a sales machine. For that, a way is needed that can unite different ideas focused on a single objective: to grow. Hence, Growth Hacking. But what […] Generate results creatively and based on experimental studies. Two things that look…