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Defining Growth Hacking And Product Management For Startups

Defining Growth Hacking And Product Management For StartupsProduct management is known to be generally misunderstood, primarily because of the complexity of this role.

And within the startup world, this role has a new friend in the same category – growth hacking. Let us take a closer look at these two and gain a better understanding of both terms.

Definition of Product Management

Let’s begin by stating what product management is not, and it is not project management. Although the agile platform has been instrumental in helping software companies improve their success rate in software development, it has unfortunately contributed to the confusion as to the role of product management.

As agile processes have been adopted by engineering teams, the product manager has been simultaneously serving as product owner. And as agile teams expect the product owner to be accessible to them at all times, the product manager is put in a difficult position of being available to them and at the same time going out in the market getting the voice of customer which is equally important for the success of the product.

The Role of Product Managers in Startups

In startup businesses, product managers are often hired to become product owners. And aside from the fact that the product owner is required to be helping engineers point user stories, a product manager also needs to perform the business side of product management, which is growth hacking.

Definition of “Growth Hacking”

The term “growth hacking” was coined by Sean Ellis referring to a marketing technique that is used to attract users at a relatively low cost and primarily through the use of technological integration.

The fundamental concept is to determine the “must-have experience” and drive the business around this once product-market fit is established. An experience needs to be different for it to be a must-have, and according to Ellis, expanding on this competitive strength leads to the market adoption of a growing startup.

Growth Hacking is Not Just for Marketing

While growth hacking is by definition a marketing technique, this is also a technical strategy that product managers should practice, if they aren’t already.

The role of a product manager is often misunderstood in many startups, where PMs are usually seen as a cross between a software development manager and a traditional requirements analyst.

Growth Hacking in Product Management

Growth hacking has been gaining popularity recently, especially among start up businesses. Andrew Chen, one of the founders of the growth hacking phenomenon, describes growth hackers as “a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph…

Rather than a VP of Marketing with a bunch of non-technical marketers reporting to them, instead growth hackers are engineers leading teams of engineers.” Chen further elaborates “If a startup is pre-product/market fit, growth hackers can make sure virality is embedded at the core of a product. After product/market fit, they can help run up the score on what’s already working.”

You don’t have to attend a product management training course to realize the importance for product managers to also play the role of growth hackers in startup companies. Challenging, yes; but definitely necessary for the success of the product.

Michelle Rubio has been writing for SMEs across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK for the last five years. She is a highly-experienced blogger and SEO copywriter, writing business blogs for various industries such as marketing, law, health and wellness, beauty, and education, particularly on product management training such as those offered by

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