Can you Be a Growth Hacker Without Being a Data Scientist?

Guest blog post.

Growth Hacking is turning out to be one of the hottest growing fields for data analysts & scientists. Although, there is controversy about the term & the specific meaning, the general connotation implies a function, activity or person which is primarily focused on growing a set of metrics such as users, revenue, visits & profits. You can see an example of growth hacking in action on the Data Science Blog.

We examined a set of job postings which had required growth hackers in their job descriptions & the requirements that they made on data analysis/science skills or the lack of it.

While all the below job description examples used the growth hacker term liberally and meant different things, almost all of them asked for a rare mix of creative and analytical skills to jumpstart growth.

Four Examples of Growth Hacker Job Descriptions where Data Science is critical

1. Stack Commerce- Growth Hacker

StackCommerce is the leading platform to discover, share, and buy trending tech. StackCommerce is looking for an experienced Growth Hacker that will be responsible for developing, implementing, and measuring tactics for scalable customer acquisition and remarketing across our entire network of 500 publishers. 

Data Science/Analyst Qualities:

  • Using large data sets to quantitatively test user behavior hypotheses
  • Using a data-driven approach – apply/evolve industry best practices for ecommerce growth
  • Report results and make data driven decisions on strategy
  • Analytical, data-driven and rigorous, with a thorough understanding of key customer acquisition metrics, LTVs and statistics.

2. The Muse – Growth Hacker

The Muse helps people answer the question “What do I want to do with my life?” It offers a one-stop destination for engaging job search, smart career advice, and long-term professional development.

Data Science/Analyst Qualities: Gathering & analyzing data like a boss. You understand numbers can tell you what is happening, but not why. You know when it’s appropriate to get qualitative answers to your questions. You are comfortable using data to make changes and drive growth.

3. ShopKick – Growth Hacker

Shopkick helps consumers discover great deals and earn in-store rewards at over 270,000 major retail locations.

Data Science/Analyst Qualities:

  • Fluent and comfortable with SQL, statistics and experimentation techniques
  • BS in computer science or equivalent technical degree

4. McMurry - Audience Analyst

McMURRY/TMG, the largest independent content marketing agency in the U.S.

Data Science/Analyst Qualities: You’re part growth hacker, part data scientist and their favorite question is “but, why?” Successful candidates know that analytics is about more than KPIs and metrics, it’s about understanding the story behind the numbers.

Three Examples of Growth Hacker Job Descriptions where Non-Data Science Skills are emphasized

1. Common Census- Growth Hacker

Common Census builds incredible software that makes benefit enrollment and administration possible for normal, everyday people. 

General Skills Required:

  • Copy writing skills that have a voice and tone for our company. No business jargon please.
  • Social media maven. You know how to build a strong following on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Work as part of the UX team to develop inbound materials, landing pages, emails that enhance the user experience with our brand.

2. BuzzFeed – Growth Hacker

BuzzFeed is the social news and entertainment company.

General Skills Required:

  • BuzzFeed is the social news and entertainment company.
  • You love writing software and building web applications.
  • You ship code, and you want your work to be used by over 150 million people every month.
  • You love scripting languages.
  • You can leverage Javascript/AJAX to build dynamic, modern web applications.
  • Tests come first.

3. Dannon – Manager of Acquisition- Growth Hacker & Analytics

This role is within a startup division of Dannon, the MNC food company. 

General Skills Required:

  • Lead the creative development process for acquisition creative -- creating concepts and draft copy that's on-brand for landing pages to SEM copy, Facebook ads, and email offers. 
  • Develop, prioritize and implement high-scale SEO strategies in the US and share applicable learnings globally. Manage day-to-day operations of the SEO channel -- including opportunity discovery, requirement drafting, keyword research, campaign creation & optimization, measurement and channel reporting.

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Comment by Peter J Jamack on March 23, 2015 at 7:58pm

I think people like to get lost in the words and titles.  The reality is if somebody joins a company and makes them millions of more dollars in the next six months,  it doesn't really matter how they achieved those goals, as long as it wasn't illegal.  If they were a data scientist who had little data visualization skills wouldn't matter. If they were a graphic artist and marketing person who knew little statistics and programming wouldn't matter either.

  I think people spend far too much time worrying about titles and job descriptions and semantics more than what the bottom line is and that's it doesn't really matter what somebody knows or doesn't know as long as they can figure a way to bring a client/company more viewers, more money or save them money.  

 I mean it would be pointless to be a great data scientist, programmer, and data visualization expert if at the end of the day you had no clue how to market or sell the product/services/content your company or client wanted to market.  There are plenty of super intelligent people who couldn't sell or market a winter jacket to a person in Alaska during the winter.  All the data is there, it's just they don't get the concept of it's not just about numbers and titles.

Comment by Vincent Granville on March 23, 2015 at 3:37pm

The best growth hackers blend both data science technology with non-analytic  skills.

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