Yes, Product Managers Should be Growth Hackers and Here’s Why

What’s Growth Got to Do With It?

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There’s Product Managers, and then there’s Growth Hackers…so why should PMs bother themselves with growth?

The answer to that is very simple.

A Product Manager looks after a Product throughout its entire lifecycle. And growth should be built in from the beginning, not at the end. It is therefore, the responsibility of a PM to be something of a growth expert.

Different people have different opinions of ‘growth hacking’ and there’s no one-size-fits-all definition. Generally, growth hacking means thinking out of the box to find new and creative ways of reaching and retaining customers, with the goal of growing and scaling a business.

Growth involves lots and lots and lots of experimentation and testing. So it’s already up a Product Manager’s alley!

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What’s in a Name?

We can actually see the word growth entering into certain job titles. A quick browse for Product Manager jobs on LinkedIn gives us ‘Growth Product Manager’ and ‘Senior Product Manager, Growth.’ But what do these job titles actually mean, and how do they differ from other PM roles.

Let’s look at job specs for some of these roles, to better understand where growth comes into it.

We can start with a Senior Growth Product Manager for Square (courtesy of SmartRecruiters)…

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It seems from this that the main responsibility of a Growth Product Manager (GPM), is the growth of the company via the products they build. As a Growth PM you could expect to have a slightly different set of KPIs to other PMs, and management might as different things of you.

There’s no special training needed for PMs to become Growth PMs, it’s all about mindset. You don’t need to learn a new language or go back to university. You just have to shift your priorities to focus on the growth of the company.

But what about if your title is just ‘Product Manager’? Are you off the hook and don’t have to think about growth?

Absolutely not!

Your Products Need Growth Loops

The main goal of many products – especially apps – is to become a habit. You want your users to keep coming back without thinking about it too hard. You want your product to form a natural part of their lives.

How do you do that?

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A growth loop is what keeps your users coming back for more. This is the key to keeping users ‘hooked’ and turns your product into a habit. It can start small like a notification, conscious or unconscious.

Some companies do this through rewards and gamification, where the user moves along the journey they receive bonuses or points. For example, Snapchat has streaks which users lose if they don’t use the app for a day, therefore rewarding the users who log in regularly. Loyalty is also rewarded by some companies through a points system, which can be used for discounts.

Building growth loops into your product helps your users to market your product for you, via word of mouth and generating their own content. It’s the ultimate free publicity.

Want to learn more about Growth Loops? Check out the all-new and improved Ship It v2!

Map Your Career Trajectory

With so many jobs now including ‘growth’ as a requirement, and even as a job title, it might be smart to start including more growth tactics into your current role. Not only will this help your current product, but it’ll give you an advantage if you choose to move towards more growth-based roles in the future.

If your favorite tech giant has an opening for a GPM, you’ll be well set-up to go for it, if you can prove that growth has already been a focus on yours.

To learn more about this topic, check out The Product-Led Growth Collective.

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