This handbook explains how to acquire customers for your site or app.
This guide is widely recommended within Silicon Valley because it teaches advanced growth and has zero self-evident fluff.
If you're skeptical of marketing advice, know that I am too. This handbook is unique in that I have years of diverse data: I've run 1000's of experiments for Microsoft, Imperfect, Perfect Keto, Webflow, Tovala, Clearbit, and others.
The first page of this handbook helps you develop a growth strategy for your company.
On the last page, there's a cheatsheet that summarizes all the key takeaways.
This material applies to companies of every size and vertical. I cover both introductory and advanced B2B and B2C tactics.
Marketers of every skill level will encounter new material.
It's important to learn growth before choosing which idea to work on.
Before starting, assess whether your idea is suited for profitable and scalable user acquisition—assuming your goal is to grow large.
If you can’t foresee the strategies in this handbook working for your idea, perhaps consider a different one.
It's important that managers know how growth works so they can facilitate it.
Don't treat growth like a black box powered by engineering and marketing teams. It's your most important business function, so study the principles.
This handbook will help you prioritize your team's growth projects based on their likelihood of profitability and their ease of implementation.
It will also shed light on a growth marketer's skills so you can hire better.
What’s the difference between growth marketing and brand marketing?
Brand marketing increases the potential energy for revenue. It primes users to convert at a higher rate in the future.
Growth marketing, on the other hand, converts that potential energy into kinetic: it gets purchases.
Specifically, growth marketing is data-driven revenue maximization.
Counter to popular belief, growth is not a series of "hacks." It's a rigorous methodology consisting of experimentation, data collection, iteration, and behavioral psychology—in pursuit of continually increasing revenue.
Most growth marketers are not good. They haven't learned frameworks for making efficient growth decisions. Instead, they haphazardly throw ideas at the wall without process or iteration.
Worse yet, many growth marketers are brand marketers pretending they're experienced with data-driven growth.
So, hire slowly and with a skeptical eye. Focus on three core qualities:
I use a three-step project to assess these qualities. It looks something like this, but it varies significantly per growth role, and this is not one-size-fits-all:
Collectively, these projects help assess the three qualities from above:
Growth marketers must be proactive and resourceful. They should never stop generating ideas, running experiments, and iterating.
Don't hire a "set-it-and-forget-it" marketer.
They must have a framework for ideating ideas—not just a depletable basket of ideas.
You're assessing their flexible, cross-disciplinary process more so than their actual output. A great process adaptably generates ideas forever.
Further, because company resources are limited and growth is time-consuming, I look for candidates who understand how to prioritize their ideas efficiently.
Don't hire a "I have ten ideas and that's it" marketer.
Do they know what mastery looks like for their role?
If they're running ads, for example, can they identify compelling value propositions, write enticing ad copy, and target audiences that fit the product?
This handbook will help you achieve competency in various growth disciplines so that you can partially assess these competencies yourself.
You can hire growth marketers on the Demand Curve job board. You can also poach them via LinkedIn: find those working at companies facing similar growth challenges as you and pay them more.
I spend thousands of hours deconstructing how things work. I compile my insights into free handbooks (like the one you're reading). Over a million people read them annually. Insights that don't make it into handbooks are shared on Twitter.
I have collected years' worth of growth data from running a community of 25,000 marketers. Plus, I've helped grow several hundred companies via Demand Curve.
Based on my observations, here's what I broadly recommend each business focuses on first.
If you sell a product to consumers, these are the channels I suggest prioritizing:
If you sell to businesses:
A reminder that the last page of this handbook has a downloadable cheatsheet that handily recaps most of what you're about to learn.