Digital Marketing Strategies: Book Review of Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Digital Marketing Strategies: Book Review of Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Author & media strategist Ryan Holiday advises many businesses, best selling authors, and musicians while leading Mega Retailer American Apparel as the Director of Marketing.

Holiday’s Digital Marketing Strategies have been used as case studies by major media sources such as Google, Twitter, and Youtube.

We all want to do more with less. For marketers and entrepreneurs, that paradox is practically our job description.

Ryan explains how the appearance of so called “Growth Hackers”, threatened traditional Digital Marketers and changed the way companies do advertising and branding online.

So what is a Growth Hacker?

Suppose you’re a new marketing graduate, or even a traditional digital marketer who is looking to broaden your skills.

You’ll need to understand and appreciate growth hacking and how to assimilate these digital marketing strategies into your work.

A growth hacker doesn’t see marketing as something one does, but rather as something one builds into the product itself. 

The product is then kick-started, shared, and optimized on its way to massive and rapid growth. -RYAN HOLIDAY

“Growth Hackers” utilize the Internet & social media to track, test, pivot, & improve upon digital marketing strategies until “gambling with ads” is unnecessary and counterproductive.

Holiday outlines the emergence of Growth Hacking with Tech Giants like Hotmail and Gmail, with examples of how they used digital marketing strategies to explode their brands.

“Enormous services launched from tiny, but incredibly explosive, ideas.”- RYAN HOLIDAY

New Marketing

Holiday, explains that by ignoring traditional marketing , budgets were used in innovative ways to create exciting campaigns that drew in millions of users.

Simply put, a growth hacker is someone who can quickly make a startup widely known using only trackable, testable, and scalable metrics.

What growth hackers do is focus on the “who” and “where” more scientifically, in a more measurable way.

Whereas marketing was once brand based, with growth hacking it becomes metric and ROI driven. “-RYAN HOLIDAY

What you need to understand first, is Growth Hacking is a mindset, not a tool.

The focus becomes your Digital Marketing Strategies, not your digital marketing products.

Product Market Fit

The first step to success in Digital Marketing is to understand who wants or needs your product.

“Growth hackers believe that products can and should be changed until they generate explosive reactions from the first people who see them.”-RYAN HOLIDAY

Tailoring your product to fit market desire will increase success rates in any market once you define your perfect customer group.

The author stresses the importance of taking your viable idea and letting it be malleable to improve with feedback. This is what creates an explosive idea.

Sometimes in marketing, product market fit is referred to as PMF.

Product Market Fit means gaining market share in your demographic by becoming the product or service that garnishes the most demand,.

The prize and spoils no longer go to the person who makes it to market first. They go to the person who makes it to Product Market Fit first.

Because once you get there, your marketing efforts become like a spark applied to a bed of kindling soaked in kerosene.

The old way? It’s striking a match . . . and hoping it starts a fire somewhere.” -RYAN HOLIDAY

How do you figure out your target PMF?

Use analytics software to determine who your users are, what they are doing on your site, & how are they responding to your site?

Having a great idea isn’t enough to generate business.

You need to have great digital marketing strategies to be able to pull people in.

Trying to get as many people as possible to see your product no longer works because most of them will never become your customer.

Your marketing only needs to reach a group of “highly interested, loyal, and fanatical users” for growth.

The first step is to find the right users for your product.

You can get yourself in front of the right market by utilizing email, blogs, social media, forums, Startup funding sites, freelance reporters, or even guerilla marketing outreach.

Doing whatever it takes to pull a small group of hyper interested users will help kickstart your growth plan.

You may find it helpful to use digital marketing strategies that invoke responses.

Exclusivity, social proof, using someone else’s success, hosting events, influencer branding, or getting shout outs & reviews online are a few.

“It doesn’t matter how many people know about you or how they find out about you.

It matters how many sign up. If handing out flyers on the street corner accomplishes that, then consider it growth hacking.” -RYAN HOLIDAY

Technical Aspects

Our goal as Growth Hackers is to primarily build an army of loyal & passionate advocates, and the brand building will follow.

First, focus on customer acquisition.

Next, the focus shift to creating brand advocates out of these first customers.

Everyone wants their business to go viral online.

According to Holiday, “virality is not some accident. Even when it seems accidental, it really isn’t.”

Digital marketing Strategies are crucial to success in going viral, and there is almost a predictable formula to make it happen.


You’re basically asking for free promotion work.

The key here is not to ask for a favor, but to make it seem worth spreading online.

“Viral spread is critical to the growth hacker approach”, Holiday notes.

In order to go viral you have to make it easy for campaigns to be shared.

Dropbox is a company that executed this perfectly.

Dropbox simply offered 500mb of free storage for every friend referred.

You can’t just expect your users to become evangelists of your product—you’ve got to provide the incentives and the platform for them to do so.” -RYAN HOLIDAY

Conversion rates are possibly the single most important metric.

It’s key to curate your product to give a happy user experience, which will lead to better conversion rates and also longer product use lifespans.

Growth hackers know that they have to constantly tweak their digital marketing strategies to optimize conversions.

Lastly, this publication tells in depth about scaling and retention, product market fit, virality, optimization, & the future of marketing.

Ryan Holiday is a digital marketing genius.

This book is great for anyone of any skill level in digital marketing.

If you enjoy this read, consider growing your business online with tips from author Joe Manausa.

Joe is a Real Estate Mastermind, who helps hundreds of small businesses convert more sales leads and transform their businesses digitally.

His book “The Business of Getting Business” can be purchased through all major retailers here:

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