Growth Hacking: The Unexpected Defense Strategy

Rommil Santiago
2 min readDec 12, 2015


Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

In sports, the one thing that is harder than winning a championship is defending it. When you become a champion, you also become a target for all the other teams.

In business, success will always attract competitors. There will always be those that want to take your place, disrupt your industry, or put you out of business. But as they say, a great offense is a great defense.

Growth hacking, as the term suggests, is often considered a growth tactic — but rarely is it seen as a defense strategy. But let me assure you, it can be.

Growth hacking fortifies your position

The more you work at growth hacking the more you learn about your customers. By focusing on continuous learning while developing acquisition, on-boarding, habit-building, and retention techniques, you will gain a deep understanding of your audience. It is this knowledge that helps you become more efficient with your spending thus making everything you do more impactful in terms of getting customers to stay with you and making switching seem risky.

In addition, if you can hack it so that your customers love your product so much that they’ve invested heavily in it through saved assets, data storage, UI customizations, etc. — not only does switching seem risky, it is a hassle.

In short, growth hacking can help you keep your customers.

Growth hacking lets you hedge your bets

Furthermore, constant experimentation and iteration reveal options. By finding and understanding other vectors your company can follow should your position be disrupted by a larger player, you can quickly pivot to where it makes sense for you. It could be a defensive move — by hyper-focusing on a niche market, or if you want to be more aggressive, growth hacking allows you experiment with ways to surround your competitor with best-of-class offerings that compliment their products to chip away at their share of the market.

Growth Hacking is the laboratory of Business Strategy

Business strategy is enhanced with real-time feedback from the market. Strategy should not be a set and forget exercise. This is not to say to change your strategy daily. But as you growth hack, you get more details about the environment — which should lead to refining your strategy.

So yes, growth hacking is still definitely about focusing on growth. But growth attracts competition — and growth hacking can play a key role in keeping the competition at bay.

Happy Hacking!

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Rommil Santiago

Collaborating across functions to tackle new initiatives, stand up new practices, and achieve lofty goals for the last 15 years. Practicing at Loblaw Digital.