Marketing Vs. Growth Hacking

Many people mistake marketing and Growth Hacking and think that they are the same, only with a slight different term. Well, they are not the same thing. There are several paramount differences between the two professions. Marketers and Growth Hackers have different perspectives and different approach about customer acquisition, retention and monetization strategies. In this blog post, I will explain the importance of Growth Hacking and the core differences between Growth Hackers and Marketers.

1. By Definition

We all know what the Marketer’s main goal is to sell particular goods and services to their target group. The growth Hacker’s job description on the other hand is less common knowledge and is slightly vough to most people. Growth Hackers are mostly marketers, engineers and product managers by definition. They are professionals that specifically focus on building and engaging the user base of a business. Growth Hackers often focus on low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing in order to create better brand awareness and acquire more clients for the business. They will commonly use social media channels and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television.

2. The Basics Of It All

Growth Hacking is a profession based on data-driven decisions, therefore everything is a hypothesis until it is proven. They are continuously improving through experimenting and testing. Growth Hackers are using the uncertainty of the online environment in order to Test, Measure, Improve, Repeat and make the business excel in the process.

On the other hand, Marketers mostly work based on assumptions, without having solid proof on why certain decisions were made. For example, if a Marketer uses social media, it is not a data-driven decisions but an expected one. They do not measure whether their social media campaigns are actually worth their time and money.

3. Channels and Budget

Growth Hackers mostly enjoy exploring new channels, those in which few people have experience using and that are unexplored territory amongst Traditional Marketers. These channels excite Growth Hackers as they are innovative, new, and where the do’s and don’ts within the channel are not yet defined. These channels offer new opportunities for Growth Hackers to push the limits within the channel in creative and innovative manners. Therefore, unlike the Traditional Marketers which use TV advertising or other sheltered campaigns meant to achieve skyrocket growth, the Internet is the Growth Hacker’s domain. It constantly offers new arenas and opportunities to explore combined with new possibilities to test new ideas in order to find tools that can help firms achieve hockey stick growth.

4. Learning From Failure

Due to the Growth Hacker’s regard for trial and error, they tend to fail more often than Marketers. They are always expected to try new things they have never done before. Marketers, on the other hand, tend to stick to the plan. They always use already tested marketing channels and rarely explored new marketing opportunities. Growth Hackers experience failure very often as it is part of their job description to learn as much as possible. Through learning from failing fast and often, Growth Hackers can improve the company’s marketing efforts with little cost to none and over time focus only on what truly works.

5. The AARRR Model

Growth Hacking is particularly important for startups, as it helps to lower costs at the early stage launch phase. Growth Hackers use the AARRR model in order to not misplace any phase in the “Startup Metrics Funnel”. Whilst most Marketers think that the “acquisition” on the top of the funnel is the only important one, Growth Hackers focus on each stage of the funnel:

How Should You Choose Between Hiring a Marketer or a Growth Hacker?

Hiring a Marketer:

  • If you have a business model that does not have much potential growth.
  • Where high reach is important, but not the effectiveness of the reach.

Hiring a Growth Hacker:

  • If you have a business model, an idea or concept that is completely new and innovative.
  • If you want to grow aggressively and quickly.

Note that once you want to start challenging your company and improving what you are doing, you will need to hire a Growth Hacker. This should be what your company needs in a certain period of time regardless to the size and activity and aims for continuously of your company.

A Glimpse Into the Future

As traditional channels are losing their effectiveness over time, new channels arise and require exploration in order to stay on top of their marketing game. Just a few years ago advertising via Google and Facebook was enough to grow your business, however, today it isn’t. The existing advertising channels are getting clustered and the need to start focusing on new ways to differentiate your business is growing. The only remaining difficulty in marketing is change, as traditional channels modify and adapt due to technological advances. As a result, competition and customers will always change rapidly and we need to be alert and adjust as well.

In my honest opinion, in the future, Growth Hackers will become more relevant as technology keeps pushing forward and marketers will become relatively more obsolete. Marketers will always exist in a sense. However, if they will want to stay ahead of the curve they will need to shift their mindset from their current traditional marketing focus to the mindset of a Growth Hackers.

In the end, the difference between a Marketer and a Growth Hacking is not that of a big deal. Professionals that are not ready to embrace the Growth Hacking mindset will most likely encounter ever growing issues in this digitally dominated world.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Elan Kol’s story.