The Difference Between Growth Hacking and Marketing

The marketing landscape has seen a wide array of buzzwords over the years. “Growth hacking” is a quite popular term, but most people have cloudy knowledge of it. It’s important to understand that growth hacking is a separate discipline. It’s not synonymous with traditional marketing or digital marketing. Instead, it’s a mindset and a collection of unique practices. Read on to know the difference between growth hacking and marketing.

Difference Between Growth Hacking and Marketing

Growth Hacking: What Makes It Unique?

Marketing focuses on generating quality leads and growing sales volume. Digital marketing concentrates on this utilizing online channels. Growth hacking tries the same thing– to facilitate rapid business growth. It utilizes a variety of the same online tools and channels but within a more continual, responsive, and experimental mindset along with massive use of data.

Growth hacking is a distinct subset in the marketing sphere. But what makes it stand out from other marketing disciplines like traditional marketing and digital marketing is that it aims for fast-paced growth. Some perfect examples of growth hacking in action include running Facebook ads, conducting interviews with clients and creating a blog post on the same, and optimizing homepage copy.

A growth hacker will carry out quick tests and experiments using different channels and tactics and focusing on the most efficient ones for acquiring new qualified leads for a company and/or new consumers of a product or service. Besides acquisition, they also take a complete funnel outlook. They collect and creatively utilize data to boost the funnel and enhance the customer journey. They also use cutting-edge technologies, analytical software, and marketing automation.

Growth hackers rarely focus on brand-building. Instead, they focus on coming up with a recipe for rapid growth in the near future. But that doesn’t mean they disregard brand – rather that they’re accustomed to turning something small into something massive within a short time. Growth hacking mainly concentrates on direct response, while pushing brand-led marketing efforts to the background.

The most crucial difference between growth hacking and marketing is that growth hacking embraces a scientific approach. Growth hackers come up with a hypothesis and carry out growth experiments to reject or fail to reject that hypothesis. They use reliable data to identify the most effective and ineffective tactics. Then, they double-down on the most effective tactics and put them into practice when the time is appropriate. In a nutshell, growth hacking is rigorous, agile, data-supported, and aimed at rapid growth.

What Makes Growth Hackers Stand out from Marketers?

  1. Growth Hackers Possess Coding Skills

Growth hackers know how to code, but marketers don’t. This combination of programming skills and marketing expertise often emerges within small start-up businesses out of absolute necessity, as teams of programmers try their hand in marketing in order to quickly increase their revenue using as minimal resources as possible.

One important thing to keep in mind, however, is that growth hacking has expanded its scope beyond small start-ups. The powerful blend of marketing experimentation, marketing automation, and data-powered analysis has pioneered the emergence of a whole new set of effective, quantifiable marketing strategies. Although growth hacking was previously limited to new businesses, the fast-paced growth realized by growth hackers has seen businesses of all sizes and types embrace a similar mindset.

  1. Growth Hackers Give Education the Top Priority

Unlike large businesses, start-ups have limited resources. Besides the obvious capital challenges this brings, this also makes it extremely important for a start-up to increase awareness for both the brand and product, and enlighten prospects regarding the pain points it addresses.

Growth hackers have helped many start-ups achieve immense growth by leveraging the power of education. By consistently creating and publishing valuable, practical how-to blog posts, templates, online courses, and free tools, they have successfully attracted a big, engaged, and appropriate audience to their brands. Here are a few steps that growth hackers use to build a loyal customer base:

  • They study and understand their target customers; their likes, dislikes, motivations, and the problems they face every day.
  • They develop content to address these problems and offer value to their target customers.
  • They build a relationship founded on trust and compassion with their audience and leverage the relationship to turn the prospects into committed, evangelical customers.
  1. Growth Hackers Have a Lifetime Customer Outlook

One main criticism leveled against marketers is that they only focus on attracting new customers. Once this truly important part of the process is complete, most marketers proceed to their next acquisition. The task of keeping those customers around is left to a different department.

Like marketers, growth hackers consider attracting new customers as a crucial part of the process. The major difference is what they do next. Growth hackers know the significance of existing customers. They also know that it’s less expensive to retain a current customer than to attract a new one. This is why they concentrate on the full customer journey. They focus on enhancing the customer journey to make sure that they have a seamless onboarding process, satisfactorily meeting their needs to ensure they keep on buying and impressing them at every stage of their journey to convert them into brand ambassadors.

  1. Growth Hackers Employ Data-Driven Tactics and Techniques

Thanks to their technical skills, growth hackers use advanced tools and processes to accomplish their goals. They capture lead insights using landing pages, optimize advertising using a variety of A/B tests, and grow leads towards a free trial or new product using marketing automation. They collect and analyze data from these marketing channels, and then use the insight to adjust and sharpen their marketing strategy.

This process should be recognizable to anyone familiar with agile software development. The product development process, marketing, and sales are merged to create a fluid process that generates qualified leads, nurtures them, and turns them into subscriptions and new customers.

  1. Growth Hackers Like Experimenting

The idea of growth hacking is strongly related to Silicon Valley, and the inspiring stories of underdog teams of developers that established multi-billion-dollar businesses. It’s a creation of start-up culture and the aggressive spirit of the newest generation of new start-ups. Growth hackers don’t shy away from experimenting with their strategies. And that means any tactic, technique, or tool that proves to be effective can be utilized to give established industry heavyweights a run for their money.

  • Social media gives businesses an effective way to reach a huge audience with limited investment.
  • Content creation experimentation can drive large amounts of traffic to the company’s websites and landing pages.
  • The newest tech tools enhance lead generation and conversion rates.

Although big organizations are usually slow to adopt new technology, growth hackers embrace new technology and automate redundant processes. If they spot the best solution to their problems, they’ll act on them right away. It’s this readiness to adapt and grow that allows start-ups to stay ahead of bigger, slower organizations.

  1. Growth Hackers Involve themselves in the Entire Process

Although marketers tend to operate independently from the design team of a company, growth hackers have a more comprehensive outlook that allows them to involve themselves in every aspect of the company. This gives them a deeper understanding of the company and all the strategies that are being developed.

Traditional marketers look for an audience to purchase a product that’s already developed – a tactic that we now know is ineffective. Growth hackers leverage their access to superior data insights to study and familiarize themselves with the needs and requirements of the market. Then, they share these insights with the development team to make sure the ideal features are being integrated.

  1. The Main Goal of Growth Hackers is to Grow Revenue

The primary goal of growth hacking, particularly in SaaS businesses, is to grow revenue as fast as possible. Although marketers in huge corporate organizations are mostly satisfied raking in small margins of growth annually, growth hackers attempt to achieve much greater levels of growth. In most cases, new start-ups planning to capture a specific section of the market must achieve fast-paced growth or else lose out to the competition.

To realize quick growth in revenue, growth hackers must split their goals into smaller, more realistic milestones. Growth in revenue calls for a business to drive traffic to their website, engage and enlighten them with useful resources, gather crucial lead insight, qualify the leads, and then convert them into sales. To attain these essential goals, growth hackers must implement an inbound marketing framework and develop SMART goals to meet their growth targets.

What Factors Should You Consider Before Embracing Growth Hacking?

Most of the criticisms leveled against the growth hacking approach are often skewed to when it has failed. Most start-ups and established companies invest heavily in their growth campaign when the timing is actually wrong – wrong because of their product, target customers, or level of maturity. Not all start-ups are ready and not all start-ups are perfect candidates for rapid tests and experiments as well as data-driven campaigns. Here are factors to consider before adopting a growth hacking approach.

  1. Established Product-Market Fit

If a business hasn’t determined its product-market fit, embracing a growth hacking approach will speed up its downfall. Heavily investing funds in channels before the need is established is a recipe for disaster. Start by validating your product-market fit before intensifying growth activities.

  1. Availability of Adequate Data

Critical actions must be backed by statically significant results. Iterative experimentation can be successful only when there is a high amount of quantitative data. You’ll require adequate numbers in site traffic, user habits, and other forms of in-product data to facilitate the improvement of growth channels. Otherwise, your foundation will be unstable.

  1. A Flexible Marketing Budget

While it’s possible to implement a growth hacking approach, you should keep in mind that paid acquisition channels are a fundamental part of the acquisition. Paid channels require a budget and some experiments and tests won’t deliver a return on investment (ROI), so some space for experimentation will be needed. This is why a flexible marketing budget is essential when you’re doing growth hacking.

  1. The Right Team

Having the right team in place is crucial when you’re doing growth hacking. This approach calls for seamless collaboration and cooperation among distinct teams, including product, creative, data, support, and technical.

If you’re planning a global expansion, for example, a team of professionals that understands the culture, language, and demographics of your target market will be instrumental in your success. But setting up such a team comes with a whole set of unique challenges, from language barriers to identifying the right tools and channels to target international employees to complex regulations. This is where partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO). such as Global PEO, or other providers,  comes in handy.

A PEO will take away all the pressures and hassles associated with setting up a top-notch team for your global expansion. But how exactly does a PEO help businesses expand abroad? A PEO offers a broad range of services that may include human resource support, management of payroll functions, assistance with labor law compliance, taking care of tax requirements, obtaining work visas, the formation of companies, and back-office outsourcing. With such a comprehensive package, PEO enables business owners to focus on their core business. To navigate the regulatory and cost challenges when hiring employees abroad, it’s important to use an employer of record.

Key Takeaways

Growth hacking has gained immense popularity due to its ability to challenge the status quo and provide an innovative approach to market your business and realize fast-paced growth.  Growth hackers are simply marketers that aren’t restricted by the established standards. They focus on realizing their growth goals leveraging any tactics, techniques, and tools they can prove to be effective.

Growth hacking is relevant, unique, and perfect for businesses of all types and sizes that wish to grow rapidly. But they must have an established product-market fit, a flexible marketing budget, a high amount of quantitative data, and the right team in place.  Growth hacking isn’t just a buzzword – it’s a state of mind and a set of unique methodologies.

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