Growing a company is a difficult process. It takes time and a lot of finances chanelled into it. 

Thankfully, data has helped marketers and businesses find solutions to many problems. You can seamlessly expand your company by utilizing appropriate data and analytics tools.

Some data driven techniques like growth marketing and growth hacking have altered the course of thousands of companies worldwide.

However, deciding between growth hacking and growth marketing for your company might be challenging, particularly when there are financial limits. 

Which option is best for your company? 

In this article, you will learn the difference between these two strategies and how they can take your business to the next level.

Let’s dive in.

What is Growth Hacking?

The term growth hacking was first used in 2010 by Sean Ellis, well-known for his work at Dropbox.

He came up with the word to refer to developing strategies for rapid growth in startups through experimenting.

Did you know that over 53,000 people search for the term growth hacking every month worldwide?

Look at the figure below.

Worldwide monthly searches for the term growth hacking.

These are some of the primary goals that growth hacking seeks to accomplish:

  • Uses qualitative and quantitative data to discover client preferences and behavior profiles.
  • Uses marketing and product expertise to implement cross-functional teams.
  • It does a lot of experimentation and emphasizes metrics; after evaluating the results, it takes action.

Check out the diagram below for clarification.

The primary objectives of growth hacking

Therefore, the main aim of growth hacking is growth.

The idea does value acquiring new consumers, but it also emphasizes keeping those customers around and making money from them in the long run.

A growth hack is any test that helps the business expand.

Let's look at the definition of growth marketing.

What is Growth Marketing? 

Growth marketing is a technique that combines methodical brand marketing with tactical performance marketing to attract good-fit customers and assist them in becoming so successful they'll buy again, buy more, and refer others.

What about a breakdown of this definition into more straightforward points?

  • A fusion of tactical performance marketing (consider paid acquisition and content marketing) with strategic brand marketing (consider positioning and differentiation).
  • A systematic procedure based on growth hacking and agile development ideas. The method uses a cyclical sprint paradigm, prioritizing strategies according to their expected long-term impact.
  • The goal is to achieve sustainable revenue growth through new customer acquisition, customer activation, retention, and monetization.
  • Not just anyone with a heartbeat, but rather businesses that fulfil your ideal customer profile as your clientele.

Similarities: Growth Hacking vs. Growth Marketing

Growth marketing and growth hacking are comparable in four key ways:

1. Goal

Both strategies aim to increase income by acquiring new customers and activating, keeping, and monetizing existing ones.

2. Data

Like growth hacking, access to qualitative and quantitative data is essential for growth marketing success.

3. Process

Both strategies rely on an agile sprint paradigm, which promotes experimentation, data-driven decision-making, and the quest for ongoing improvement.

4. Product

Growth marketing and growth hacking require a solid precondition for success: the quality of the product itself.

Differences: Growth Hacking vs. Growth Marketing

The following list highlights some key distinctions between growth hacking and growth marketing.

1. Brand

Growth marketing is systematic and organized, raising brand awareness before pursuing quantifiable, long-term growth.

Conversely, growth hacking is primarily interested in locating the right-fit strategies that provide rapid results.

However, this is a warning tale.

Failure awaits the growth hacker who disregards the brand.

If growth marketers ignore creative solutions and quick growth, they will drown in a sea of similarities.

Growth marketers must be flexible and forward-thinking enough to look outside the box and experiment while maintaining the brand as their ultimate authority.

Growth hackers must also have a firm grasp of the brand, identity, and product to make experiments successful rather than fruitless exercises.

So, what is the ideal method? Combine the two to see both immediate and long-term effects.

2. Growth

You need both to move forward effectively.

A growth marketing approach incorporating growth hacking techniques offers the best of both worlds.

For long-term, sustainable success, get quick outcomes that are adaptable and repeatable.

3. Work

Before you start freaking out (looking at you, growth hackers), we're not arguing that growth marketers put in more work; we're just saying that they spread their hard labor over a more extended period.

Conversely, growth hacking primarily concerns identifying the proper fit techniques that deliver quick results.

But as their tests are successful or unsuccessful, they continue to do them.

Growth marketers are good at making plans.

They devise a plan that will be carried out for several months if not years.

Growth hackers expect to see results immediately. If they are unsuccessful, they move on to the next experiment.

Again, neither is a superior choice.

For the most excellent effect, the two should be combined: rapid growth now and long-term sustainable development in the future.

4. Bias 

It’s clear that growth hackers are a cross between marketing and a full-stack developer. 

In his famous article describing growth hackers as the new vice presidents of marketing, 

Andrew Chen put it this way:

Andrew Chen Quote

5. Time

You may not turn your firm into Googe overnight by manipulating your growth. 

However, growth hackers aim to accomplish their goals in the shortest amount of time possible.

Semi-instant revolutionary ideas are at the core of the growth hacking philosophy.

Look at what Ellis Sean said about it.

Ellis Sean on growth hacking philosophy

While this is happening, growth marketers could feel envy because they spend hours each day and weeks each year tracking the advantages of just one piece, even though it's not the only one they're looking at.

Comparison A:

Growth hackers put effort into conceptualizing and carrying out ideas. 

Growth marketers devote effort to networking, reports, SEO, and concept development.

Comparison B:

Hackers that specialize in growth employ quick wins.

For a growth marketer, a single tweet can even be essential.

Comparison C:

A growth hacker might discard a technique or idea immediately if it doesn't work as rapidly as needed.

When making a tactical shift, growth marketers typically exercise more caution.

And not just the amount of time spent matters when it comes to time.

6. Data

Since growth must begin at some point, you won't always have five separate charts to contrast or five different article categories with at least 20 articles each when your firm is just getting off the ground.

You should spend some time attracting attention and experimenting with various strategies before entering the growth marketing phase to determine which of the two strategies works best for you.

Once you've reached that point, you may hand the rest off to the growth team, specifically the growth marketer, if you have one.

For instance, 

At the time of the introduction of Facebook in 2004, social media was not as popular. 

This spared it the obligation to make an extraordinary entry into the market. 

But as time elapsed and the number of social media sites increased, Facebook sought to ensure it would maintain its position as the leader.

Consequently, it incorporated elements their closest competitors offered, expanded constantly, and did not rely solely on Facebook to grow.

7. Skill Sets

Growth marketers and growth hackers typically have different personality traits.

And with good reason, each employs techniques to get distinctive results that require a certain skill set.

Take a look at the diagram below.

Growth marketers and growth hackers skills set.

8. Efficiency

Growth marketing is one of the most successful techniques for branding because it is crucial to maintaining a strong brand.

But I also noted that growth marketing needs a foundation to work from, which can be accomplished by having a strong, long-lasting budget or using a shorter fix or a hack.

Additionally, growth marketing takes longer to reach its goal, and clients tend to become bored quickly. 

You should surprise your customers occasionally instead of always doing the same thing.

This will keep your business afloat.

For instance, a surprise upgrade, a new service, or something the client didn't even realize they required.

Of course, more strategies exist to expand your firm besides growth marketing and hacking.

Alternatives that work better for you might be found.

Using this information, you can assess the most beneficial techniques for your business.

Choosing Between Growth Hacking and Growth Marketing

While many would claim that growth marketing is some fantastic one-size-fits-all strategy that can miraculously aid every company in growing, they could be lying.

Growth hacking is often preferable and popular because 7,940,000 blogs are about it.

Count of blogs on Growth hacking

Here are some tips to help you determine which strategies are best for your company.

1. Product/Market Fit

There's a solid reason why Silicon Valley online businesses like Hotmail, Dropbox, and Airbnb are frequently linked to growth hacking.

In fact, Sean Ellis had this to say about startups.

Sean Ellis's opinion on startups

They will lose money if they don't solve the problem immediately, and that's really where growth hacking is helpful.

As Ellis freely admits, the uncomfortable fact is that companies utilize growth hacking because they have no other option.

They have a small window of opportunity, hefty costs, and much to prove.

And in that case, experimenting with the product, the price, and other target markets makes perfect sense.

Once you have many satisfied customers who bring in more money than it costs to acquire and serve them, you can and should use a more prominent marketing model.


Because it’s in your best interest to build a scalable engine for acquiring, maintaining, and increasing similar accounts when you have good-fit clients with high lifetime values.

The first rule of growth hacking is that if your product doesn't have product/market fit yet, growth marketing is the best option.

2. Product-Based Virality

Online companies and online enterprises with a focus on consumers are examples that frequently appear in growth hacking literature.

This refers to PayPal, Facebook, Hotmail, Dropbox, and Airbnb.

Notably, growth hacking is fantastic for low-cost (or even free) consumer-facing businesses with an all-inclusive target market.

Consider social media platforms, mobile gaming, and productivity software. 

The method can be used for consumer products with a longer lifespan and some social elements, such as wearable technology, gaming consoles, or cell phones. 


Because all of these products share the same great potential for virality.

You can thus create a cute little referral loop.

On the other hand, growth marketing will be effective for boring, pricey niche products with longer sales cycles, no possibility for product-based virality, and greater customer lifetime values.

The second unbreakable rule is: Go for it if there's any chance of product-based virality.

Don't give up hope if you don't stand a chance of going viral.

You'll get where you need to be with growth marketing.

3. Market

The other amusing aspect of Dropbox, Facebook, and similar services is that they had no direct rivals when they first entered the market.

They all represented a fresh approach to getting an old task done.

The following saying comes out accurately in those market circumstances.

You build it, and they will come. 

But your growth tactics will require effective brand marketing in a few years.

Which is Right For Me?

To get next-level outcomes, you must use growth hacking and growth marketing.

Try growth hacking if you're hoping for immediate results.

You'll need a growth marketing strategy to maintain that growth over the long run.

But combining the two is what you should do for your brand.

Hire a marketing agency to incorporate growth marketing and hacking techniques throughout your strategy.

Wrapping Up

Do you need professional assistance that fosters short- and long-term expansion in your B2B business?

At AI bees, we will analyze your brand to determine when, where, and how to use growth hacking and growth marketing strategies to provide you with benefits that are not only immediate but also long-term.

We will launch a marketing campaign using our AI-powered solution to give you the desired results.

Schedule a demo with us today to learn more.