Should it be growth marketing vs growth hacking? Many in the business industry would take great pains to favor one. What about you? 

These terms have been revolving around for some time now, and since both are quite effective models, they deserve some clarification before being put to good use.

What is the definition of growth marketing?

Growth marketing definition

This is the process of conceiving, designing, and testing new approaches to improve and maximize results in a target market. This strategy focuses less on the creative parts and more on the data aspects by employing the scientific method. While tests frequently fail, growth marketers must be prepared to go on to the next step if this occurs. They must also be comfortable with failure.

Growth marketers are in charge of: 

  • Identifying areas that need to be tested and improved.
  • Experimental design and development
  • Performing controlled experiments.
  • Analyzing the results obtained
  • If necessary, conduct further experiments.

Growth marketing is used at every stage of the funnel, including:

  • Awareness. This is the stage in which a brand uses various channels, such as social media, to educate prospects about its products and services. At this stage, marketers conduct various experiments, such as determining which posts generate the most traffic or engagement.
  • Acquisition. This is a method used in acquiring leads to gain new prospects. Growth marketers try different strategies to increase leads at this stage, such as changing the page orientation or outlook.
  • Activation. This is the stage when marketers encourage customers to use a product or service as soon as possible after they've bought it.
  • Revenue is generated by activities such as product purchases, service upgrades, and contract signing. At this stage, growth marketers may experiment with price tactics and other upselling strategies to maintain and scale.
  • Retention. This is the stage when growth marketers may experiment with personalized support or give incentives for recurrent purchases to keep customers.
  • Referral. The stage wherein marketers may develop referral programs, such as offering a consumer an incentive to refer someone else to buy a product or service.

Data-driven, creative, product-focused, and risk-takers are some of the characteristics of successful growth marketers.

While growth marketing can be as simple as changing the color of a button, it can also be quite sophisticated. 

However, exercise caution as experiments might have various effects on your business.

What is growth hacking? 

Growth hacking definition

At its most basic level, growth hacking entails using out-of-the-box tactics to attract the most significant number of consumers for the least amount of money.

In other words, it's all about becoming successful and profitable as soon as possible. 

Growth hackers prioritize gaining market share over anything else by using strategies like fast experimentation, a data-first evaluation and iteration methodology, and exploiting channels other than traditional options like billboards.

Marketers who constantly discover and act on growth possibilities are known as "growth hackers." Every aspect of the company can be optimized for growth. 

This approach is handy for startup owners with limited resources but a need to increase market share to prove viability and product-market fit.

The best growth hackers pride themselves on finding a more innovative and faster way of doing things. They are willing and always ready to take risks  pursuing rapid growth. They differentiate themselves for being creative, technical, and hands-on, data-oriented, analytical thinkers prepared to think outside the box.                                   

On the other hand, growth marketers typically prioritize sustainable growth over speed. They value high-original content, take pains, and give time and effort to answer thousands of search queries to engage audiences and customers. In short, they value the hard yards.

Growth hackers want to distance themselves from growth marketers, and they are a bit prickly if they are to be lumped with what they perceive as slow growth marketers. 

On the other hand, growth marketers believe that it is the best strategy in the long run as it is more conscious and adaptive to customers’ feelings, needs, and wants. They view growth hackers as a quick-fix, don’t last approach.

But since its inception, the lines between the two have blurred as marketers speed up their games. While growth hackers, to give more valuable services and customer retention, accept the value of what the marketers hold dear, long-term sustainable growth by building relationships.

Three fundamental parallels exist between the two concepts.

Many people have conflated growth hacking and growth marketing since they share a few key traits. Even for those who use both as separate concepts, the commonalities can aid in developing a more holistic plan that incorporates both.

Growth marketing vs. growth hacking
  1. Data: The importance of data cannot be overstated. Both growth hacking and growth marketing prioritize data in their decision-making processes. Hunches based on hearsay or previous experiences are replaced by better-educated decisions based on hard data obtained from the experimentation and A/B testing outlined above for both concepts.
  2. Revenue: Concentrate on increasing revenue and expanding your business. Because it's in the name, it's a logical fit. Whether we're talking about marketing or hacking, both approaches prioritize income and corporate expansion. These concepts are a perfect fit for businesses focusing on both to acquire a footing in a competitive sector.
  3. Optimization of investments: Finally, both hacking and growth marketing emphasize operating in a lean context with minimal resources. Every dollar must be counted, and every decision must be made with a return on investment in mind. The goal of both growth hackers and growth marketers is to optimize for investment at all times.

In other words, growth hacking and growth marketing are quite similar, especially in these aspects. However, they do have a few key variances that should be noted.

Growth Marketing vs Growth Hacking: Tale of the Tape

The parallels are unmistakable. At the same time, it's important to keep in mind that these concepts are not interchangeable. Not at all. Understanding the differences between the two might assist you in determining which choice is ideal for your startup. The following are some key differentiators:

  1. Narrow vs. Broad. Growth hacking is an organizational strategy that aims to maximize all available resources to accelerate business growth. As a result, within that framework, it's fundamentally rigid. Growth marketing, on the contrary, is more focused on networking, and it's more flexible within the said framework in selecting the most beneficial methods and chances for the company.
  2. Long-Term vs. Short-Term. Rapid growth takes precedence in growth hacking. On the other hand, growth marketing stresses the long term. Strategies are executed and assessed for how well they recruit and keep customers, not simply for their top-of-funnel efforts. That's one reason why branding is a constant in this technique, although growth hackers typically ignore it due to its lack of quick rewards.
Long-term vs short-term growth
  1. People vs. Technology: Technology takes precedence in growth hacking. Technology underpins all products, and a significant portion of the effort is devoted to furthering its development. On the other hand, growth marketing is geared toward people—specifically, the target demographic for that product (and its underlying technology). Growth marketing, unlike growth hacking, does not always necessitate specialist knowledge. However, development knowledge is difficult without a thorough understanding of who your clients are.

Some aspects of growth hacking, such as its short-term concentration and technology slant, have been criticized. Growth marketing's longer-term focus on people, on the other hand, inoculates it against these objections and makes it a more viable option for many companies.

All business organizations need a method, find a way, adapt to the process to find that unique combination of strategies that will work out their own special needs and demands.

This is in no way an attempt to favor one side or the other. However, it can be a suggestion for an organization to review its goals and see best what is more beneficial for the entire organization. 

As the business world is ever-changing and customers are ever-evolving, you can’t become tied to the same old channels. 

Innovate, keep up, evolve. Otherwise, your brand will be under threat from new and savvy competition

How to Keep Track of Your Business Growth

  1. Brainstorm.

Brainstorming to track business growth

What is your idea? Details about your experiment idea. How do you think it should be developed? Where does it impact? – This experiment will impact your company’s metrics. Never forget to include the expected results.

  1. Prioritize. 
Prioritize for growth tracking

Define the priority of going on with the experiment—design tests around what you and your team decide to prioritize. Rank ideas and keep your focus.

Test Your Approach. 

Then dig into the question ‘why.’ It will help you, once again, go back and start understanding things about your customer, your channel, and your product. It will lead to iterations and new ideas of the experiments that you should probably run next.

  1. Analyze those tests.
Analyze tests through metrics

Analyze those tests. Analytics are vital to staying on track with your goals. This is where you’ll determine how your test went and how the metrics you selected at the beginning of the process were affected. What’s the improvement/decrease percentage? Did the test achieve its goals?

  1. Feed them back into the process. 

Take that analysis and those learnings. Basically, look for the variations, the winners, anything you find successful, productize it with software and engineering. Systemize everything to get better with the process, with the team, with your tools and instrumentation.

Final Note 

As each business is unique, one’s needs may be for a growth marketer, and one may need a growth hacker. Or for optimum results, there’s room for both if the budget allows. However, growth and success will never be sustainable without proper keeping track of the results of the processes and experiments facilitated and implemented.

The trick is to not attempt either on your own. Instead, finding a partner who can assist you in successfully growing your business is critical. This is where we can help.

Our experience working with and marketing for startups has given us a better understanding of how challenging it can be to balance many, often contradictory demands when starting a business from the ground up. 

In that climate, marketing should be viewed as an opportunity to deliver answers rather than a challenge. 

Work with us, AI bees, to develop growth strategies that can move your company forward—and keep it on a steady upward path.