What is Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing?

Growth Hacking was born in Silicon Valley to help start-ups that have to work with much smaller budgets than large multinationals and need to prove the validity of their product in a relatively short time. Although Growth Hacking is also known as Growth Marketing, there are five main differences between both, which I will explain here.

The term Growth Hacking was first used in Silicon Valley, Palo Alto in 2010. Sean Ellis coined it when he was looking for a marketing professional who could also focus on product development and business growth. Since then, the professional profile of Growth Hacker or Growth Hacking Manager has spread around the world, as it allows companies to have an expert (or team) dedicated solely to business growth.

Marketing departments focus on day-to-day communications and branding, as well as marketing mix strategies, so most of them cannot include the goal of business growth in their objectives. The Growth Hacker, on the other hand, can focus entirely on growth and work not only with marketing, but also with the product development team and the management team that sets the company’s growth goals.

Contrary to popular belief, Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing is not a method only for technology start-ups, but can be applied to any type of business that wants to allocate resources and time to its growth. The choice of strategies to follow depends on how fast the company wants to grow and how much it wants to invest in that growth.

5 Differences between Growth Hacking and Traditional Marketing

There are five main differences between a growth hacking expert and a marketing expert. Although the lines between them are often blurred, they should ideally work together.

  1. The Growth Hacker uses the entire sales funnel and not just the top part, as does the Marketing Manager, whose goal is to generate interest and attract potential new customers.
  2. The Growth Hacker relies on trial and error. Failure is part of the process of finding satisfactory answers and solutions. It is a process of experimentation while the marketer pursues a strategy.
  3. In Growth Hacking, decisions are made based on data. These are numerical metrics that help analyse and determine next steps. In contrast, in marketing there are intangibles such as brand awareness or reputation and the approach is creative rather than data-driven.
  4. The Growth Hacker has some technical knowledge and can run experiments independently or coordinate a multidisciplinary team that includes marketing, product and software developers or other technical profiles. In contrast, a marketing manager traditionally has no technical knowledge and is not used to constantly working with new tools.
  5. The Marketing Department is rarely involved in the development of a product, but rather in the subsequent pricing, promotion, and communication of the product. The Growth Hacker or Growth Department, instead, works with the product developers to implement improvements.

Growth Hacking or Growth Marketing Tools

Although Growth Hacking is a step-by-step method, there are tactics in digital marketing that are part of the process. Some tactics are focused on immediate results, such as Google Ads or social media,
and others are focused on medium and long-term results, such as email marketing or content marketing.

Essentially, Growth Hacking aims to obtain as much information as possible about the product’s target audience and what product features are valued by potential customers in the shortest possible time. The information obtained can be used to achieve various objectives, such as validating a business idea, evaluating the possible launch of a new product, or improving communication strategies for a product that is already on the market.

In short, Growth Hacking is a new method that, like the Lean In method, was born in the cradle of start-ups and serves both technology start-ups and small and large companies -even multinationals- that want to innovate and adapt their offer to consumer demand.

In a highly competitive, atomised and changing market, this discipline provides quality answers at a reasonable price for all companies that want to grow and innovate.