The Real War: Growth Hacking vs. Growth Marketing Vs. Digital Marketing


The term “hacker” or “hacking” is usually frowned upon. We instantaneously think about our private information being hacked, someone jacking our social media accounts, and the hush-hush celebrity scandals. But there’s a different type of hacking that people are actually stoked about. What is it? Growth hacking.

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is heavily focused on the customer life cycle. The goal of a growth hacker is to analyze customer acquisitions points, learn how they think, behave, and shop, and then change what isn’t working so the business can grow exponentially. Successful growth hacking occurs as a result of constant analysis and experimentation, some of which is out of the box.

However, as with most things, there are areas where growth hacking is shortsighted. Growth hacking can teeter on the edge of unconventional experimentation, which requires a certain pro-risk mentality—and budget. Growth hackers are also fixated on the aspect of growth, not necessarily revenue, which is where growth marketing comes into play.

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is essentially the lovechild of growth hacking and good ol’ fashioned marketing. It combines both strategies—growth hacking’s experimentation and customer life cycle focus with traditional marketing approaches that center on promotion and revenue. It takes the best of both worlds and hones in on if the business’ growth is headed in the right direction, a direction of a golden future glittering with money signs.  

Based on these simple definitions, you may realize that you are in the business of growth hacking and growth marketing without even knowing it. Some positions, particularly digital marketers, are growth hackers or growth marketers without the jazzy title. So, what can be done with this info?

Use it.

Putting It All Together

While you may have been applying growth hacking or growth marketing strategies into your business without realizing it, the best thing you can do now that your efforts have a name is to intentionally incorporate both techniques into your digital marketing strategy. Need a little help in the right direction? Consider these key points:

  1. Analyze your business’ current sales process and find the points where people flake off
  2. Create interest or add tactics to re-engage the customer at these areas of weakness (whether that means sending them an email that something is in their cart, down-selling to a lower-level ticket item, or offering a first-time discount)
  3. Review your social media accounts and find ways to keep current and potential customers engaged and interested in your products (fun content, interactive social media polls and discussions, giveaways, and contests encouraging people to follow your account)
  4. Analyze your efforts to see if your business’ growth and revenue are headed in the same direction. If not, pivot and retarget.

This just scratches the surface of growth hacking, growth marketing, and digital marketing. For even more ways on how to grow your business in the digital world, be sure to check out our entire library of blogs and videos in Seahawk Learn!

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