‘Growth Hacker’ is a term that has been developed to describe someone who is both a sales marketer and engineer. They are essentially a marketer but with a much different set of tools to work with, and to produce one goal – scalable growth.
Growth hacking utilizes various marketing strategies to achieve as much growth for the company as possible. While marketing involves a more established, slower expansion for a company that has already achieved substantial growth, growth hacking is built around start-up companies and figuring out how to provide as much growth in the shortest time frame possible.
To further emphasize the distinction between the two we can look at the tools and key differences of each:
Growth hacking works best with unknowns – rather than a company that knows their effective marketing strategies, growth hacking is for companies that are yet to figure these and decide what will work best and who the target market will be.
Growth hacking is for drastic short term growth – compared to an established corporation that hopes to gain a small amount of growth each year, growth hacking is aimed at small start-up companies that plan growth of 20% per month or more.
Growth hacking is designed for smaller budgets – keeping in line with a smaller business vs. an established corporation, growth hacking doesn’t need the manpower or funding that many of the bigger business marketing departments need to achieve growth.
The tools growth hackers use to achieve this are also what distinguishes them from conventional marketers:
- Viral Acquisition: Utilizing existing product features to promote sharing of your product or service from existing to new users.
- Paid Acquisition: This usually comes in the form of advertisement through high impression avenues such as T.V., radio, search engines and more. On top of this often affiliate marketing comes into play where third-party marketers promote your product for a share of the sale.
- Outbound call centers: By outsourcing call centers to low average wage countries, they can perform SEO or email duties on an extremely large scale while keeping costs down.
- Content and email marketing: Drawing from the expertise of employees within the company, giving helpful and useful content (blog articles, infographics, and video) to potential customers is a common growth hacking technique.
- Search Engine Optimization: Effective SEO for growth hackers usually involves building scalable infrastructure that applies to millions of pages rather than just ranking for 5-10 keywords.
For more growth hacking techniques, read our post, “Who’s Afraid of Growth Hacking?”
So in essence, growth hackers are marketers. But the differentiation comes from not only the target companies for their marketing, but also the tools they utilize to perform this. There are no specific requirements for a growth hacker however in terms of qualifications – they don’t have to be formal engineers and it doesn’t necessarily have to be via viral means either. Growth hackers have to constantly think progressively, never settle for the status quo, and push the envelope.
Growth hacking can be applied to any form of marketing that causes substantial growth using primarily the tools mentioned above – by thinking outside of the rules and using methods that most marketers aren’t familiar with using with the sole goal of creating as much scalable growth as possible.