One thing that defines the digital space is the amount of competition.  It is not like operating a brick-and-mortar establishment. You could be the only one running a specific business within your locality or region. 

On the online space, the competition comes from all over the world. Digital marketers are always looking for ways to break through the clutter. That is why growth marketing has become the new buzzword. 

Yet, interestingly, growth hacking has been around for a long time. The term is attributable to Sean Ellis, who even published a book on Hacking Growth in 2017. It has gone on to be a bestseller. Companies like Dropbox, Facebook, and Airbnb credit their success to it.   

So, what is growth hacking, and why do you need it for a leading digital strategy in 2021? 

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Understanding the Growth Hacking Concept  

Growth hacking is any step a business takes to gain an edge. You do it intending to grow the business.  It is a concept that applies to established and startup businesses alike.  

Some people may wonder whether growth hacking and digital marketing work together. The answer is a resounding yes. 

The digital marketing strategy has one focus in mind; to make your business grow.  It starts with awareness creation, resulting in leads generation. In the end, you do all you can to achieve conversions. 

Growth hacking has the same principles, but its scope is a little broader. It does not focus on one arm of the business only. Every department, including marketing, engineering, and even product development, has an active role.  

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing; What You Need To Know

Incorporating growth hacking techniques into your digital marketing requires a well-thought-out strategy. It means you look for ways to captivate audiences using unique tactics. Let's take the example of the use of the content for marketing purposes.  

Growth hackers dig deeper into performance issues and how audiences are responding to the company messaging or campaigns. Such information is critical for digital marketers to make relevant adjustments to whatever they're doing.  

In digital marketing, you look for ways to satisfy customer needs with the right products.  Let's say your company is selling a new, unique product. Your marketing team has to undertake a certain level of research. They must identify a problem or issue that your product can provide a solution to. 

The team then uses different digital platforms like the website, social media, or emails to target customers.  

When talking about growth hacks, the company determines how to use the product to stimulate company growth. They could, for example, recommend new product lines similar to the SSL proxies. With more revenue sources, the company can scale to the next level. 

Why Is Growth Hacking Critical To Your Digital Marketing Strategy? 

1. Growth Hacking Is A Part of Marketing 

Growth hacking falls under the umbrella of marketing. Digital marketing is all about online channels to reach audiences. Growth hacking uses some of those channels. However, it applies more agile, iterative, and experiential tactics.  

Growth hackers also depend heavily on data as the basis for recommendations on growth strategies.  For them, it is about looking for the most efficient way to get leads for the business.  So the channels, experiments, tactics, and tests will constantly switch. 

Their brief is not necessarily brand building or awareness creation. Rather, it is looking for optimal ways to utilize the funnel to improve the customer journey. A happy customer is likely to purchase and keep returning.  

2. The Roles Complement Each Other 

Many people still struggle to find a difference between digital marketing and growth hacking.   Yet, it is with good reason, because both roles complement each other. A typical startup, for example, will have growth hacking experts within the marketing team.  

In other organizations, it becomes easier to see the distinct difference between the two disciplines. They may have a separate department dedicated to growth hacking. 

Some companies are not even able to draw a clear distinction when looking for new hires. You find that they bundle the different roles under one umbrella.  

3. It Provides a Cost-Effective Option for Startups

Startups can benefit from operating growth hacking in their marketing plans. Some of the techniques require creativity and not necessarily big budgets. 

Although, you may need to invest in some tools like an SSL proxy to keep users visiting your website regularly. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) makes sure that the user’s data stays secure while engaging in transactions within your page. These are necessary for security reasons.

4. Exchange of Insights and Analytics

A sound digital marketing must incorporate insights from the growth hackers. There is a lot of research and analytics when determining the best path to business growth. The same happens when coming up with the marketing strategy. Data from marketing channels can, for example, provide the benchmark for any brand awareness activities. `. 

 The more your company grows, the more impactful the data and analytics become. It helps in better decision making regarding revenue generation  

4. They Share Basic Principles

You will find an intrinsic linkage between both hacking and digital marketing in their processes and goals. As we have already highlighted, both aim at achieving a better bottom line for the company. And indeed, the processes they use to get to the end share some similarities. Both, for example, must experiment and have a level of creativity. 

Growth hackers and digital marketers will also take advantage of marketing experimentation and funnels to achieve their goals. 

It is also important that they both measure their activities to ensure optimal output.  You will find similarities in some of the metrics. They both work at increasing engagement, conversions, and retention.   

Final Thoughts

Some people may struggle to find a real difference between digital marketing and growth hacking. Perhaps the confusion comes in because growth hacking uses digital marketing strategies in its processes.  

However, what people fail to understand is that every department plays an active role.  What it means is that even the marketing department provides invaluable feedback to growth hackers.  

While they do have some differences, they have an end goal commonality. The goal for both is to impact the company bottom line positively. Both need data to guide processes and decision-making.  

Growth hackers depend a lot on analytics and measurable metrics. Such information is critical for digital marketers as they look for ways to increase brand awareness. Insights such as understanding the customer journey will provide the basis for digital marketing activities. 

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Written by
Daniel Martin
Daniel Martin loves building winning content teams. Over the past few years, he has built high-performance teams that have produced engaging content enjoyed by millions of users. After working in the Aviation industry for 9 years, today Dani applies his international team-building experience in LinkDoctor to assist in solving his client’s challenges. Dani also enjoys photography and playing the carrom board.