The idea of selling for a profit has existed since the start of urban civilization. It plays a vital role in society as businesses meet consumers’ demands in various ways. Since then, how business owners run businesses has evolved through trials and errors until they have reached what we know and are familiar with today. 


The problem, however, is that there are millions of businesses worldwide. Statista estimates that there were 333.34 million businesses worldwide in 2021; this number is likely to rise as more people want to start a business of their own.


Implementing unique and effective digital marketing strategies is the only way to stand out in an increasingly fierce competition. Doing so will help you attract customers, establish an online presence, and help your business grow. 

An Overview Of the Differences Between Growth Hacking And Growth Marketing


Why Is Growth Crucial To Every Company?


Businesses, whether big or small, can significantly impact how society functions and drive the nation’s economy. Similar to life, growth is crucial because it enables every company to innovate and meet the growing customer demand in a better way. 


Without growth, every company might slowly cease to exist, and there will be no source of income that can help people sustain themselves. To prevent that, business owners should implement unique and effective digital marketing strategies with the help of the AARRR framework. 


What Is AARRR Framework?


The acronym in the AARRR framework, also known as pirate metrics, stands for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue. It refers to a funnel model with set metrics that can help businesses track customer lifecycle. 


  • Acquisition – convert viewers into leads and customers 
  • Activision – make customers realise a business’s value
  • Retention – ensure that customers continue to take action
  • Referral – encourage customers to promote a business 
  • Revenue – increase customers’ value


Even though the AARRR framework was recently first developed by Dave McClure in 2007, many companies use it to drive their business performance and earn more profits. Given that the AARRR framework breaks down growth strategy into five stages and assigns metrics, business owners can understand more of what they need to do:


An Overview Of The AARRR Funnel Model


Due to the simplified visualisation of the AARRR framework, many businesses use it for growth hacking and growth marketing. They incorporate these into the AARRR framework to help them grow further. 


Let us first explain and understand growth hacking.



Part I: What Is Growth Hacking?


Growth hacking is a market growth strategy coined by Sean Ellis in 2010 and published a book about it in 2017. Together with his co-author, Morgan Brown, they described growth hacking as:


‘A rigorous approach to fueling rapid market growth through high-speed, cross-functional experimentation.’ – Excerpt from Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success written by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown


The experimentation they mentioned refers to hacks. A slang term for a technique that helps put businesses on the fast track to connect with new and existing customers and eventually increase their sales. 


In simple terms, growth hacking is a creative and innovative way marketers and business owners use to make their products or services go viral. During that period, more people will be talking, supporting, and purchasing their niche, which leads them to acquire a higher market of customers when it comes to the products or services they offer. 


The goal of growth hacking is that it does not care about metrics, budget, and branding as long as a company will grow in a short time. Its concept is similar to the fail fast model, which involved several trial and errors of different strategies. When the marketers or business owners notice that their idea does not work out, they change it with a new plan fast. 

Examples Of Growth Hacking




When hotels were fully-booked, a group of impoverished men (Joe, Brian, and Nathan) in San Francisco opened up their homes to visitors for cheaper accommodation prices. Over time, they realised and saw a growing demand and thought that their bizarre kind of business was not a one-time thing where people were looking for alternative accommodation to hotels because it was fully booked. Since they have opened up their homes to visitors, there has been sustainable demand from the visitors. That is how Airbnb was born and how they developed this innovative concept: the birth of Airbnb. 


Like other business owners, they use traditional marketing strategies to promote their niche: word of mouth and PR coverage from media outlets. But these three men did not stop there, and they moved closer to their target market by attending tech events where they found tons of the early customers of Airbnb. 


To increase the bookings of their Airbnb, they decided to post pictures of how their rental place looks, so potential renters will know what awaits them. 

Even though growth hacking was not yet a thing back then, Airbnb was one of  the first to reap its benefits.


how airbnb started infographic


Retrieved this infographic of how airbnb started from Inc42




Another example of growth hacking is the Dropbox referral programme. This file hosting service company offers free extra Dropbox storage of up to 16 GB for successful referrals, and referrers and users who are being referred can use the bonus space forever. Thus, it is a win-win for both parties. 


Dropbox referrals


This GIF has been recorded from Dropbox referrals web page.


The idea of extra free storage is music to one’s ears for students, work-from-home employees, and many others since they can save their documents, images, and other files online. 


Since Dropbox is online storage, users can access their files by logging in and downloading whatever they need from their Dropbox accounts. Given that everyone loves free stuff, who would not agree to refer a friend for free extra storage?


Dropbox growth curve of organic viral referral programme and others


4 Benefits Of Growth Hacking


1. Embracing Growth Mentality


Implementing growth hacking allows anyone to adopt a growth mentality. That means marketers and business owners will try their best to understand what growth means to their goal and how they can achieve it, including how growth marketing can impact their business operations. 


2. Cost-Effective


Growth hacking is cost-effective since it does not waste time waiting for months to see results. If marketers or business owners do not see results with their campaign on their set timeline, like in a month, they will change the strategy with other strategies to seek improvements. 


Doing this helps reduce marketing budget wastage and lessen the time required for the campaign to take flight. You should expect marketers and business owners will run one campaign after another if it does not work as planned. 


3. Increased Web Traffic And Conversions 


Since growth hacking does not waste time investing in unfruitful digital marketing campaigns for long, it can generate quality leads until one of the ideas they release works. They will use it continuously until the hacks no longer work, and their brand recognition remains. 


4. Fast Timeline


Growth hacking can generate quality leads since it never stops developing ideas. If the initial plan never works, marketers and business owners will think outside the box. They will come up with new ideas that bring fast results. 


Now that you have a good grasp of growth hacking, let us move on and learn about growth marketing,



Part II: What Is Growth Marketing?


Unlike growth hacking, growth marketing is a long-term market growth strategy. It is a quick but methodical process of testing various digital marketing platforms, including websites and social media. 


You will be using data insight to create content and perform analysis to think of an alternative solution. It can help you learn the best strategies to market your goods and services and expand your business since everything you will do with growth marketing is backed by data.


You must blend brand marketing with tactical performance when using growth marketing in your company. You can draw more potential customers and persuade them to take action and spread the word about you.


Comparison Between Growth Marketing vs Traditional Marketing


Growth marketing can be thought of as the modernised form of traditional marketing. The only distinction is that it frequently addresses all marketing objectives, from brand awareness to customer loyalty.


View the illustration below to better grasp the difference between growth marketing and traditional marketing. 


Comparison Between Growth Marketing vs Traditional Marketing


4 Strategies Of Growth Marketing 


1. A/B Testing 


A/B testing refers to the process of experimenting with two types of campaigns and seeing which performs better; the campaign that drives more traffic, gains leads, and increases conversions. Doing this helps marketers and business owners become well-versed with customer engagement since A/B testing can be used for anything and everything across the marketing realm, like social media, websites, and Google Ads.


ALSO READ: A/B Testing: A Guide To Optimising Google Ads


2. Customer Life Cycle 


This strategy of growth marketing refers to customers’ purchase journey, awareness, considerations, conversions, and loyalty. By focusing on each stage, you can guide your potential customers to take actions and become loyal supporters of your business. 


3. Cross Channel Marketing 


Instead of promoting your products and services on one platform, you can attract more customers if you market your niche across different platforms that your business,  such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. 


Each of these platforms has a different purpose.  Knowing how you approach your target audience on each one allows you to market your niche more effectively and achieve your ultimate goal.


DISCOVER: 6 Social Media Platforms And Their Usages


4. Analysis Tools


To successfully implement growth marketing in your business, it is essential to use analysis tools to track data and gain insights. Since information is everything, you can improve your current campaigns better by using the following analysis tools:



DISCOVER: Top 10 Essential SEO Analytics Tools You Need For Your Website


Examples Of Growth Marketing 


Content Marketing


Blog posts, ebooks, online courses, and videos are some of the content marketing materials that you can use to promote your products or services to your target audience.


Since your target audience can be anywhere, content marketing applies to social media, website content, email marketing, influencer marketing, live video marketing, webinars, seminars, etc. How content marketing will be done depends on how marketers like you approach each of your campaigns. 


Link Building On Reputable External Sources 


Link building is a practice of obtaining links pointing to your website from other websites. The moment you put the anchor text with hyperlinks to a website,  you are giving them a backlink. It also works the same way for you. If anyone adds a hyperlink that is directed to your website,you will gain a backlink. The more you do this, the more you expand your reach and online presence as long as you properly link your web pages to appropriate keywords on reputable external sources. 


Building Community Through Loyalty Programme & Referrals


Another example of growth marketing is building community through loyalty programmes. The main goal of a loyalty programme is to retain customers so that they will continue to be loyal customers to the brand. 


For example, when people want to grab a coffee, they will think of Starbucks because Starbucks has a loyalty programme, and they want to accumulate points. With accumulated points, they will earn several benefits that Starbucks offers. 


A loyalty programme depends on brands, but ultimately, they offer something beneficial for the customers in the long run that will entice them to continue spending with the brand.


Another way to build a community is through referrals. It encourages existing customers to become an advocate of the brand and they would get something in return as their rewards. If the person becomes a spokesperson for the brand, it means they are loyal to the brand to some extent. 


User Generated Content (UGC)


Any type of online content produced by customers, such as texts, photographs, videos, reviews, or audio files, is referred to as user-generated content. 


For example, if they purchase something from your website and decide to create a video review via TikTok and share it on their social media account, what they have posted can reach their followers, friends, and many more. You should know that any form of UGC is an invaluable marketing asset because they are authentic, organic, and free.


5 Benefits Of Growth Marketing 


1. Gain Data On Customer Behaviour


Since growth marketing revolves around data, it tends to help businesses to create long-lasting relationships with their customers. The more data they collect on customer behaviour, the more they can emphasise and optimise their branding to their customers needs in more creative ways. 


2. Branding


Growth marketing raises brand awareness in a slow but steady way. Marketers and business owners can achieve this by putting a particular idea into practice, assessing its progress, and making changes to improve them. 


In the long run, a business will become more identifiable. More people will know about their products or services by looking at their logo or tagline. For example, ‘Just Do It!’ is from Nike and ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ is from Mcdonald’s. 


3. Retain Customers


Since growth marketing focuses on long-term growth, it has a more holistic approach to retaining customers. Once marketers and business owners successfully turn a target audience into paying customers, they will create campaigns that persuade customers to become loyal customers, and that helps increase customer retention rate. 


4. Increased Web Traffic 


Growth marketing can also help increase web traffic through the organic and inorganic approaches. Marketers and business owners should create campaigns using highly targeted keywords to increase the chances that these will appear right in front of their target audience on search engine results pages. 


5. Increased Conversion Rate


Through A/B testing, growth marketing can help increase conversion rate by improving existing campaigns that work better than the other. Optimising them will likely drive more traffic, gain leads, and earn more conversions. Marketers and business owners can employ the method they used with the optimised campaigns across different platforms to expand their reach and online presence. 



Part III: The Difference Between Growth Hacking And Growth Marketing 


Even though growth hacking and growth marketing are different in many ways, they are both market growth strategies that help businesses grow. Shown below is the comparison of the differences between the two.


Why Should You Implement Both Growth Hacking And Growth Marketing?

Even though growth hacking and growth marketing have different approaches to marketing products and services to customers, both still have the same goal—to promote business growth. 


The Difference Between Growth Hacking And Growth Marketing

Growth Hacking 
Growth Marketing 
Rapid growth Data is used to gain insights to strategise for growth marketing campaigns
Acquisition-focused Full-funnel-focused with the help of data
Experiment & refine outcomes Identify patterns & refine strategies based on data
Hands-on, finite With gathered data, it automated and create scalable campaigns
Trial & error Based on data, it can create algorithmic method
Business pain points Produce campaign based on Customer pain points
Optimisation Generate personalisation with gathered data


The creativity of growth hacking and tactical methods of growth marketing with data can help a business grow. When implemented both correctly, it will generate tremendous results. Your business can get the best of both worlds. You can attract more customers and quality traffic while increasing your sales as you take your business’ market growth strategy to the next level. 




Growth hacking and growth marketing might be challenging to do at first, but your hard work will pay off as long as you implement them right. If you need help with these market growth strategies, engage with an award-winning digital marketing agency. With their years of experience and expertise, they can raise brand awareness and expand your online presence.


Contact OOm at +65 6391 0930 or leave a message on our website if you need help implementing growth hacking or growth marketing or both to your business. 

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