Digital Marketing vs Growth Hacking - what's the difference?

Zeelee Blog

Digital Marketing vs Growth Hacking - what's the difference?

Posted 02 September 2020

​For a business to succeed in an increasingly crowded market, it needs to grow. Whether you’re new to the world of marketing or looking to expand your understanding of marketing, knowing the difference between growth hacking digital marketing is a must. While these two categories can often be lumped in together, each can mean something completely different from the other.

So, what’s the difference between growth hacking and digital marketing, and which one should my business be focusing on? Read on to find out more about what each type of marketing means, how they can be applied and which might be the best choice to grow your businesses successfully:

What is digital marketing?

When you think of marketing a product or a service, digital marketing is the more conventional process you think of. From getting brands in front of the right customers on social media to developing SEO content for websites, digital marketers focus specifically on two areas: increasing sales and conversions, and brand awareness. Digital marketing can include anything from PPC paid search management to email marketing and content marketing, as well as social media marketing. Any marketing activity in the digital sphere is digital marketing.

What is growth hacking?

In contrast to digital marketing, growth hacking is a process generally used by start-ups and small businesses to grow the business as quickly as possible. While digital marketing is just one aspect of the sales process and has its own set boundaries, growth hacking can be a little messier. Anything from engineering to product development to marketing is included as part of growth hacking’s remit. While digital marketing is more set-in-stone, growth hacking may involve being very flexible and testing, changing and evolving in a short space of time to achieve the best possible results.

Digital marketing vs growth hacking: what's the difference?

Much like any other digital marketing technique, it isn’t a case of ‘which one is better’ with digital marketing and growth hacking. Some principles of each may be a better fit for some businesses, while for other companies going straight for one or the other may be more successful. While digital marketing is all about getting those customers and keeping them around through brand marketing, growth hacking is focused solely on growing.

As a domain frequently used by start-ups, growth hacking is often considered to be the lower-budget option of the two. However, that all depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re looking to achieve it. If you plan on testing multiple approaches to marketing with high-risk, low-cost strategies, then growth hacking may be the best move. If your goal is building awareness, fostering relationships, and improving loyalty, then digital marketing is the way to go.

With two distinctly different objectives and roles within companies, it isn’t as simple as growth hacking replacing digital marketing or vide versa. Anything from the size of your company, your budget, and your ultimate goals can have an impact on which form of marketing is the best fit for you. While growth hacking may be the buzzword of the moment, it’s all about finding a balance – and choosing the marketing that’s right for your brand, and best for your business. No short cuts necessary.

Share this article