Let’s start with Marketing and Growth Hacking. Traditionally marketing has been about understanding your customers and giving them the right message to make them want to purchase. That is a very simplified view of a complex profession with a lot more to it, and for the purpose of this comparison I won’t to go into all the finer details, but know that the marketing is also concerned about how a person feels, their affinity with a brand, and the psychology that goes behind a purchase decision.
Growth hacking was a term coined by Sean Ellis back in 2010, it is about using data insights to identify where your customers are, and funnelling them towards a goal. It’s a single minded focus on moving a metric up and to the right. The hacking part of growth hacking is about finding a way to test ideas quickly, so you can learn and iterate to the next idea until you have growth at scale. While most growth hacking techniques are applied to the acquisition stages of the funnel, it can also be used to build engagement with a product.
This is a question I get asked all the time, and one I’ve considered many times across my own career. To answer it there are few things we need to consider on this, where do these disciplines intersect and how are they different.