Growth Hacking vs. Inbound Marketing What's the Difference?


October 26, 2016

Growth Hacking. Just the name sounds like one of the coolest concepts ever. And even if it sounds like a faraway term, this methodology does just what its name says: hacks. It improves the growth of a business by focusing on the product itself and its own digital sharing capabilities. The best of all? It can become one of Inbound Marketing's greatest allies.

“A Growth Hacker has the objective to make a business grow. Creative people do it with knowledge of the tools to make it happen using the lowest amount of resources possible,” said Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor in their “Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking.”

This tendency, which is being promoted heavily in the US and Europe, uses social networks and the product’s own capacity for growth to increase user conscience using in-your-face campaigns with a fish n’ hook methodology.

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Have you noticed how lately there have been numerous campaigns using the “Invite your friends and earn rewards”? This is one of the techniques Growth Hacking utilizes. Uber is one of the most successful examples. Using the product as its focus aims to make the product as well-known as possible, no matter the means. It is cheap, gives results almost immediately, and has great reach.

These campaigns and steady social network marketing are ways to make a company well known inside the user base, but it is also considered very fast and aggressive. It doesn’t guarantee results in the long term.

Most of these practices are also used in Inbound Marketing. Although a lot slower, Inbound Marketing also offers something to their users in the final steps of their journey after engaging them with content and solving their problems. But at the same time, don't some of the ideas used sound similar? So while people could say both walk towards the same end, making them incompatible, they can work together, and they can even boost each other’s goals.

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In a report, ConversionXL’s Shanelle Mullin comments that “both are perceived as synonyms that point towards growth.” But each is targeting different steps in the Buyer’s Journey. Both methods are not direct competition, and they are designed to work together.

Inbound Marketing focuses on giving solutions to problems the user might have, guiding them through deciding to buy your product. This is done by content creation in a blog or through Google using good SEO practices, which helps develop loyal leads.

Growth Hacking invites visitors to become promoters quickly using marketing techniques that promote usage and retention as long as they keep using it, skipping the whole process and offering a solution to a problem they didn’t know they had.

While they both might sound contradictory, using growth Hacking within an Inbound Marketing strategy could help promote your final product through users that have been through the entire buyer journey.

This new mixed tendency could become one of the main ways to do digital marketing, which doesn’t face one against the other but exploits what has proven to be successful and develop a new style with the best of both worlds.

Have you tried any growth hacking techniques in your company? Did it work? If yes, how was your experience?

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My name is Izzy and I am a co-founder of CRM Toolbox, an award-winning HubSpot Solutions Partner. I lead our team of consultants who provide professional guidance to help businesses implement the HubSpot CRM platform migrate, integrate their tech stack to HubSpot to create a seamless environment for sales reps to use. There is nothing I love more than solving the challenges that come up when someone wants to migrate an old system or integrate their tech stack with HubSpot - it's like a puzzle!

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