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Growth Hacker v/s Digital Marketing Manager – Which One Would You Prefer?

The world is rapidly shifting towards the digital phase and customers are consuming more digital content in the day-to-day life.

Websites, SEO, blogs, internet banner ads, online video content, email marketing – there is so much on the list that a business cannot survive without the digitization.


In this scenario of cut-throat competition, companies are continuously looking for capable employees who can help them grow in the digital world. On the one side  they are searching for capable employees, the other side, they are confused about whom to hire.

The hierarchy of positions is increasing and the chaos of finding a perfect candidate is surging day by day. Starting from the SEO expert to  the Social media marketer, several niches have been established within the realm of digital marketing.

While the other digital positions were struggling to win their places, a new term has arrived and it goes by thename of “Growth Hacking”

The focus has  shifted and digital marketers are trying to get clearer about this new buzzing term.  In our previous blogs, we tried to emphasize on what growth hacking is and how it is taking over a major part of the digital world.

 Still, some important questions are left that we need to cover, like:
●    Who  can actually deliver the work of growth hacking?
●    How a growth hacker is different from a digital marketing manager?
●    Can a digital marketing manager carry out the job of growth hacking?

Just like these questions, various other queries are also there and they need to be cleared before we move ahead with a marketing strategy. So, here we are to help you with those unsolved queries.

The first question is what you are looking for? Or what is the current requirement of your business?

Growth Hacking Vs Digital marketing

You have to realize whether you just want to create your online presence or looking forward to quick growth strategies.

Growth hacking is the buzzword that every startup gets fascinated by and then gets stuck up in the dilemma whether they need the a digital marketing manager or a growth hacker.

Some of the traders and marketers think that growth hackers are just like the digital marketers who promote a business. This confusion arises due to the similarity of the goals of a marketer and a growth hacker.

To start with, you should know that the job of a growth hacker is completely different from that of a digital marketing manager. Even though their goals are the same, their working ideologies and tactics are different from the ordinary marketing strategies.

What a Growth Hacker Does?

Starting with the definition of growth hacker, we came to this conclusion: a growth hacker is someone who is more focused on achieving an objective than following the certain process. They use their creative and analytical thinking to gain exposure and sell the products.

Growth Hacking Traits

They usually opt for the techniques like search engine optimization, social media activities, and other methods to compile the process of growth hacking. However, these techniques are leveraged in a way that is low in cost and has an efficiency of output.

The  bottom line is – A hacker is someone who focuses on the urgency of the goal rather than the process involved in it.

What a Digital Marketing Manager Does?

With the term digital marketing, all you need to know is – digital marketing is promoting your brand via one or more forms of electronic media. The Internet, mobile phones, and social media platforms are some of the major platforms that are being used to promote businesses.

Growth Hacking Vs Digital Marketing

So, who performs this task? Yes, you guessed it right – a digital marketing manager! A digital marketing manager creates, develops, and implements a strategy that boosts the online presence of a business.

We can say that the digital marketing manager sits at the top of the management hierarchy. Beneath his position lies the SEO manager, social media marketing manager, and the PPC experts.

It is the duty of the digital marketing manager that he takes the full control of the team working under him.

Where the Difference Lies?

There is no similarity between the job of a digital marketing manager and a growth hacker except for the goals and the niche. They both work for the same goal using totally different methodologies. For a digital marketing manager, the process matters the most, whereas for a growth hacker achieving the goal is the key.

Peeping inside the prime activities of both the profiles, we have shortlisted some of the points that will show you how their work differs.

●    Working Environment

Are you able to recognize your needs?

The first question you need to be clear with is  – How can you boost the  growth and sustenance of your business?

Here we have the answer for you – Hire a growth hacker or a digital marketing manager.

Growth Hacking

But whom to hire a growth hacker or a digital marketing manager?
Is the categorization difficult? Well, no, not at all!

Growth hacking is like a wake-up call to the startups who are still addicted to the traditional marketing. Most of the time it is recommended to those businesses who are somewhere related to technologies. For example. Say, an app developing company or any other that deals with high-end technologies.

Now, think what a growth hacker will do for a cleaning business? According to their work commitment, they will generate more than 100 leads overnight and that is where things are going to be scary.

How do you think, you can maintain the sudden appointments and escape the clashes. On the one hand, you are paying for the services, but on the other , you are ruining your brand. So, before you hire a growth hacker get a precise idea whether you need a growth hacker or not.

Ok, this was for a growth hacker. Now, let us see when you will require a digital marketing manager. Here, the chaos is lesser than the earlier situation as you can hire a digital marketing manager for any of the business that has its web presence.

The Difference between a Growth Hacker and a Digital Marketing Manager

The job of a digital marketing manager is to improve the lead generation by maintaining the brand reputation in the industry. SEO, Social Media Marketing, PPC are some of the widely opted platforms in order to manage the digital reputation of the company.

Whether you are a running a cleaning business or app manufacturing business, in both the cases, a digital marketer will be beneficial to you. Hire a whole team of marketers for improving the reputation of the company and the digital marketing manager can control all their activities.

According to a recent survey, one-third of the businesses is planning to introduce digital transformation and one-third of them have already switched for it.

With such a  great leap, the growth hackers, as well as the digital marketing managers, are going to be in demand for at least five years hence. For the final call the working environment you are in should act as the determinant.

●    Rate of Growth

A startup can grow 20 times within a year and some of them are still not satisfied with it. However, a corporation gets satisfied with just 5% growth per year.

This might sound like a huge difference, yet it simplifies the difference between the difference between a Growth Hacker and a Digital Marketing Manager

You see the stats clearly states that a well-established company hardly demands a growth hacker.  They are satisfied with their growth rate and can move on with a nice brand reputation. However, a start-up cannot afford to go so slow in the growth process. They are in the need of a growth booster to kick-start their business. That is where a growth hacker comes in.

Growth hackers are not worried about the process, methodologies, and tools to reach the mass. Instead, they focus simply on a goal that is growth.

Growth Rate

A superb example of growth hacking could be seen in the tactics of AirBnB. Their story of growth is not hidden from anyone and truly inspires the startups.

Basically, what they did was that they reverse engineered the web forms that were used by Craigslist. After this, they posted the AirBnB adds to the Craigslist and started gaining  huge traffic. The idea was a hit and AirBnB marked a boom for the growth hackers.

So, the difference is clear – there are two different demands, two different job posts, and two different people accomplishing the task. As an output the growth rate will also vary and overall if it is about the overnight growth of the company, a growth hacker is the best bait.

Also, you don’t have to worry about the actual resources they are going to leverage throughout their growth-boosting process, as they will automatically find some great tools and resources.

After all, a growth hacker is best known for his out of the box thinking.

●    Resources Leveraged

At some point, the growth hacker and a digital marketing manager get hooked with the same tools and techniques. However, it is the attitude that makes them work on a different verge even while using the same technologies.

Below are the platforms that a digital marketing manager and growth hacker use in common:

1.    Content Marketing
2.    Email Marketing
3.    SEO
4.    Social Media Marketing

Apart from these resources, the growth hackers use some high-end tactics to boost the growth of a company. Here is the list of the same:

●    Viral acquisition

Utilizing the built its products is the first strategy of the growth run hacker. They take full advantage of the existing product to bootstrap the growth of the users.

●    Paid Acquisition

When it comes to paid results, a digital marketing manager will think twice. However,  a growth hacker takes advantage of every possible thing to kick-start the growth.

Display ads, Facebook ads, google ads, radio, TV, mobile ads are some of the resources that a growth hacker cannot work without. As a third-party marketer, they will promote your business, but will also cost you a part of the revenue.

growth hacking with google
It is not that a digital marketer can’t use the above given tools. It is the approach that hinders.

Ok, this was some of the resources leveraged by the growth hackers. However, if we talk honestly, then there is no such fix tool and process to move ahead with this job. It can be anything and anywhere.

Let’s talk about the example of Paypal. In the Paypal’s Friend referral bounty, people used to get $10 when they joined it for the first time and if a friend of yours signed up with your reference, then they were gifted additional $10.

So, what the referrals look like:

Growth Hacking Referral Tricks
Growth Hacking Referral Tricks

This is kind of viral idea these days and more than half of the customer’s sign up for an app because of these freebies only. This is kinda of a strategy that comes from the creative mind of growth hackers.

●    Set Of Skills

A growth hacker is a programmer, tester, social media marketer as well as a sales person.

Don’t have these sets of skills? You can survive as a digital marketing manager, but it will be difficult when it comes to being a growth hacker.

The image below will show what you need to know for being the master of digital marketing.
Digital Marketing Skills
Most of the effectiveness of the growth hacking process is derived from a data-driven approach. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the master of all trades. Just a bit of it will work in your favor.

Whether you are running an a/b test or tweaking the backend codes, you have to understand the basics of it.

So, here is a list of what you must learn in order to be a growth hacker:

●    Statistics
●    Programming
●    Excel modeling
●    Analytics
●    SQL
●    A/B testing
●    Web Scraping

Try to gain the basic knowledge of these topics and you can move ahead with the flying colors.

growth hacker

If you are doing it just for the sake of Growth hacking, then just get an overview of what it is and a particular section that can be taken in count.

However, If you have a personal interest in learning any of it, then go ahead with it as there is no limit to learning.

•    Job Status

Both the jobs are interesting as well as full of uncertainties.

It’s the requirements of the customers that makes it more interesting. However, if we see from the perspective of demand, then there is an almost equal demand of the growth hackers and the digital marketing manager. After all the companies need to sustain their growth without any obstacles.

The stats given below will show you why the digital marketing world offers a safe future to the growth hacker as well as a digital marketing manager.

●    65% of the traders say they plan to spend more on the online videos in 2016.
●   38% of marketers are planning to shift spending from traditional advertising to digital channels.
●    Online advertising will comprise of more than 25% of the entire ad market in 2016.
●    Videos on landing pages are able to increase conversions by 86%.
●    More than  1.47 million emails are sent per month
●    eMarketer says the total number of US email users will be 236.8 million in 2017.

Adding to this, below are some stats depicting the surge in Internet users.

Growth Hacking Stat

Overall, it is the outcomes that largely differentiates both the positions. While hiring a growth hacker one can expect a quick result, however, a digital marketer has its own boundaries and that is why the growth process will be sustainable yet slow.

In the end, when it comes to the paychecks of the growth hackers and the digital marketers. In most of the cases, the first goes for the certain percentage of the revenue while the digital marketing manager will be fine with a defined salary.

The bottom line – Define your needs first and take the further decision with due diligence.

This article has been written & published by Rafi Chowdhury a very good person & friend of mine and dynamic digital marketer. This article gives an in-depth insights on current scenario where requirement of digital experts have been increased. And on what basis one should hire a digital marketer or one can go ahead with some geek Growth Hacker.

Original Article