Bay Area Inbound Marketing Blog

Growth Marketing Vs. Growth Hacking, Both Are Important

Posted by Laurie Monahan on Thu, Aug 05, 2021 @ 08:49 AM

As is the usual practice of marketers selling marketing products and services, several new terms have been buzzing around for the last several years. In this article, I want to define two of the latest crazes, "Growth Marketing" and "Growth Hacking", and give some ideas on how to do both, because, they are both a good idea for growing and retaining brand-loyal customers.

As in the past, both of these concepts are not necessarily new ideas, but they definitely both can have a huge impact when used properly in marketing motions.

Growth hacking ----What is it?

Growth Hacking is when you build in a hack to the product to help adoption go viral.


1) drop box offered free storage for referring a friend, you filled the form giving your friend's email and voila, your box got bigger

2) air bnb put in a button that said, “post to Craig's List”

3) facebook, asking your friends to connect, so they have to join facebook to connect to you

Occassional Challenges: You have to be careful how you design your growth hack because it can be perceived as a security risk for certain types of products, because your customer may not want to announce how to “hack” their network by telling everyone which technology platform they are using.

Correlating to Idea One--Free Subscription

1) Offer free product for months, or a year, for referring a friend.

IT professionals do talk among themselves and with their old co-workers a lot. They are a tight-knit group. They all move together, that's why the market leader almost always has the overwhelming share of the market.

This type of offer just gets the conversation going, by offering them something free if they share with their friend that is an IT professional, User Buyer, or Technology Buyer. It could take the form of a downloadable coupon in email they could forward with a user code to track referrals and give credit once their friend signs up.

Correlating to Idea Two--Post to Social Media

2) During install, offer the "Installer" to post their new acquisition to their social media platform of choice with, again, a discounted offer for their friends on facebook, Linkedin, or twitter with a graphic that depicts what they just purchased.

I'm sure you have seen these as you buy online products; I have on Shutterfly for digital scrapbooks and Udemy for Professional courses, just to name a few I was offered to post to social media after digital purchases this year. Be sure to offer a way to opt out of social posting, so you don't kill your own sale just because your buyer wants some privacy.

Great Branding Isn't Growth Hacking

The old branding called "Intel inside"---doesn't really growth hack, just builds branding, but it is a good way to increase awareness and grow demand.

Growth Marketing--What Is It?

One of the goals in growth marketing is to quickly iterate to get to messaging that delivers "aha" moments about how your products align with the customer's needs to solve their problems.

Yep, we've been doing that for years with a/b testing, to get messaging that is the most effective, using control groups to verify improvements. Hubspot has a/b testing tools for testing options for both Call-to-Actions and for Titles on emails. Hubspot also has ABM tools that let you generate lists that let you target specific personas, at specific sizes and types of companies, also known as verticals.

Growth Marketing Focuses on Customer Experience 

It's about AARRRR Marketing which includes: acquisition, acceleration, retention, and referrals, because if you don't retain customers, you need to get new ones at too tremendous a rate.

The goal with growth marketing is to delight at every stage of the buyer journey including prospect, lead, nurture, and customer.

Examples of Great Educational Offers to Engage Customers

cta-email (5)-2For Imanami, I created a kit using PDFs of content we already had, which resulted in 2,700 leads. It included:

  1. Top ten "how to videos"
  2. Top ten "how to blog articles"
  3. ROI justification using a five-year-old Osterman research report, with factoids like "92% out of 270 IT Professionals surveyed say when people leave the company, they are not removed from groups which slows down the network, causes group glut, and creates a security risks."

I had our graphic artist create a graphic of a box and put a big bow on it. I positioned the kit in copy as:

  1. " We want to share this kit to thank you for another great year and 270 new customers."
  2.  "This is what your IT Peers are reading, our top ten blog articles have 30,000 reads down to 3,000 reads and counting"

Then blasted it out in email. I even received six thank you emails. A lot of those leads closed in new business. The sales team were really happy and told me it was a really great offer.

All of these resources were already on our website, but by blasting the information in a numbered 1-10 format, it helped a lot of our customers and prospects do their jobs better. That's a great way to really add value. You don't normally get return emails with thank you notes when you spam people, but when you give them something they value, they become part of your community and a loyal customer.

Standard Offers That Have Worked Everywhere to Grow Business

Other offers I use everywhere I go:

  1. Weekly Jumpstart Webinars which lets prospects see the product and kick the tires before they buy and lets existing customers ask questions about how to use our products without being a pushy sales demo.
  2. eBooks as giveaways on website and to drive traffic to tradeshow booths
  3. Videos
  4. Gartner Research Reports
  5. Insider threat kits
  6. events
  7. mailers
  8. games to spread the word about a new product category
  9. blog articles

I always offer educational offers, never freebies like apple watches or gift cards. People with serious jobs want serious answers to their toughest business problems, not freebies they can easily afford, that just slow them down by requiring them to fill out a form to win something.

Growth Marketing Focuses on Fastest-Time-to-Value

Growth Marketing focuses on creating fastest-time-to-value using your products and resources for your customers. Obviously, when you give prospects and customers great information in a quick-to-absorb format on how your products solve their problems, you are practicing good growth marketing which results in creating brand loyalty.


Laurie is Principle at Bay Area Inbound, a marketing agency that focuses on quickly increasing revenue for technology companies.

For more ideas on how we can help your company, click the call-to-action button below. Contact

Get Your Free Inbound Marketing Evaluati


Topics: Growth Marketing vs. Growth Hacking, Definition of Growth Marketing, Growth Hacking, How to do Growth Marketing, How to do Growth Hacking, Definition of Growth Hacking, Growth Marketing