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Growth Hacking is Not One Size Fits All

By Haim Pekel, who works at Press on It. Originally published on Quora.
“But why do you call it Growth Hacking?”

As someone who does both growth hacking and marketing, I get that question a lot. I usually use the following mental image to explain the difference:

The chicken “growth lays” eggs, it sits on them with “marketing,” and as a result, both the chicken and the chick are able to “hatch sales.”

Unfortunately, growth hacking takes more than your standard hatching process of 21 days.

Growth hacking is not a one size fits all solution like SEO, Social, and SEM solutions. A lot of marketing agencies re-branded themselves as Growth Hacking agencies because it’s a “hot topic” ATM…

But the result is usually a standard marketing campaign, marketing campaigns are awesome don’t get me wrong, but they’re only a small fraction of all the processes involved in growth hacking.

Digital marketing agencies brand themselves as growth hacking agencies because people are actively searching for growth oriented agencies, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to have a leg in the door of a new market segment, right?

These agencies rely on SEO and SEM, sometimes on Social and PR, which requires a specific set of skills and takes years to master, sure, but that’s not growth hacking.

The techniques mentioned above can contribute to a company’s growth, but only as a part of a larger strategy.

Don’t get me wrong, industry experience and knowledge help these agencies to provide highly targeted audiences for startups and companies which get them the exposure they need, but growth hacking? Not so much.

Growth hacking is not focused on a specific technique, it’s about applying all the best techniques related to the below three, successfully, and over time:

  1. User acquisition
  2. User retention
  3. Effective Measurements

Combing the above three produces growth, even long term growth. But you need to add a lot of outside the box thinking and technology + add to the mix tools or specific methods that make growth happen.

SEO and SEM could be a part of your growth strategy arsenal. These techniques are used by my agency Press on It extensively to help our customers with all of the holy trinity above, but it’s only a part of their growth strategy.

And yes, there’s that rule that always nudges at you…

Having No Strategy = No Long Term Growth

That’s why you need growth hacking, it’s an ultimate strategy that allows you to engineer growth.

I saw several Venn diagrams that explain that growth happens in the space between excellent marketing, data analysis (or analytics) and development.

I beg to differ, these are growth hacking tools or skills

Growth happens when you’re able to acquire users, retain them and measure how that happened as demonstrated in the Venn below:

Marketing, Data Analysis (or analytics) and Development are just a part of the means to the above end.

Now that you know the difference, here are a few tips that will help you to find the right agency for you.

I recommend searching for someone who:

  • Knows how to create amazing marketing campaigns & combine them with technology that converts.
  • Has a lot of user retention/customer experience know how.
  • Measures assumptions based on data and reach conclusions according to the measurements.

If someone tells you, they developed a formula, try to stay away….

Not because their formula wouldn’t work, the formula works, it’s just working on you, not for you.

By Haim Pekel, who works at Press on It. Originally published on Quora & LinkedIn.
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