April 16, 2013

Growth Hacking or Marketing?

There's been plenty of talk about growth hacking and marketing lately. Here on SEOmoz. Here from andrewchen. Here from John Doherty. And here on Layered Thoughts. Some good stuff from the Crunched blog. I'm just saying ... lots of chatter.

We're basically in the camp with SEOmoz and Layered Thoughts. Growth hacker sounds cool. But marketing by any other name still smells like delivering value. In the end, Marketing is: delivering value at a profit. That includes a variety of activities. Buyers get value and the business generates a profit. If that requires "thinking like a coder" or "thinking like a publisher" or even "thinking like a schmuck," then so be it.

Also, it appears that growth hacking is not exclusive to young coders. Or put the other way, being a long-time marketer doesn't automatically exclude one from being able to "growth hack." It's more of a mindset or perspective that could belong to someone who's been doing traditional marketing for a long time.

In the Part 1 video on the Crunched blog, we see the example of growth hacking an interface with Craigslist. We're told that only a coder would have thought of it. Hmmm? Granted, only a coder could have executed it. But partners, affiliates, co-marketing? That's classic marketing. Of course a "traditional" marketer could have thought of a partnership with Craigslist in that case. They would only need the team and the framework that gives them access to "hackers" that can pull off the implementation.

The real point in all of this is that we have some new mediums to master. Like when TV showed up and advertisers had to "hack" marketing onto this new technology.

Marketers, then, need to embrace not just data, not just acting on what the analytics tells them, but they must embrace new techniques. That means thinking outside the box. And listening to ideas that can come from creatives, coders, VCs or ... themselves.

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