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What is the difference between "growth hacking" and "product marketing"?
To me, it's a mindset shift, "product marketing" tend to separate product and marketing, and "growth hacking" or "growth" is thinking about growth from a more holistic perspective, so it overlaps with product, marketing, or even customer service.
Besides, a change in "mindshift," can anyone give concert, specific explanations?
Say that I want to go and do "growth hacking." What precisely and specifically would I do differently than if I were to go and do "product marketing"?
It depends a lot on the organization. When you look at marketing holistically, there's a lot of overlap between growth and product. But if we're going by common definitions, growth hacking would focus on running marketing experiments to improve conversion rates, scale customer acquisition, and improve retention, all with the goal of hockey stick growth. Product marketing, on the other hand, doesn't imply that it's in a high growth startup, it could be within an incumbent in an old industry just trying to maintain market share. Also, product marketing could include things like deciding which products are offered or other things closer to product management.
Agree with @karolis3k It really depends a lot on the stage of the company, the culture and the focus
If you were to go do product marketing, here's what I would see.
You'd be at a bigger company where roles have already been divided. You'd work hand in hand with a product manager. You are the external facing owner for a product - you know who the customers are, how the competitors are positioned, and how your product should be positioned and priced for success.
You then work with the marketing teams (shared services) to execute your marketing strategy for the product.
Now suppose you were to do growth hacking. Most likely, you're at a smaller company. Someone who hasn't figured out their growth channels yet. So you're going to run experiments. A lot of them. Maybe acquisition sucks, so that's where you focus. Then acquisition gets better. Now you shift over to activation and run more experiments. The company probably has only one product, and you are the marketing team. You hypothesize, and execute. If you have the ability to make changes to code yourself, even better.
Now suppose you're a growth hacker at a bigger company. Unless you're brought in at top like Andrew Chen, you're going to be a specialist of some kind. But you're going to be owning a marketing channels (or multiple), trying to think of creative ways to drive more volume for your existing product(s).
At the end of the day, I think the product marketer owns a product (or multiple) and works with a marketing team to execute. The growth hacker executes marketing strategy, and may work with multiple products. But as other people have mentioned, it will vary widely by company. But that's what I've seen based on working with people in these roles and job descriptions.
4 days earlier, a valuable piece was posted and could answer your question : https://growthhackers.com/articles/andrew-chen-on-the-state-of-growth-hacking
Hi, I'll just write my opinion since I'm an ex growth hacker and now a product marketing manager. Maybe it's because of my mindset but as a growth hacker I was constantly aiming for new marketing and sales channels, and always trying to get a bigger conversion rate out of them. Now I am more oriented to customer experience, competition and striving to make a better product for customers.
As a growth hacker a would create a strategy, then divide it into a smaller activities and just go for it! As a product marketing manager I need to focus on competition more, I'm doing my thing but always have an eye on them and watch for their next step. ...and I'm in constant need to report a comparison presentations - I hate it :D
As a growth hacker I would focus on key features from an existing product and find a way to get to the customers. Now, I analyse customers and their needs and create a new value for them.
Also, as Karolis said it depends a lot on the organization. My growth hacking experience was in a small startup, and now I am a product marketing manager in a corporation with 1000+ employees.
Interesting first-hand experience, thank you for sharing.
Good question, I think everyone has different definition. Here is mine :)
Growth Hacking is all about improving numbers focusing on doing.
Product Marketing is more holistic, but slightly focusing more thinking.
Once market research is done (product marketing), initial target set (product marketing), then we start working on growth mechanic (growth hacking).
As Hila mentioned, I believe it's also in the mindset. You put all efforts in generating extraordinary growth for your business. It goes beyond the product marketing.
While product marketing deals with outbound marketing and customer-facing activities in many organisations it does not deal with inbound marketing or looks throughout the whole funnel from a stranger becoming visitor/lead/customer and later an evangelist.
Growth marketing has to look throughout the whole experience of a user from the very moment it interacts with the product until it promotes it to friends and referrals. It has to optimise every single step of the way.
Hope to have explained in a rather simple way.
I think for an SME there is no such a thing like "product marketing". Marketing should pervade the whole company and create synergy with business development and product development as well. For me "marketing" and "growth hacking" notions are synonyms. Althought I think "growth hacking" sometimes is a misinterpreted notion. Because lots of people think that there are some kind of "magic tricks" which bring companies success. I believe that a good marketer understands her/his market, product, brand, prospects and clients and also continuosly examines the assumptions that are built in the product, the brand and in the company itself. There will be lots of assumptions that don't work but also lots of things that will support growth. But case studies and stories very rarely tell what lies behind the success stories, hacks and tricks. I think lots of experiments, validation and hard work.
This is why I think these:
- There is no such a thing like "product marketing" just marketing (only theoretically)
- There is no difference between "growth hacking" and "marketing"
I'm really curious about your opinions and arguments. :)
P.S. Here is a brief summary of the marketing approach I'm talking about:
(Althought it is only about the basics and not about the experiments, assumption validations, etc.)
I think product marketing is more focused on the packaging and delivery of a product (if the product team is responsible for creating the product, product marketing is responsible for putting it on the shelf).
In most organizations, product marketing owns things like positioning and messaging, sales enablement and launch strategy.
Growth is focused on attracting engaged customers. Much more tactical.
Wrote about each role recently for Drift:
In general, growth hacking can live in/out various marketing disciplines but its mainly associated (in my experience) to drive growth using more nimble and non-traditional tactics as its starting point. Good GH's can provide useful feedback which can trickle into product enhancements, external marketing efforts and in some cases strategy.
Product marketing on the other hand is really about 'how do I make a better product' and is it positioned correctly because I know my audience and want them to help validate whether what I present to them is valuable and being received as intended. After that external marketing acquisition efforts such as GH'ing can really pick up steam and have a lot more to chew on.
I think the new breed of product marketer understands the how GH'ing can be applied effectively and maybe even share some larger picture product marketing.
I agree with others that the effectiveness of a GH'er is only as good as the size and market position of the company as well as understanding its not a golden goose egg for solving acquisition problems. GH still needs a solid OGSM strategy to truly be effective and have measurable results which tie into an overall marketing strategy in a perfect world.
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