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How Growth Hacking Is Redefining Marketing More than just the latest buzz term, growth hacking is a way of thinking about marketing that focuses on quickly finding and leveraging the most effective techniques.

By Brett Relander Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This article is included in Entrepreneur Voices on Growth Hacking, a new book containing insights from more than 20 contributors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders.

Over the years, marketing has been defined and redefined numerous times and in many different ways. At its core, however, marketing remains simply lead generation. Regardless of what you are marketing, or how you're marketing it, the goal is to drive awareness, demand, and sales. Unfortunately, many brands often miss opportunities because they forget that marketing is simply the vehicle used for getting customers. Anything that can be used for driving awareness, creating demand and accomplishing sales is marketing.

What Is Growth Hacking?

Recently there has been much talk about growth hacking and whether it will or perhaps already has redefined marketing. If you're not already familiar with the concept, according to Aaron Ginn, a growth hacker is someone whose focus and passion pushes a metric using methodology that is both scalable and testable. Ginn, a self-professed growth hacker, points out growth hackers will leverage multiple disciplines to extract insights and identify the right messages for pulling in users. The goal is to find a method that works and lead with it. This might prove to be traditional methods of marketing, but more often it involves thinking out of the box and identifying innovative ideas for capturing a target audience's attention.

Related: Is Growth Hacking Right for Your Company?

Andrew Chen, a writer, entrepreneur and tech startup advisor, recently referred to growth hacking as the "new VP marketing." Pointing out that growth hacking has quickly become integrated into the culture of Silicon Valley, Chen emphasized that marketers must now possess a distinctive blend of both coding and marketing skills. No longer is marketing a single role. Instead, Chen claims that the lines between product development, engineering and marketing are blurring, requiring everyone to work together. The key is integration and that requires a multitude of technical details.

Marketers are still focused on the best way to get customers interested in their products. What has shifted is how they are going about it. Rather than being people-centric, marketing has now made a transition to a technology-centric approach.

Related: Why Growth Hacking Won't Work for Every Company

Just How Big Is Growth Hacking?

Tech Crunch recently reported that AppVirality, an Indian startup that offers developers a dashboard for adding growth hacking techniques to their apps, has raised $465,000 in seed funding. By using the dashboard, developers can run A/B tests and view analytics to see the number of users they have reached through each specific tool. Additionally, the dashboard will allow developers to view the number of downloads as well as revenue their app has generated. With that much investment money injected, growth hacking is clearly on the rise.

While the new tool focuses on apps, growth hacking can be used on virtually anything, ranging from software to blogs to retail products. Hotmail is easily one of the best examples of early growth hacking in action. HootSuite reports that by simply including the text "PS I love you" along with a link to their homepage on all emails sent using the Hotmail system, this brand was able to generate 12 million users in just one year.

Growth marketing is not redefining the goal of marketing per se, but it certainly is changing the way that marketers go about the task of driving awareness, demand, and sales. points out that the primary difference between growth marketing and traditional marketing is that growth marketers do not take the time to strategize a marketing plan. Instead, they test to find something that works. That is something that brands of all sizes, startup or not, can leverage for success.

Related: 6 Growth Hack Techniques You Can Try Today

Brett Relander

Managing Director at X1 Sports Nutrition

Brett Relander is founder and managing director of X1 Sports Nutrition ( He has a degree in exercise science, is certified as a Master Fitness Specialist and in the biomechanics of resistance training, and is an advocate of all-natural nutrition and advanced performance training.

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