The Hard Truth: Digital Marketing Vs. Growth Hacking — Understand or Perish

Anna-Lisa Natchev
3 min readMay 18, 2023


Hello there, founders and the gallant managers of go-to-market (GTM) teams. This one’s for you. Let’s embark on a straight-talking voyage about the stark differences between digital marketing and growth hacking and why being crystal clear on these distinctions is paramount for your team’s success.

Let’s, not mince words here: failure to differentiate between digital marketing and growth hacking might send you crashing into the business graveyard. It’s a harsh truth, but ignorance in this arena is far from bliss — it’s a march towards insignificance.

Digital Marketing: The Reliable Engine of Growth

Digital marketing is your tried-and-true growth engine, diligently pushing your brand visibility, leads, and conversions. This isn’t just important; it’s essential:

  • Social Media Marketing: This is about truly understanding your platform and audience. You should be so well-versed that you can conjure up an Instagram story or a LinkedIn post as effortlessly as breathing.
  • Email Marketing: Personalized email funnels are critical for lead nurturing and conversions. If these aren’t spot on, you risk vanishing into the dreaded spam abyss.
  • Content Marketing: Quality content reigns supreme — it’s the reigning king, queen, and governing body of your digital dominion. Always keep it valuable and relevant.
  • SEO & PPC: Without strategic optimization and targeted ads, your stunning website is a barren digital landscape.

Growth Hacking: Your Agile, Gritty Ally

Enter growth hacking, your agile, sleeves-rolled-up path to rocket-fueled growth. It’s unconventional; it’s swift, it’s lean. It’s the turbo-charge your business requires:

  • Virality: Here, your users shoulder the bulk of the work. Ignite a love for your product and let them sing your praises.
  • Partnerships & Integrations: Hitch a ride on the success of other platforms. Whether collaboration or integration, your goal is to parade your product in front of as many eyes as possible.
  • Product-driven Growth: Your product features should be so compelling that they transform customers into loyal ambassadors. Gamification? Referral programs? Bring them on!

Your Reality Check: The Necessity of Both

Here’s your wake-up call: you unequivocally need both.

This is no either/or scenario. A robust digital marketing foundation is the launchpad for your ambitious growth hacking endeavours. It’s this formidable duo that drives enduring growth and profitability.

Are you on board? Or have I ruffled your feathers?

This is the part where you join the conversation. Your insights are crucial whether you agree, disagree, or land somewhere in the middle. After all, we deepen our collective understanding through shared perspectives and spirited discourse.

If this post strikes a chord, consider sharing it with your network and help ignite a broader conversation about these essential growth strategies.

For more hard-hitting insights, follow me on Medium, and together we’ll explore the ever-evolving terrain of B2B tech growth.

#DigitalMarketing #GrowthHacking #GoToMarket #NoBSInsights



Anna-Lisa Natchev

SaaS Growth Navigator ,also sharing insights into reaching happiness from the Happiest people in the world...