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Debate: Growth Hackers are just glorified Digital Marketing Managers

As the evolution of technology changed trajectory towards digital marketing, new platforms of marketing began to emerge.

From product marketing and its associated roles, to content marketing, digital strategy, growth marketing, growth hacking, and so many more, social trends and changes in consumer behavior can also be credited for the increased demand for digital marketers and its significant effect on marketing job titles.

Are these digital marketing job titles truly overrated? Are their job descriptions increasingly clashing?

In her LinkedIn article 1 like = 1 Unpopular Marketing Truth, B2B SaaS consultant, Anna Holopainen averred that most growth hackers are just glorified digital marketing managers.

She stated: “Nobody cares what your take is on the growth marketing vs. growth hacking discussion and if you think someone’s got it all wrong. At the end of the day, they’re just terms…A lot of companies grow regardless of their marketing. Not because of it…most growth hackers are just glorified digital marketing managers.”

For this week’s debate, ADMARP launched a poll on LinkedIn to gather the opinions of other digital marketing professionals on Holopainen’s assertion.

At the end of the poll, 34% of the respondents agreed that the “growth hacking” job description and title are simply overrated. 39% found the assertion to be incorrect. 16% found it funny, and 11% differed.

Oti Ukubeyinje, digital marketing professional and solutions manager at META differed.

He said: “Growth hacking goes beyond digital, goes beyond marketing. Could entail some offline activities, or product led growth hacking. Growth hacking could have a growth sprout through disruptive distribution, some creative sampling/trial methods or even some complex and magical pricing methodologies. These are all beyond the scope of digital marketing. They should be in a class of their own; the real growth hackers that is.”

Ezeibekwe Ogechukwu Kingsley, senior account manager, Wild Fusion Limited agrees.

He points: “The above is what growth hacking could entail if it’s being done properly. Most times what I’ve come across here on LinkedIn are tailored towards digital only and what they tend to talk about or list is no different from what a digit marketing manager does.”

Where growth hackers leverage innovative low-cost strategies to help developers make superior products, keep up with trends, identify potential investors, and understand where their products and services are most valuable, digital marketing managers are saddled with the responsibility of developing, implementing and managing digital marketing campaigns.

On his part, Samuel Ukah, head of performance and growth marketing, Jumia Nigeria maintains that although digital marketing specialists can become growth hackers, many are not.

He adds: “It is a mindset that focuses on driving high commercial value and better CLV. Believe me you need a Growth Hacker in your team. Growth Hackers find growth levers for your business from every possible channel. They get involved with funnel optimizations and also help to drive optimization of offline channels.”

Yusuf Olatoye, Young Member Representative, American Society of Civil Engineering, Nigeria also believes growth hackers are not glorified digital marketing managers.
He said: “They are best compared to growth marketers, with a twist of T-shaped marketer & drop of 360 marketing.”

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