In every scalable business you need to get a way to bring your message to your potential client and move them step by step to buy or become a user. We call it marketing. Wiki explains it as follows:
Marketing is the methodology of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.
(source: Wikipedia)

If you take marketing for startups it is often called Growth Hacking.

Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. It can be seen as part of the online marketing ecosystem, as in many cases growth hackers are simply good at using techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing which are already mainstream. Growth hackers focus on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. utilizing social media and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television. Growth hacking is particularly important for startups, as it allows for a “lean” launch that focuses on “growth first, budgets second.” Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AirBnB and Dropbox are all companies that use growth hacking techniques.

Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacker” in 2010. In the blog post, he defined a growth hacker as “a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.

Andrew Chen introduced the term to a wider audience in a blog post titled, “Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing” in which he defined the term and used the booking agency AirBnB’s integration of Craigslist as an example.
(source: Wikipedia)

As mentioned in the last sentence, the Growth Hacker is the new VP marketing. Although the example companies are not tradiotional, it seems that Growth Hacking is the marketing of the future.

Growth Hacking

And what about the term Traction:

Traction is a very general term in the Startup Industry. Investors like to see traction.

For Gabriel Weinberg, the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo and Justin Mares, former Director of Revenue at Exceptional (acquired by Rackspace) it was probably the reason that write a book called Traction – A Startup Guide to Getting Customers.

Traction is a guide to getting customers. The book introduces startup founders and employees to the “Bullseye Framework,” a five-step process successful companies use to get traction. This framework helps founders find the marketing channel that will be key to unlocking the next stage of growth.

Many entrepreneurs who build great products simply don’t have a good distribution strategy

Mark Andreessen, venture capitalist

Too often, startups spend months (or years) building a product only to struggle with traction once they launch. This struggle has startups trying random tactics – some ads, a blog post or two – in an unstructured way that leads to failure. Traction shows how to systematically approach marketing, and covers how successful businesses have grown through each of the following channels:

  • Viral Marketing
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Unconventional PR
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Social and Display Ads
  • Offline Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Engineering as Marketing
  • Target Market Blogs
  • Business Development (BD)
  • Sales
  • Affiliate Programs
  • Existing Platforms
  • Trade Shows
  • Offline Events
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Community Building

If you ask me, Traction is a framework for Growth Hacking.
B.t.w. I really love this framework. It is a structured way from the knowledge, I gained last 20 years in my companies and startups. I would advice everybody who is in marketing (not only startup marketing) to read the book.

And then Agile Marketing
The first time I heard of the term was from Scot Brinker, or better ChiefMartec. ChiefMartec’s appraoch is to take the method from Agile software development and project it on marketing. From “waterfall” marketing to Agile Marketing. ChiefMartec provided a nice presentation on slideshare called: Agile Marketing – Managing Marketing in High Gear.

Then there is the Agile Marketing Manifesto that sounds like.

We are discovering better ways of creating value for our customers and for our organizations through new approaches to marketing. Through this work, we have come to value:

  1. Validated learning over opinions and conventions
  2. Customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy
  3. Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns
  4. The process of customer discovery over static prediction
  5. Flexible vs. rigid planning
  6. Responding to change over following a plan
  7. Many small experiments over a few large bets

On the website of Agile Marketing Manifesto there is a picture of a groups meeting in 2012, so I expect it started around that time. Probably ChiefMartec was first..

The first impression is that it is different from ChiefMartec’s approach but if you take the Agile Marketing approach from ChiefMartec in practice, you will indeed get at least the 7 points as described in Agile Marketing Manifesto.

Besides, myself I created a an Agile Marketing page on and curate the content. The focus is maybe a little too much on #ContentMarketing but it is worth to read it anyway.

Last but not least the differences. In general the execution is the same for Growth Hacking, Agile Marketing and Traction. It is a mix from marketing with technology with a data driven approach. The book Traction is a framework with channels for growth hacking and Agile Marketing. The term Growth Hacking is mainly used within startups and Agile Marketing is the term used for corporate companies.

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