Performance Marketing vs Growth Marketing: What’s the Difference?
by Frankie Karrer
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All marketing has the same goal: to make your target audience aware of your product and, once aware, move them into and down the sales and demand gen funnel. However, there are a variety of ways to do this from high-level brand marketing to data-focused performance marketing.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to measure the success of your marketing approach- and the wealth of reporting available today makes it easier to measure what’s moving the needle for your brand. In this article, we’ll discuss performance marketing vs. brand marketing, and what the benefits are of each.
Performance marketing is a form of advertising focused on specific, measurable outcomes, such as return-on-ad-spend, cost per click, or cost per conversion. Performance marketers are focused on immediate actions from their campaigns and typically determine their digital marketing KPIs based on the objective of their campaign. Performance marketing is associated with data-driven mediums such as paid search, social, and Connected TV.
A good performance marketing strategy is important because it ties direct results to your efforts, making it easy to understand the impact of your marketing budget. It allows brands to make the most of their ad budgets with an efficient strategy that clearly measures the return on the spend. In times of economic uncertainty, performance marketing can help brands justify the use of their marketing dollars and prove the immediate impact of their efforts.
It’s easy to measure the success of your campaign when you have outlined KPIs and clear targets; rather than a high-level awareness play, there are clear numbers that show whether a campaign was a success or not.
Brand marketing is a high-level approach that highlights the strength, values, and emotions of a brand. Brand marketing is focused on growing awareness for a brand and its values, as well as promoting a feeling of trust and warmth between consumers and a brand. Brand marketing initiatives are often splasher initiatives that often don’t provide the same types of feedback as data-rich performance marketing channels like OTT advertising. This may be in the form of billboards, sponsoring a team, product placement with a movie, association with a particular celebrity or athlete, etc.
Brands like Nike and Apple often market themselves in the public square independent of any particular product launch. They have spent years using brand marketing to create a public perception of the brand. Simon Sinek, author of “Why? How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” outlined this phenomenon saying “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” These brands spend millions marketing their “why” so that consumers purchase their products to align with this public image.
Brand marketing puts the name of a brand front and center in consumers’ minds, creating feelings of trust and (hopefully) loyalty in the future, as well as staking out a brand as iconic and singular in its space.
In the examples above of Nike and Apple, the hope is these brands will become the first ports of call for any related needs consumers have, since they believe in these brands as market leaders. This is what turns consumers into fans and helps increase the lifetime value of any one consumer.
When done effectively, brand marketing leads to increased brand awareness, generating positive feelings and ideally unaided awareness (knowing of a brand’s reputation and eminence).
Ultimately, brand marketing and performance marketing share a common goal: to help raise awareness of your brand by consumers and ultimately drive them to make a purchase. These marketing methods have distinct similarities, as well as differences.
Brand marketing and performance marketing are similar in their goal to your brand top-of-mind and ultimately drive sales.
Brand marketing and performance marketing can also use the same platforms in similar ways. For example, some Connected TV platforms are focused on a brand marketing offering, while others drive performance marketing. While the goals are different, they are utilizing the same screens and placements.
Brand marketing employs a long-term, emotional appeal to consumers, whereas performance marketing is specific and oriented toward more immediate goals like generating leads and driving sales.
Brand marketing may take a more visionary approach in its materials — perhaps it’s the use of an iconic logo, photograph of a celebrity spokesperson, or inspiring slogan (“Think Different” or “Just Do It,” to name a few). A positive outcome for a brand marketing campaign may be the number of impressions or number of unique viewers; metrics not tied to a specific return on investment.
By contrast, performance marketing is all about specific sales goals, like the social media ad for Apple that hopes to parlay your warm feelings toward its brand into an actual click and sale of a new pair of Airpods. A successful performance marketing campaign will have specific results that are tied back to performance numbers (site visits, conversions, etc.) and can be compared to quantitative goals set at the beginning of the campaign.
Brand marketing and performance marketing work together, but the balance of each is up to the individual companies. Focusing solely on brand marketing may be costly and be slow to show results, while too much focus on performance marketing will drive immediate results but may forgo long-term loyalty and future sales, weakening demand generation efforts over time.
It’s important to continue to inspire consumers with a brand message, letting them understand your “why” and creating brand loyalty. However, there’s not a lot of point in burnishing your brand’s credentials if consumers don’t know exactly what products or offerings you have.
Ultimately, Apple is polishing its image so it can make a sale when you need a new laptop. In the words of one company’s head of performance and growth, “Customers buy on trust and if they see a brand wrapped around a performance ad, they will be more likely to make the purchase… these two different belief systems may finally be coming together.”
While TV advertising has long been associated with a brand awareness play, Connected TV’s digital roots have transformed the biggest screen in the house into a performance marketing tool. MNTN Performance TV was built to combine the sight, sound, and motion of linear TV with the digital platform of a performance channel such as search and social.
Performance TV makes it easy to launch and measure the results of your CTV advertising strategy:
The results speak for themselves. We analyzed our clients’ performance from June 2021 to June 2022 and found:
Brands should look to make the most of the available marketing tools, including both performance and brand marketing. These different strategies complement each other, coming together to create a comprehensive and high-impact marketing plan that both keeps your brand top of mind and drives immediate results.
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