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Brand vs. Performance Marketing: Birds of the Same Feather Drive Growth Together

Contributors: Shane Partington

There are various marketing strategies that businesses can implement to attract and retain customers and to promote their products or services offered. Two of the most prominent strategies that companies pursue as they become more digitally mature are brand marketing and performance marketing. Although the two strategies are similar in some ways, there are important differences. Let’s explore the differences of brand vs. performance marketing.

Brand vs. Performance Marketing

Brand marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on building and establishing a brand identity, reputation, and overall positioning. It aims to create a strong and recognizable brand that is associated with high-quality products or services and is memorable to consumers. This type of marketing involves creating an emotional connection between consumers and the brand, often through storytelling and emotional appeals as well as building consumer insight through various channels of customer data. The goal of brand marketing is to create a strong and lasting impression in the minds of consumers so that they’re more likely to choose the brand over its competitors. 

On the other hand, performance marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on driving specific and measurable results, such as sales or leads. This type of marketing uses data and analytics to track and measure the performance of various marketing campaigns and to make informed decisions about how to optimize them. Performance marketing is often focused on driving immediate results and generating a return on investment for the company. The goal of performance marketing is to drive conversions and generate revenue, rather than building brand recognition and awareness. 

Another key difference between brand marketing and performance marketing is the time horizon they focus on. Brand marketing is often a long-term strategy that focuses on building a brand over time and establishing a strong emotional connection with consumers. Performance marketing, on the other hand, is a short-term strategy that focuses on generating results quickly and efficiently. 

In terms of the channels used, brand marketing typically uses broad-based channels, such as television, print, and partnerships, while performance marketing often uses more targeted channels, such as search engines, social media, SMS, and email marketing. Brand marketing often involves creating general brand awareness, while performance marketing is focused on driving specific actions, such as clicking on an ad or making a purchase. Below, we explore differences in KPIs and communication tactics when considering brand vs. performance marketing.

Differences in KPIs 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are also vastly different between the two marketing strategies due to their different marketing focus and business objectives.

Brand Marketing KPIs 

  • Brand Awareness: This metric measures the level of recognition and familiarity consumers have with a brand. It can be measured through surveys, social media metrics, or website traffic. 
  • Customer Retention: This KPI measures the extent to which a brand is able to retain its existing customers. This can be measured through metrics such as customer loyalty, repeat purchases, and customer lifetime value. 
  • Engagement: This metric measures the level of interaction and engagement that consumers have with a brand’s content, such as social media posts, blog articles, or email campaigns. 
  • Net Promotor Score (NPS): This metric measures customer loyalty and satisfaction. It’s calculated based on the responses to a single question: “How likely are you to recommend [brand/product/service] to a friend or colleague?” There are Promoters, Passives, and Detractors based on score results.  
  • Share of Voice: This metric measures the amount of coverage and visibility a brand receives compared to its competitors. It can be measured through media monitoring and analysis tools. 

Performance Marketing KPIs 

  • Conversion Rate (CVR): This metric measures the percentage of visitors to a website or ad that take a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. 
  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA): This metric measures the cost of acquiring a new customer or lead. It’s calculated by dividing the total cost of a marketing campaign by the number of conversions. 
  • Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS): This metric measures the return on investment of a marketing campaign by comparing the revenue generated to the cost of the campaign. 
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): This metric measures the number of clicks on an ad or link divided by the number of impressions. 
  • Bounce Rate: This metric measures the percentage of visitors to a website who leave the site after only viewing one page. 

As you can see, brand marketing KPIs focus heavily on qualitative metrics of long-term engagement and favorability with the brand compared to performance marketings KPIs, which primarily focus on new user acquisition and reducing friction to drive more growth. 

Differences in Communication Tactics 

Naturally, communicating in the correct manner to each side of the marketing organization will be crucial for overall marketing goals and tactical execution. While both groups are important to the success of the overall marketing effort, it’s important to understand the functional differences between each group and thus how other business stakeholders can effectively communicate with each group to achieve the desired results. With brand vs. performance marketing, here are some differences in communication tactics for marketers.

Brand Marketers 

  • Emphasize the emotional appeal: Brand marketers are often focused on building an emotional connection with consumers, so it’s important for stakeholders discussing business goals to communicate the emotional benefits of a product or service and how it relates to the brand’s identity and image. 
  • Use storytelling: Storytelling is a powerful tool for brand marketers, as it helps to create an emotional connection with consumers and establish the brand’s identity and image. Use compelling stories to illustrate the brand’s values and mission. 
  • Show the brand’s unique qualities: Emphasize the unique qualities and values of the brand and how it differentiates itself from its competitors. Highlight the brand’s unique selling proposition. 
  • Build customer insights: Building customer insights through various channels of data and analytics help brands understand and address their audiences’ needs, preferences, behaviors, and attitudes.  

Performance Marketers 

  • Use data and analytics: Performance marketers are data-driven and focus on measurable results, so it’s advisable for stakeholders to provide them with data and analytics to support your arguments and show the impact of your marketing efforts. 
  • Focus on ROI: Performance marketers are focused on maximizing return on investment, so stakeholders should communicate the potential return on investment of a marketing campaign and how it will drive conversions and generate revenue. 
  • Provide specific, measurable goals: Performance marketers are focused on achieving specific and measurable results, so stakeholders should provide the performance team with clear and specific goals for each marketing campaign and to track and measure progress towards these goals. 

Leveraging Brand Marketing and Performance Marketing 

Brand marketing and performance marketing serve as two complementary, yet distinct, marketing strategies that businesses can use to achieve their marketing goals. By investing in both types of marketing, a business can build a strong brand identity, establish customer loyalty, and generate revenue to drive business growth. While team members can sometimes wear multiple hats in both roles, as a business matures, it’s crucial to understand how both arms of the marketing teams will bifurcate over time to lead to differences in both function and communicate to drive business growth.  

Both teams manage crucial functions of an effective enterprise digital marketing team. Clarkston’s team of digital experts can help your brand understand the differences between these two key components of your marketing strategy. If you’re looking for guidance when it comes to brand vs. performance marketing, connect with us today. 

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Tags: Sales and Marketing Technology, Marketing and Media Services, Brand Communication