Blog > Digital Marketing > Brand Marketing vs. Performance Marketing

What's the Difference Between Brand Marketing and Performance Marketing?

December 12, 2023
·
20
min read

Pulling off a successful marketing strategy takes a lot, including a thorough understanding of the many, many approaches that define the digital marketing landscape these days.

That said, two very popular approaches to digital marketing strategy right now are brand marketing and performance marketing. And while both can be integral components of a larger marketing strategy, they aren’t the same.

So, what’s the difference?

We’re glad you asked! Today’s blog is going to explore the differences between brand marketing and performance marketing strategies so that you can decide which approach is best for you, your goals, and your brand!

What are Brand and Performance Marketing?

Many symbols of marketing, including a megaphone, magnifying glass, computer screen, and charts.

Before we can help you decide which approach is best for you and your brand, let’s dive a little deeper and explore what these two marketing methodologies consist of.

What is Brand Marketing?

Brand marketing involves promoting and establishing a brand to create long-term strong and positive images in your customer’s minds. 

And it’s not just advertising your awesome products and services, it's about focusing on building a strong brand identity, a unique personality, and a brand image that appeals to and resonates with your target audience.

Think memorable brands like Nike or Apple, the ones you recognize just by their logo or tone of voice. Just like those examples, the goals of brand marketing are to cultivate brand awareness, loyalty, trust, and an emotional connection through consistent messaging, visual elements, and various marketing channels.

Why is Brand Marketing So Effective?

There are many reasons why brand marketing is so effective at what it sets out to achieve. Here are just a few:

  • Builds Brand Awareness— Brand marketing aims to create widespread recognition of a brand. By consistently presenting a brand's identity, values, and messaging across various channels, it helps consumers become familiar with and remember the brand.
  • Establishes Trust and Credibility— A strong brand creates a sense of trust and credibility. Consumers are more likely to choose a brand they recognize and perceive as reliable, leading to increased loyalty.
  • Emotional Connection— Brand marketing often taps into emotions, creating a connection between the brand and consumers. Emotional connections lead to stronger brand loyalty as consumers feel a personal resonance with the brand.
  • Differentiation from Competitors— In crowded markets, effective brand marketing can set a brand apart from competitors. A well-defined brand identity and unique value proposition help consumers understand what makes the brand distinctive.
  • Encourages Repeat Business — Once consumers have positive experiences with a brand, they are more likely to make repeat purchases. Effective brand marketing ensures that consumers remember the brand when making future buying decisions.
  • Supports Premium Pricing — Strong brands can command premium prices (looking at you, Apple). Consumers are often willing to pay more for products or services associated with a trusted and well-regarded brand.
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing — A positive brand image encourages word-of-mouth marketing. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend the brand to friends and family, contributing to organic growth.
  • Long-Term Value— Investing in brand marketing contributes to long-term success. Brands that withstand the test of time often have a robust brand strategy that evolves with changing consumer preferences.
  • Facilitates New Product Launches — Established brands find it easier to introduce new products. Consumers are more willing to try products from a brand they already know and trust.
  • Stability in Market Fluctuations — During economic downturns or market fluctuations, strong brands tend to make it through better than others. Why? Because consumers often stick with trusted brands during uncertain times.

What is Performance Marketing?

Performance marketing is a comprehensive and measurable approach to digital marketing where advertisers only pay for specific actions, like clicks, leads, or sales rather than paying for overall reach or impression.

Unlike the emotional connection that brand marketing strives for, the focus of performance marketing is on driving measurable and trackable results. Because of this, a performance marketing campaign’s digital strategies are tailored toward achieving these goals.

Unlike brand marketing, which can be more difficult to track, performance marketing relies heavily on black-and-white data and analytics to assess the effectiveness of campaigns and continuously optimize them for better results.

Why is Performance Marketing So Effective?

Performance marketing is very effective for several reasons, due to its results-driven nature. Here are some key factors that contribute to that effectiveness!

  • Measurable ROI — Performance marketing relies on measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, conversions, and return on investment (ROI). This allows marketers to directly attribute results to specific campaigns.
  • Targeted Advertising — Performance marketing leverages data and analytics to identify and target specific audience segments. This ensures that marketing efforts are directed toward those most likely to convert, optimizing the use of resources.
  • Real-Time Adjustments — Performance marketing campaigns can be adjusted in real-time based on the performance of ads and audience responses. This agility allows marketers to optimize campaigns for better results as they unfold.
  • Cost Efficiency — Many performance marketing channels, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, operate on a pay-for-performance model. Advertisers only pay when a user takes a specified action, such as clicking an ad or making a purchase, making it cost-efficient.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making — Data analytics play a crucial role in performance marketing. Marketers can analyze data to understand user behavior, preferences, and trends, informing strategic decisions for future campaigns.
  • Quick Scaling — Successful performance marketing campaigns can be scaled quickly. Once a winning strategy is identified, marketers can allocate additional budget to expand reach and maximize impact.
  • Multi-Channel Integration — Performance marketing often involves using multiple channels such as search engines, social media, and email. Integrating these channels creates a holistic approach, ensuring a brand's presence across various touchpoints.
  • Outcome-Based Optimization — Performance marketing prioritizes outcomes and results over traditional brand-building approaches. This outcome-focused mindset aligns marketing efforts with business objectives.
  • Flexibility and Experimentation — Performance marketing allows for continuous testing and experimentation. Marketers can iterate on strategies, creatives, and targeting to find the most effective combinations.

Performance Marketing vs Brand Marketing: What’s the Difference? 

A big yellow question mark in a purple caption.

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what each methodology consists of, let’s explore a little more about how performance marketing and brand marketing differ from each other.

We’ll look at four key aspects: goals, metrics, channels, and duration of campaign.

Goals

Brand Marketing Goals

We touched a bit on this earlier, but the goals of a brand marketing campaign are: 

  • Brand Awareness — Increase the overall awareness of the brand among the target audience. This involves ensuring that people recognize and remember the brand when exposed to it.
  • Brand Image — Shape a positive perception and image of the brand. Branding marketing aims to associate the brand with desirable qualities and values to create a favorable impression.
  • Brand Loyalty — Build a strong and loyal customer base. Encourage repeat business and create a connection with customers that goes beyond transactional relationships.
  • Differentiation — Clearly differentiate the brand from competitors. Establish unique selling propositions (USPs) that set the brand apart in the market.
  • Emotional Connection — Create an emotional connection with consumers. Successful branding aims to evoke positive emotions and feelings, fostering a deeper relationship between the brand and its audience.
  • Trust and Credibility — Develop trust and credibility in the marketplace. A strong brand inspires confidence, making consumers more likely to choose and remain loyal to the brand.
  • Market Positioning — Establish a strong position in the market. Define where the brand stands in relation to competitors and communicate this positioning effectively to the target audience.
  • Long-Term Growth — Contribute to long-term growth and sustainability. While branding efforts may not yield immediate, quantifiable results, they play a crucial role in building a foundation for sustained success over time.

Remember, friends, brand marketing isn’t something that happens overnight. A brand must work at it for the long term in order to build a reputation, a strong online presence, and build loyalty and connection with its audience.

Performance Marketing Goals 

A performance marketing campaign’s goals are a bit different and more tangible. Unlike brand marketing, which aims for long-term brand building, performance marketing campaigns are designed to meet specific and quantifiable goals within a set timeframe. 

Here’s a bit more on the goals of a performance marketing campaign:

  • Generate Leads and Conversions — Performance marketing aims to drive sales, actions such as lead generation, or other desired conversions. The primary focus is on encouraging users to take measurable steps that contribute directly to the business's objectives.
  • Increase ROI (Return on Investment) — Performance marketing is highly data-driven, with a focus on maximizing the return on investment. The goal is to optimize campaigns to ensure that the cost of acquiring a customer is lower than the value the customer brings to the business.
  • Enhance Targeting and Personalization — Precision targeting is a key goal in performance marketing. Campaigns are tailored to specific audience segments, leveraging data to deliver personalized messages and offers that resonate with the target audience.
  • Boost Brand Visibility and Awareness — While brand marketing is more about long-term brand building, performance marketing campaigns can also contribute to increasing brand visibility and awareness, particularly in the short term. This is achieved through strategic placement, messaging, and targeting.
  • Optimize Campaign Efficiency — Performance marketing involves continuous testing and optimization to improve the efficiency of campaigns. This includes refining ad creatives, adjusting targeting parameters, and optimizing bidding strategies to achieve better results.
  • Drive Website Traffic — Many performance marketing campaigns focus on directing targeted traffic to specific landing pages or websites. Increasing website visits is a common goal, especially for businesses looking to drive online engagement and interactions.
  • Measure and Attribute Results — Performance marketing relies on accurate measurement and attribution of results. This includes tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per acquisition to evaluate the success of campaigns.
  • Adaptability and Responsiveness — Performance marketing campaigns often require real-time adjustments based on data analysis. The goal is to be agile and responsive to changes in user behavior, market conditions, or campaign performance, ensuring ongoing optimization.

Metrics

To achieve meaningful results with performance and brand marketing, it’s necessary to keep your eyes on the metrics.

No matter what type of strategy you’re using for your brand, this will help you know what’s working and what isn’t and what areas of your marketing campaign need to be fine-tuned for ongoing success. 

Here are those metrics now:

Brand Marketing Metrics

  • Brand Awareness — Reach, impressions, brand recall, and brand recognition track how many people your brand message reaches and how well they remember or recognize it.
  • Audience Engagement — Likes, shares, comments, and social media engagement measure the level of audience interaction with your brand content on various platforms.
  • Brand Sentiment — Sentiment analysis and customer surveys can help you understand how people feel about your brand, whether it's positive, negative, or neutral.
  • Website Traffic and Engagement — Website visits, time on site, and pages visited allow you to analyze how your brand marketing efforts translate into increased website traffic and user engagement.
  • Search Engine Visibility — Organic search rankings and brand-related searches can help you monitor where your brand appears in search results and how often people search for your brand.
  • Customer Loyalty and Retention — Customer retention rate and loyalty program participation measure the effectiveness of your brand in retaining existing customers and encouraging repeat business.
  • Influencer Impact — Influencer reach, engagement, and conversion assess the influencer’s impact on spreading your brand message and influencing their audience.
  • Brand Equity — Brand value and customer perceived value evaluate the overall value and perception of your brand in the market.
  • Share of Voice — Mentions in media and social media share help you determine how much your brand is being discussed compared to competitors in various channels.
  • Customer Feedback — Customer reviews and Net Promoter Score (NPS) gather direct feedback from customers to understand their experiences and perceptions.

Performance Marketing Metrics

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) — Percentage of users who clicked on an ad after seeing it.
  • Conversion Rate — Percentage of users who completed the desired action (e.g., making a purchase) out of the total who clicked on the ad.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC) — Average cost incurred each time a user clicks on your ad.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) — Average cost incurred to acquire a new customer or lead.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) — Revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising.
  • Impressions — Total number of times an ad is displayed.
  • Quality Score — Score assigned by platforms like Google based on the relevance and quality of your ads.
  • Bounce Rate — Percentage of users who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
  • Ad Position — Average position where your ad appears on the search engine results page.
  • Lifetime Value (LTV) — Total revenue a business can expect from a customer over the entire relationship.
  • Click Fraud Rate — Percentage of fraudulent clicks in your advertising campaigns.
  • Ad Engagement — Interaction with ad elements (e.g., video views, interactions with ad extensions).

Marketing Channels

Symbols of marketing channels, like megaphone, social media like, video, and trust badge.

To effectively get your brand out there, you’ll have to choose the right channels to work with!

These can vary, of course, based on your target audience, industry, and overall marketing strategy, but here are some good places to get you started!

Brand Marketing Channels

  • Social Media Platforms — Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to engage with your audience, share your brand story, and build a community.
  • Content Marketing — Create valuable and relevant content through blogs, articles, videos, and infographics to establish your brand as an authority in your industry.
  • Email Marketing — Use personalized and targeted email campaigns to nurture relationships with your audience, share updates, and promote your brand.
  • Influencer Marketing — Partner with influencers in your industry to reach a wider audience and leverage their credibility to enhance your brand image.
  • Public Relations (PR) — Engage with media outlets, blogs, and news sources to get coverage and build a positive image for your brand.
  • Branded Events and Sponsorships — Participate in or host events, conferences, and sponsorships to increase brand visibility and connect with your target audience.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Optimize your online content to improve your brand's visibility in search engine results and drive organic traffic.
  • Community Engagement — Actively engage with your community through forums, online groups, and local events to foster a positive brand image.
  • Visual Branding — Make use of strong visual elements, including a memorable logo, consistent color schemes, and aesthetically pleasing design across all channels.
  • Customer Reviews and Testimonials — Encourage and showcase positive customer reviews and testimonials to build trust and credibility.

Performance Marketing Channels

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) — Use paid search advertising, such as Google Ads, to target specific keywords and drive immediate traffic and conversions.
  • Social Media Advertising — Leverage paid advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  • Affiliate Marketing — Partner with affiliates who promote your products or services, and you pay them a commission for each sale or conversion they generate.
  • Email Marketing Campaigns — Implement targeted email campaigns to reach potential customers, nurture leads, and drive specific actions.
  • Display Advertising — Use display ads on websites, apps, or social media platforms to increase brand visibility and encourage users to click through.
  • Retargeting/Remarketing —Show targeted ads to users who have previously visited your website but didn't convert, encouraging them to return and complete the desired action.
  • Content Discovery Platforms —Promote your content through platforms like Taboola or Outbrain, reaching users who are looking for relevant information.
  • In-App Advertising —Reach users directly within mobile applications through various ad formats, especially effective for mobile app installations.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising —Bid on keywords in search engines, paying only when users click on your ad, making it a cost-effective and measurable strategy.
  • Data-driven Marketing Platforms —Use platforms that leverage data analytics and machine learning to optimize your campaigns and target the right audience segments.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) —Continuously optimize your website and landing pages to improve the user experience and drive more conversions.

Duration of Campaigns

The length of time that each type of campaign takes to fulfill its goals is another huge difference between these two approaches.

Let’s explore further:

Brand Marketing Campaign Length

The duration of your brand marketing campaign can depend on many factors, but typically, brand marketing is a long-term, slow-burn type of strategy aimed at gradually building and then sustaining brand loyalty, awareness, and equity.

Brand marketing campaigns can last anywhere from several months to several years since they involve creating a consistent brand image and establishing an emotional connection and loyalty from your audience.

All of that takes time and because of that, you’ll have to continuously work at it if you want to adapt to market changes and stay relevant for your audience.

Performance Marketing Campaign Length

The length of a performance marketing campaign can differ based on your campaign’s goals and the tactics you’re using, but typically, they run for a much shorter duration than brand marketing campaigns. 

They can range from short-term initiatives like a one-time promotion to ongoing efforts with continuous optimization that takes a few weeks.

They can also center around things like product lifecycle, seasonal offers, the start and end dates of PPC campaigns, or budget, lasting as long as those factors last.

Are There Any Similarities Between Brand Marketing and Performance Marketing?

Yes! Though their methods are quite different, there are plenty of similarities and shared goals between brand marketing and performance marketing!

Here are just a few:

  • Digital Presence — Both brand marketing and performance marketing heavily leverage digital channels. They utilize online platforms, social media, search engines, and other digital channels to reach and engage their target audience.
  • Audience Targeting — Both strategies involve a deep understanding of the target audience. Whether it's creating a compelling brand image or optimizing for specific actions, knowing the audience is crucial for success in both brand and performance marketing.
  • Data Utilization — Data plays a crucial role in both approaches. While performance marketing heavily relies on data for real-time analytics and optimizations, brand marketing can use data to understand consumer behavior and tailor messaging.
  • Measurable Metrics — While the primary focus of measurement may differ, both types of marketing employ measurable metrics. Brand marketing might measure success through brand awareness and sentiment, while performance marketing focuses on metrics like click-through rates, conversions, and return on investment (ROI).
  • Integrated Campaigns — Effective marketing often involves an integrated approach. Both brand and performance marketing can complement each other within a comprehensive marketing strategy, ensuring a holistic and impactful presence.
  • Content Creation — Compelling content is essential for both strategies. Whether it's creating emotionally resonant storytelling for brand marketing or crafting persuasive calls-to-action for performance marketing, content is a common thread.
  • Adaptability — In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, both brand and performance marketers need to be adaptable. Staying updated on industry trends, consumer behavior, and emerging technologies is crucial for success in either approach.

Which One is Right for You?

The one that works, of course!

Not to sound flippant, but it's true! Whatever strategy works best for you, your target audience, and your brand is the one you should use. And if you feel like they both work and you can’t choose between them, then we have some great news for you: you don’t have to choose at all!

Combining brand marketing and performance marketing is a wonderful strategy that will help you to stay ahead of the curve, foster long-term success, and help you achieve both short-term results and long-term success!

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About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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