Performance Marketing vs. Growth Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Marketing is marketing. Well, not actually. There is traditional marketing, brand marketing, digital marketing, performance marketing, growth marketing, and probably a dozen other terms that we aren’t aware of. And while growth marketing and brand marketing differ greatly, you may see performance marketing and growth marketing used interchangeably, but there is a difference.
Tuff is a growth marketing agency. That much is obvious—you can see it all over our site! But what is a performance marketing agency? And how do what they do differ from what we do? Let’s dig in.
Performance marketing agencies—marketers that focus on paid channels and typically take a cut of the profit or ad spend.
Growth marketing agencies—marketers who create holistic marketing strategies centered on sustainable business growth.
What is a performance marketing agency?
A performance marketing agency typically gets paid when certain results occur. This could be a new lead, sale, enrollment, or whatever KPIs you and your agency agree to. Performance marketing is usually driven by return on ad spend and ROI. If you put $500 into a campaign, then you want to get $1000 back or more. This type of marketing requires consistent tweaking and refining pay per click (PPC) campaigns so that your client gets the largest return on their investment. Growth marketers are looking at organic and paid channels and conversion rate optimizations (CRO) to find the perfect combination. Performance marketing really focuses on paid channels to achieve their clients’ marketing goals.
What is a growth marketing agency?
At Tuff, we certainly leverage typical performance marketing channels like paid, but we also layer on a lot more to achieve a holistic growth strategy. Growth marketing focuses more on long-term growth for your business. A growth marketer is sharply focused on new customer or client acquisition (how to introduce more people to your business) and conversion.
We do this by deciding what areas are ripe for growth and which ones your business uses but could be using more effectively. A growth marketing team will dive headfirst into the data and analyze it for the best growth opportunities. The growth team may start with the lowest hanging fruit and target people already looking in your market. They also look for ways to expand your business higher up the funnel by engaging new audiences, educating, informing, and encouraging them throughout the customer journey. A growth marketing agency will make sure that you have a solid foundation to build upon. Growth marketing at Tuff typically doesn’t include managing a sales team, community management, retention specialist, or public relations. While those can be an integral part of a company’s larger growth strategy, at Tuff we focus on getting the right people to your site and having them convert. In short, we keep you from throwing money at solutions that won’t grow your business.
How does growth marketing work?
A growth marketing plan could start with a technical SEO audit that ensures your site’s health is up to par. This could be page speed, URL structures, low-text-to-HTML issues, broken links, duplicate content, and a host of other problems keeping you way down in the SERPs. There is also a content strategy component that helps build upon your technical SEO foundation. This includes optimizing your existing landing pages and finding areas where you need new pages to drive traffic. A growth marketer may determine that creating a blog on your site will help drive top-funnel searches. A blog will lead to more traffic and help drive customers to more areas of your site until they convert. Plus, a growth marketing agency will also ensure that those performance marketing channels we mentioned earlier are active and optimized, so you have a steady flow of leads. At the same time, your business continues to grow from the bottom up.
At Tuff, we work on retainers because it’s better for your resources. With a retainer we have the freedom to allocate resources to where they are most effective. We continually come up with new ideas and activate new tactics while working to refine and optimize your existing channels. We like to think about it like growing a tomato plant versus growing an oak. A tomato plant needs constant attention to keep producing fruit. The more you feed it and water it, the more fruit you will reap. As soon as you stop, so does your tomato production. Growing an oak tree takes a lot of time but make sure it’s watered enough and pruned; it can survive the lack of sunlight and periods of drought because you have a strong root structure.
The end goal is to make sure your business has a sustained growth plan. A growth marketing agency will balance long-term growth opportunities like organic with paid and tailor your growth plan to match and exceed your business goals.
That seems like a lot, but it’s just a small piece of what a Tuff growth marketer does.
Performance vs. growth—which one is best for your business?
A performance marketing agency is great if you have a well-established business model and attract new customers. Your business has a healthy website, a high DA, and your organic is thriving. This is where a performance marketing agency can help you jump over some of those low hurdles.
But if you’re a start-up or an established growing business that needs more than just lead generation, that’s where a growth agency like Tuff comes in. A growth marketing agency acts as an extension of your business. It focuses on where your business needs to be in three months, not three days—a growth marketing agency focuses on all areas of the sales funnel, not just the bottom. Going back to that oak metaphor, you’ll never see a 200-foot tomato plant, but with enough attention, you can see a 200-foot oak.
Think a growth marketing agency is right for you? Give us a call.
We’d love to work with you.
Schedule a call with our team, and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing her mountain bike downhill.