Performance Marketing vs. Brand Marketing – What’s The Difference?

performance marketing software

Is brand marketing, compared to performance marketing – falling into oblivion?

Many companies that sell directly to consumers are concerned with performance marketing, putting branding on the back burner in today’s world.

However, favoring one technique over the other has serious consequences.

What is Performance Marketing?

What exactly are we talking about before we can reach that balance? According to the Performance Marketing Association, performance marketing is “a broad term that refers to online marketing and advertising programs in which advertisers (also known as “retailers” or “merchants”) pay marketing companies (also known as “affiliates” or “publishers”) when a specific action, such as a sale, lead, or click, is completed.” 

This is a digital marketing strategy that is primarily focused on immediate and often short-term outcomes. You put an ad on one of the available performance platforms – one that is targeted to certain people – and pay the digital platform only when one of your target customers takes action. 

Performance marketing has grown in popularity over the last decade as marketing budgets have been slashed in order to maximize return on investment.

On the other hand, brand marketing is all about developing and enhancing positive consumer views of the brand and engaging consumers to assist grow their affection for the company. 

Essentially, brand marketing is the slower burning, more emotive, and long-term component of your marketing plan, whereas performance marketing is a quick short-term technique that might be useful for producing quick leads and sales.

The good news is that you do not have to choose just one. In fact, putting too much focus on performance marketing and bottom-of-the-funnel actions is detrimental to your company or brand. Similarly, focusing too much on brand building and top-funnel strategies will leave you short on sales. Furthermore, branding work might aid in the improvement of your performance marketing initiatives.

What is brand marketing?

The process of developing and growing a relationship between a brand and its customers is known as brand marketing. Rather than emphasizing a single product or service, brand marketing promotes the entire brand, with products and services serving as proof points that support the brand’s promise. 

The purpose of brand marketing is to increase the value of a brand – and thus the value of the company.

The channels accessible for a brand marketing plan are the same as those available for product marketing activities, such as digital, social, and paid search advertising. An excellent technique is to combine many channels to produce a media mix that reaches a large audience. 

Brand marketers may employ a brand advertising approach complemented by email and content marketing activities to promote brand awareness and reach potential customers across numerous digital areas. However, in order to choose the proper messages for the relevant audiences in these venues, we must first examine brand qualities.

Why is branding important?

Branding is probably more crucial than ever as markets become more crowded and it becomes more difficult to establish true connections with customers. Branding enables businesses to express their distinctive stories and influence perception by providing customers with something in which to believe. 

It piques clients’ curiosity and invites them to discover, learn about, and form a unique relationship with their brand. 

Branding is about what a firm stands for – who it is at its core, rather than specs and features. Branding is all about making customers feel good about supporting a brand and creating an emotional connection with them. Those that effectively brand leave a lasting image, which aids in the long-term growth of advocacy and loyalty among customers.

Read also: The Ultimate Guide to Starbucks Marketing Strategy

Performance Marketing vs. Brand Marketing

In 2021, according to eMarketer, global digital ad spending will reach $455.30 billion. 

Brand marketing and performance marketing are becoming increasingly interdependent for brands in this ever-growing industry because creating relationships with consumers is critical, as is offering customized campaigns. Brands must evolve in tandem with the landscape.

Should you incorporate performance and brand marketing into your marketing strategy? 

We explain what they are, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how they might help you achieve your digital advertising objectives.

Combining Brand Marketing & Performance Marketing

These ideas are critical if you want to stay competitive in today’s market. It takes a combination of these two areas for a company to stand out from the crowd. Only then will we be able to reach the kind of development and success required to have a significant and long-term influence. Because, at the end of the day, it’s all about driving business results, growing market share, and, most importantly, exceeding consumer expectations and developing a strong brand that connects, inspires action, and instills long-term loyalty in your customers.

Here are some strategies for implementing short-term performance marketing while keeping the long-term brand building in mind:

Invest in a team that helps you understand your data. 

The only thing worse than not investing in data is not investing in data experts. In a 2018 Marketing Land study, the vast majority of respondents (72%) projected that data science would be the most in-demand technical expertise in two years – a forecast that proved to be spot on. 

Many businesses recognize the importance of performance marketing but are confused about what to do with the data it provides. Having the right team of professionals in place can help you prevent this, and data can even become your best friend.

As you evaluate your budget, make sure that a considerable percentage of your performance marketing allocation is invested not only in data collection systems but also in a team of professionals who understand how to monitor and analyze the results. More importantly, they may assist you in determining how to incorporate those findings into a longer-term brand-centric plan.

Evaluate and balance your marketing budget. 

Budget cuts, increases, and shifts in B2B and B2C marketing have been a hot subject in the industry during the epidemic, so this may be an obvious first step. But it’s one that many people overlook, especially as digital activations and e-commerce advertising grow in popularity.

Precise divisions will vary depending on industry and corporate goals. According to Binet in an interview with WARC:

  • The most effective breakdown for B2C enterprises is 60% of expenditures on long-term growth and 40% on short-term
  • Their B2B recommendations differed significantly, with 46% focusing on the long term and 54% on the short term.

Seed future intent by making your brand to stand for something.

We are caught in a catch-22 situation in the affiliate marketing industry: Most customers dislike commercials, but a business cannot thrive without them. This is especially true in the age of digital marketing when buyers are bombarded with adverts in a variety of formats from all sides. As a result, many customers are skeptical and mistrust. 

They now have the power to choose the type of material with which they will engage, thanks to new technology and privacy regulations. According to Salesforce, 52% of customers want personalized offers. 

Furthermore, according to Hootsuite, 42.7% of internet users worldwide use ad blockers.

So, how can we reach an increasingly sophisticated and seemingly impenetrable consumer as marketers and advertisers? 

To develop trust early on, meet where your clients are, whether it’s a social issue, a specific dilemma, or a shared experience.

You can’t have one without the other when it comes to long-term brand building and short-term performance marketing. It is not only important to have the correct tools to understand your clients; it is also important to design and adhere to your brand statements. 

This enables you to show consumers exactly where you stand and what you stand for, moving them beyond the category of consumer targets and into the area of consumer allies.


It is evident that striking a balance between performance marketing and brand marketing leads to long-term growth and success.

Focusing just on performance marketing to increase short-term conversions without incorporating a brand marketing plan will negatively influence your company’s potential to expand.

Intelligent marketing strategies combine to generate long-term brand awareness as well as short-term acquisition channels that are more measurable than ever before. Using channels such as partner marketing or programmatic ads, performance can be maximized by branding approaches such as sequential storytelling.

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Elizabeth Sramek
Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.
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