Performance marketing and digital marketing are often thought of as being two different terms for the same animal. But those who are aware of what these two forms of marketing truly entail understand that they are not the same, but do have similar qualities. While digital marketing is a term which can encompass everything from usage of paid banner ads to blackhat tricksters, performance marketers are usually affiliated with a company whose products or services they digitally promote for a fee. As such, performance marketing is a kind of digital marketing.
Many digital marketers started their careers by developing their skills in the performance marketing arena. Some of these current and former performance marketers were responsible for generating many of the of techniques and strategies that are involved in today’s online marketing, such as tracking, split testing, and spy tools. In the early days of the internet – way back in the mid-1990s, if you were interested in performance marketing you had no choice but to invest your own resources in order to experiment and discover what works and what doesn’t in a particular niche. This resulted in these, and other, cost saving and efficiency techniques being developed.
Performance marketers have arguably added as much to the world of digital marketing as any other group. One of the main reasons is that, because they had to use their own money, performance marketers have adopted a strategies which have resulted in their being known as “lean marketers.” That is to say, they are able to maximize the efficiency of the resources they have available to them. Their landing pages and advertising techniques produce results as “minimum viable products”. They also do regular split-testing of their landing pages and advertisements in order to determine what CTAs and verbiage is generating click-through results and sales.
Another reason performance marketers are great digital marketers is that their skill set is such that they don’t have to rely on outside help for things like creating landing pages, script coding, or budget planning. They are able to save time, money, and other valuable resources by doing these essential tasks themselves, and doing them exactly the way they want them done the first time. Additionally, not only is their general skill set more expansive, their marketing experience is deep as well. This gives them a considerable edge in optimizing conversions, nurturing leads, and marketing automation. Other digital marketers typically don’t have these kinds of skills, or are very limited in them and are forced to outsource.
Lastly, performance marketers are specialists in only a few specific areas, and by “only a few” we mean one or maybe two at the very most. They often have expertise in pay-per-click or search engine optimization and other areas in which many digital marketers have little to no experience. Performance marketers have typically invested a tremendous amount of time, money, and effort into expanding their experience and expertise in a specific area and have become masters in that area. With all of that said, it is clear that those who are solely digital marketers have a difficult time competing with performance marketers primarily because of their laser focus on ROI. Digital marketers by and large just don’t have that same focus.