3 Distinct Qualities That Separate Growth Marketing From Traditional Marketing

3 Distinct Qualities That Separate Growth Marketing From Traditional Marketing

Business owners and marketers have a tradition of pushing the boundaries of innovation. They're also known for thinking up new and unheard-of ways to drive product awareness and growth. Product placements started with Curtiss Candy Co. founder Otto Schnering's idea to have the Butterfinger candy bar featured in a Shirley Temple film. And concepts such as guerrilla marketing, native advertising, and digital content have emerged as novel ways to capture consumer attention.   

The ingenuity of past pioneers benefits today's business leaders, who can execute advertising and promotional strategies in diverse ways. Promoting a brand and its products is a multifaceted affair, as marketers look beyond just creating awareness and acquiring leads. That goal is what fuels growth marketing, a full-funnel, data-driven approach that is inextricably intertwined with digital marketing.

Yet while digital ad spend increased by 16.2 percent in February 2022, traditional marketing is still alive and well. Marketers have seemingly limitless options they can use to accomplish their objectives. That said, the lines between what makes a marketing strategy traditional versus growth-oriented are increasingly blurred. While there can be some confusion between the two approaches, there are three distinctions to look out for.

Resilience can be a predictor of success. In business, you want an idea, strategy, or product that will stand the test of time. However, it's also good to have an approach that's adaptable and one you can mold as you go along.

You can usually measure a company's resilience by its capacity to handle stress. And there are ways to bolster a business's resilience by building redundancy and learning from experimentation. Traditional and growth marketing strategies have different capacities for absorbing stressors and the unexpected.

With growth marketing, you can adjust your methods as you implement them. These strategies are built on the idea of trial and error. As you experiment to find what works, you can make real-time changes to meet evolving audience needs and preferences. 

Because traditional marketing campaigns are laid out in advance for longer periods, you may not have as much flexibility. Once you've produced and scheduled your ads, they're running. Changes to the strategy may take weeks or months.

The goal of traditional marketing is to create awareness and capture leads. You're concentrating on the top of the funnel and letting sales and customer service do the rest. Television and radio ads and even webinars and blog posts are focused on new customer acquisition. And the message and content usually zero in on a single product or service.

Growth marketing looks at and addresses the entire sales funnel. Any growth strategy is about the customer, from awareness and acquisition to retention and referral. Instead of selling a product, growth marketers aim to create and sell a personalized experience. It's about finding various ways to get customers to come back for more -- all while bringing others with them.

Conventional and growth marketing methods both have their place. You can implement them simultaneously. But the key is to align each approach's purpose with your audience, objectives, and company structure.      

Marketing strategies require decisions. Either you're going to launch a new campaign or keep your current messaging. Or you'll switch from focusing on your product's low price to speaking about the enhanced value it offers to the customer. Growth and traditional marketing strategies rely on distinct methodologies to help leaders come to these types of conclusions.   

Traditional or mass-marketing approaches are often based on professional opinion or even gut feeling. It's a decision-making approach many marketers switched back to in 2020. Asone in five consumers changed brands between March and August, business leaders didn't have the real-time information they needed to form data-derived conclusions. So they relied on conventional promotional strategies and decisions that weren't driven by data. Marketers went with what appeared to be the right moves and had to wait and see.

Growth marketing, in contrast, depends on and generates up-to-the-minute information. You can create two versions of a landing page and watch your test results come in. As people visit and interact with the page, you immediately learn whether specific design and copy differences drive conversions. Then you retest with the winning version to see whether the conversion rate holds up. Growth marketing's methodology is marked by these types of data-driven decisions.

Traditional and growth marketing strategies don't have to be mutually exclusive. You can successfully execute both as long as you know the capabilities of each approach. And with that knowledge, you can begin to extend the creative possibilities for promoting your brand's unique advantages.        

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