The Difference Between Digital Marketing and Growth Marketing

General Reading Time: 5 minutes

With the massive evolution of marketing over the last decade, understanding the ins and outs of the marketing world and wrapping your head around the growing amount of jargon can be difficult.

With the rapid pace of technological change and the ever-expanding range of marketing channels available, it’s no wonder that things can get a bit confusing.

Two terms that get thrown around a lot are ‘Digital Marketing’ and ‘Growth Marketing’.

But what do they actually mean? And more importantly, what’s the difference between the two?

In this blog post, we’ll cut through the buzzwords and take a closer look at these two types of marketing, explore their similarities and differences, and help you figure out which one is the best fit for your business.

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer looking to expand your skill set or a business owner trying to make sense of the marketing landscape, we’ve got you covered.

What is Digital Marketing?

As the name suggests, digital marketing refers to any marketing activity that uses digital channels, like websites and social media, to promote a product, service, or brand.

Other digital channels that form digital marketing include search engines, email, mobile apps, video, and other types of online platforms.

The aim of digital marketing is to connect your business with potential customers by engaging with them in a targeted and measurable way. By engaging with these potential customers at the right time and providing value (e.g., information, entertainment, or offers), you can drive more web traffic, leads, sales, and revenue into your business.

Some digital marketing techniques include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC), Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, and Content Marketing.

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is a more comprehensive and holistic approach that doesn’t just involve generating interest and leads but focuses on driving sustainable growth by focusing on the entire customer journey.

Growth marketing is all about using data-driven strategies and customer-centric campaigns to identify key drivers of business growth through customer acquisition and retention, customer service, referrals, and more.

Whereas Digital Marketing is a strategy focused on specific channels, Growth Marketing encompasses a wide range of marketing disciplines, including digital marketing, and involves the cross-strategy collaboration and alignment of marketing efforts with your overall business objectives.

Dropbox’s referral program is an excellent example of Growth Marketing.

Dropbox created a referral program that rewarded users who referred friends to use their service. Users who referred a friend would receive additional storage space for free, as would the friend.

This helped Dropbox keep their existing customers happy by rewarding them with additional storage space, and allowed them to grow their user base from 100,000 to 4 million in just over a year!

Key Differences Between Digital Marketing and Growth Marketing

Customer Acquisition vs Customer Retention

One of the main differences between digital marketing and growth marketing is that digital marketing is primarily geared towards customer acquisition.

Digital marketing often focuses on short-term tactics designed to bring in leads and increase conversions, such as PPC advertising or social media campaigns.

On the other hand, growth marketing takes a more holistic approach that focuses on the entire customer journey, from customer acquisition to customer retention and advocacy.

By making customer retention a main priority, alongside solid customer acquisition strategies, growth marketing allows you to build long-term relationships with your customers that can result in more repeat business and referrals and increased customer lifetime value.

Short-Term vs Long-Term Thinking

A lot of digital marketing strategies are more focused on short-term thinking and immediate results. In contrast, growth marketing takes a longer-term approach prioritising sustainable business growth over quick wins.

This means that with growth marketing, you’ve got to be more willing to invest in tactics that are likely to take longer to pay off but have the potential to generate more significant and lasting results in the long run.

Tactics vs Strategic Approaches

Digital marketing often takes a tactical approach to individual channels or tactics, such as optimising a website for SEO or running a Facebook ad campaign.

But Growth Marketing takes a more strategic approach that considers the bigger picture and how different tactics and channels can fit and work together to achieve specific growth goals.

Rather than having different tactics working separately, like SEO, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, and Email, you’d create a strategy with these areas working together to further the same goal.

HubSpot is a brand that executes this really well. They have a load of helpful, free content resources on their website, and they ensure the pages are well-optimised for SEO to bring in organic traffic. They then use social media content to target their audience and promote the content to their followers. Once their audience downloads the content, they provide more relevant content and nurture them towards conversion through email marketing.

This strategy has helped HubSpot establish itself as a thought leader in the marketing space and generate leads for its suite of marketing automation tools.

Focusing on ROI vs Focusing on Experimentation

While both digital and growth marketing focus on driving results, they often have different approaches to measuring success.

Digital marketing tends to focus more on immediate ROI, using metrics like cost per click (CPC) or cost per acquisition (CPA) to evaluate the success of campaigns.

But with growth marketing, it’s also about testing and experimenting to find new and innovative ways to drive growth, even if it means taking risks and investing in new strategies that may not have an immediate payoff.

Narrow Scope vs Holistic Approach

Digital marketing primarily focuses on buyer journeys, taking a narrower, channel-specific perspective. Growth marketing takes a broader view that considers each touchpoint of the customer journey and different channels’ roles in interacting with customers at those points.

This is why growth marketing focuses more on understanding the customer and their journey and creating a seamless, integrated experience across multiple channels and touchpoints.

Why You Should Focus on Growth Marketing

A common mistake businesses make when creating an online presence is putting all their time, effort, and budget into generating leads through digital channels, hoping it will grow their business.

But there’s more to business growth than just bringing in more customers. You’ve also got to retain the customers you’ve already got.

If you’re trying to grow your business, it’s better to focus on a comprehensive strategy that encompasses digital marketing into your wider growth marketing strategy.

While digital marketing is great for promoting products or services through specific channels like social media or email marketing, it’s not enough to ensure sustainable growth.

A growth marketing strategy looks at the entire customer journey, from attracting new customers to retaining them and turning them into advocates. This approach involves experimenting and testing different tactics and strategies to find what works best for your business and continually learning and improving.

By creating a seamless, integrated experience across multiple channels and touchpoints, a growth marketing strategy helps build lasting relationships with customers and drives sustainable growth over time.

So, to achieve long-term success and build strong relationships with your customers, focus on creating a growth marketing strategy that includes digital marketing as part of a broader, holistic approach.

Need Help Creating Your Growth Strategy?

If you want to grow your business, but don’t know where to start, join us for a 1-2-1 Growth Workshop at Damteq HQ in Fareham!

In your tailored, 90-minute workshop, you’ll sit down with Damteq’s Founder, Adam, and a few of our Growth Marketing specialists, where you can get some game-changing tips and advice on accelerating your marketing and setting your business on track for massive growth!

The session will be entirely built around your business and the challenges you face, and you’ll also come away with:

  • A free website and user experience review
  • A free Google ranking audit report
  • Advice on the latest and greatest digital trends and tools
  • Advice on how to generate leads for your business
  • Marketing strategy guidance based on your specific challenges and goals

We’re booking sessions over the next few months with limited availability, so give us a call to get booked in!

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