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Growth Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: What's the Difference?

Growth marketing vs. digital marketing: two related but different concepts. Here’s what advertisers need to know to get the most out of both strategies.


growth marketing vs digital marketingIn a rapid-paced industry like marketing, where staying on top of tech and trends is crucial for survival, it can be easy to lose sight of the basics: what marketing really is, what marketers’ goals are, and what strategies are right for any given company. In this article, we’ll break down the fundamentals of growth marketing vs. digital marketing so you can better understand how these terms differ and how they relate. Let’s do it. 

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What Is Digital Marketing?

What Is Growth Marketing?

Digital Marketing vs. Growth Marketing

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the practice of using digital channels to market to consumers. It’s a very broad category that can include virtually any attempt brands make to connect with consumers online. One of the reasons digital marketing has become increasingly popular is that consumers are living more and more of their lives in digital spaces; a Pew Research Center study found that 31% of American consumers say they are “almost constantly” online.

Digital marketing can happen on any connected device (computer, tablet, phone, etc.) and across any digital medium (social media, search engine optimization, video, email, display ads, etc.). It’s often contrasted with traditional marketing, a category that includes methods like billboards, direct mail, and print advertising. 

Linear television advertising is often included under the umbrella of traditional marketing because TV sets were historically “dumb” devices. Smart TVs, on the other hand, which are connected to the internet by design, place CTV and OTT advertising squarely into digital marketing territory.

What Is Growth Marketing?

Growth marketing is an approach that prioritizes metrics and goals oriented toward company expansion. Some common growth marketing goals include building revenue, increasing retention, or otherwise up-leveling core business metrics. Growth marketing can technically be applied to either digital or traditional marketing strategies, but is more common in the digital world due to the availability of highly detailed data. Growth marketers constantly analyze data to test, experiment, and iterate, all in an effort to get ever closer to achieving their goals. 

In many ways, growth marketing was born out of the evolution of digital marketing. The invention of the internet gave brands and companies access to huge quantities of customer data that they simply did not have when traditional marketing dominated. As technology evolved and more of the world got online, so did the tools and strategies that marketers use to turn consumers into customers. Consumers grew accustomed to using countless digital channels to work, shop, play, and live, creating a treasure trove of data points that digital marketers and growth marketers alike can use to achieve their respective goals.

Growth hacking is a popular term in the growth marketing space. Generally speaking, growth hacking refers to a heightened, even aggressive approach to growth marketing. It is categorized by rapid experimentation, all with the intention of discovering and mastering the most successful (read: profitable) techniques, strategies, and channels as quickly as possible.

Digital Marketing vs. Growth Marketing

The key difference between digital marketing vs. growth marketing is methodology. A digital marketing strategy can be growth-oriented, and a growth marketing approach can be applied across digital channels, but as standalone concepts they operate at different levels. Digital marketing is an umbrella term under which you can find countless different marketing efforts, but no individual one of them is necessarily a growth marketing technique (though it can be). While modern growth marketing likely takes place in digital spaces, what makes something a growth marketing technique is its orientation toward specific results. 

Understanding growth marketing vs digital marketing is in some ways a question of degree. While a digital marketing campaign might use data to iterate toward a specific goal of increasing brand awareness or converting new users, a growth marketing mindset might refocus that campaign toward retaining those users. Growth marketing puts the pressure on digital marketing concepts to inspire long-term, sustained business growth. So while plenty of digital marketing techniques focus on filling the top of the funnel, growth marketing is dedicated to nurturing those leads through the funnel to transform those early-stage efforts into measurable business results.

When it comes to applying a growth marketing mindset to a relatively new channel like connected TV advertising, it helps to have a dedicated partner. That’s where tvScientific can help — we work with brands of all sizes to realize the benefits of both digital growth marketing in general and OTT programmatic advertising in particular. Our proprietary platform combines the reach of television with the data analysis, measurement, and attribution capabilities that make growth marketing so powerful. Ready to work with tvScientific on bringing your growth marketing mindset to the world of OTT programmatic advertising? Get in touch today.

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