Tags: Advertising and Marketing, Brand, Business, Direct marketing, marketing
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Marketers often come from two distinct backgrounds. Brand marketers are the ones whose work you see on TV. They are all about branding, brand image, brand awareness–use whatever word you want–and their success has made Coca-Cola and many other consumer products into household names. Direct marketers are decidedly less sexy, traditionally focusing on catalogs or direct mail letters, constantly searching for the next idea that increases response. They are all about sales, and couldn’t care less about brand image as long as the cash register rings. All of which leads to the question, “Is branding more important than direct marketing?”
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So, what about brand marketers and direct marketers? Ralph Kiner, the Hall of Fame baseball player, once said, “Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, and singles hitters drive Fords.” So it had always been with marketing, where brand marketers worked for the big names, got the big budgets, and the made the big money. Direct marketers were the singles hitters of marketing, toiling away in relative obscurity.
So, given the dichotomy between brand marketing and direct marketing, many people ask which one is more important. Luckily, the answer doesn’t force you to choose between brand awareness and sales. Despite the differences between brand and direct marketing, brand awareness and sales don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Despite its name, brand marketing is not the only way to raise brand awareness or improve your brand image. Direct marketing can raise brand awareness as well as sales. After all, if more people buy from you, I guarantee that your brand awareness is going up and that your brand trust is increasing. But the opposite is not always true. Trying to directly improve awareness and trust doesn’t always translate to higher sales.
What that means is that brand marketing might be important, but it has limitations. While improved brand awareness can lead to higher sales (and often does), the effect is indirect and hard to measure. And higher brand awareness should be a means, rather than an end. Sales needs to be the goal of all marketing, so direct marketing has a natural advantage over brand marketing.
Especially when thinking about Internet marketing, where direct marketing is so easy to implement, you should almost always lead with direct marketing techniques, assured that those approaches will also lead to the brand awareness you desire.