Businesses get brand marketing and direct marketing mixed up. It is costly and causes a lot of mediocre results and headaches.
We’re going to fix this age-old debate right now!
You may find yourself running a brand campaign thinking you will get direct marketing results or you are running a direct marketing campaign and expect branding results.
If you mess these up, you will lose, become frustrated, and abandon ship for the next shiny marketing idea.
Let’s first define the two of them so we can know what to expect.
Seth Godin in his new book laid it out the best I have seen. We will use his definition.
If you’re buying direct marketing ads, measure everything. Compute how much it costs you to earn attention, to get a click, to turn that attention into an order.
Direct marketing is action marketing, and if you’re not able to measure it, it doesn’t count.
If you’re buying brand marketing ads, be patient. Refuse to measure. Engage with the culture. Focus, by all means, but mostly, be consistent and patient.
If you can’t afford to be consistent and patient, don’t pay for brand marketing ads.
What I just shared with you ought to have paid for the time and money you have spent reading my posts, emails, website and watching my videos.
When you know what kind of marketing you are engaged in, you will set the right expectations.
Types of direct marketing include:
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- YouTube Ads
- Email Marketing
- Solo Ads
They’re Ads you can track directly to a sale.
Types of brand marketing include:
- Billboard signs
- The way you answer your phones
- Your uniforms
- Networking events
- Company culture
The list above is not exact, but I think you get the point.
Different platforms can be used for both direct and brand, but the difference is your expectations, goals, and measurements.
Small startups get too caught up in their brand. They spend time, money, and energy dealing with brand experts and not enough time building out direct marketing campaigns.
Big brands try to make a shift into direct marketing and use branding techniques and wonder why nothing worked.
A Typical Story About Branding vs Direct Marketing
RED worked with a client this last year who hired a new VP of marketing. He came from a large corporation that ran branding campaigns.
The owner of the company wanted to track all results and make sure marketing was giving him an instant ROI.
The new VP of marketing made called his past Agency and did a large media buy. The agency took the $241,000 and ran a display campaign along with a few magazine ads.
How much traffic came to the site? None!
Six months into the campaign sales had not increased at all. Less than a year later the VP of marketing was looking for a new job.
The owner had one expectation and the VP of marketing another.
Let’s look at SEO.
It’s a problem and owners have the wrong expectations.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the attempt to rank for generic terms in a search engine. Businesses spend a fortune on SEO because marketers promise to rank them for highly searched keywords.
SEO can be considered brand marketing or direct depending who you ask but here’s the problem…
It’s a gamble, and the odds are stacked against you. There are limited spots available, and it takes months if not years to rank for generic keywords.
90% of owners do not have the time, patience, or money to wait for the results. So they quit too soon.
What makes business owners assume they can outrank companies like Wikipedia, Home Advisors, Yelp, and Google on generic searches?
It’s not happening.
I find it best to avoid the games you will lose. No matter what your SEO company says.
What can you win?
Build an SEO campaign where people search for keyword that you can rank for. This will come in a later post.
Which brings us back to the beginning…
What kind of marketing campaign are you running? Are you mixing them up?
Both brand and direct marketing are good, as long as we set the right expectations.
If you’re interested in growing your business with a direct marketing campaign, reach out to us.
We would be happy to show ways to drive traffic, leads, and sales.
If you’re looking for a brand campaign, that is not our thing. I have a hard time spending money on marketing that can’t be measured.
Does branding work? Yes, it does. Just takes time, patience, and a lot more money.