Direct Marketing or Brand Marketing
by Arina Smith Marketing 06 March 2018
Many people view direct marketing and brand marketing as opposites and think that they are not compatible, meaning that if you are running a direct marketing campaign, you can’t be building a brand at the same time and vice versa.
Direct marketing :
Direct marketing is the type of marketing that directly asks for response, be it a click on a webpage or an order via a paper mail-order catalog. Late night infomercials and home shopping networks such as QVC are also examples of direct marketing. Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are direct-marketing platforms.
Tens of thousands businesses use direct marketing as a primary way of obtaining customers. Often, they are less noticeable that businesses that try to build brands because many of the direct marketing businesses do not spend money on flashy billboards and TV commercials. However, this doesn’t mean that these businesses are not making money.
In practical terms, direct marketing is different from brand-building marketing in that direct marketing comes with offers. “Click here,” “fill out a page and fax it back,” “order now” are all examples of offers. You see offers around you every day, including websites, Facebook, TV, newpapers and magazines.
From marketing standpoint, the fact that an ad has an offer means that it is possible to track the performance of an ad. Modern direct marketing platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook have tracking tools built into the platforms. You can see how many people are clicking on your ads in real time. When you have an ad in a newspaper, catalog or a radio show, you can also track response by having codes on order forms, by offering different products and doing so at different price points. For example, if during week A you are running one newspaper ad selling a $19.97 product and this is the only place where you are selling the product, then you know that the ad is responsible for all the sales of the product.
Building a brand and getting people to recognize the name of a company is a long and expensive process. With direct marketing, especially with direct marketing online, you can test ideas very quickly. For example, if you have several ideas for the title of your new book, you can run ads on Google and Facebook and see which ad gets more clicks minutes after people click on your ads. This is exactly how Tim Ferris came up with “4 Hour Workweek” as a title for his book. He had several ideas and ran ads to see which ideas get a better response. You can use the same approach to test virtually everything, from different price points to products of different colors to headlines and ideas. You will get results quickly and have real-world data about the performance of your ideas and campaigns.
Direct marketing asks for response. Brand building doesn’t. This is the reason why in short-term direct marketing can bring more qualified customers through the door. Most sales people do at least an okay job when they are describing products and services to people that are interested in the products and services. Finding these prospects is often the problem. Direct marketing solves this problem.
One of the problems with brand-building is that you can’t track what is happening with your ads and you don’t know which ads work and which ads don’t work.
With direct marketing, you do have data about the performance of your ads. This means that you can track your expenses accurately and you can see what is working, including measuring the return on investment. All of this is work, yet this work leads to extreme clarity and allows to make intelligent business decisions, which is why in addition to all its other benefits direct marketing creates discipline.
Brand building :
There are several approaches to brand building. A classic approach that big companies use is based on a premise that if people see a name of a brand for a certain number of times, they will prefer it over other brands because of the familiarity. Today, as more and more people are spending most of their time glued to their smartphones scrolling with fragmented attention, building such a level of familiarity is hard, long and very expensive.
However, this doesn’t mean that brand-building is dead. For many companies, brand-building is just one of the aspects of their marketing. For example, Apple does place a lot of billboards across the country and does pay a lot of money for them, but it also designs elegant easy-to-use beautiful products, which help build Apple’s brand and are marketing devices on their own.
If you own a small or medium-sized business, you will not be able to spend the same money on brand-building as Apple does, yet you can still be building your brand. Your brand-building can be a side result of your direct marketing, publicity, and other activities.
Brands don’t just apply to products. Brands also apply to people. Certain people and names are philosophy and lifestyle brands. An example of such a brand is musician Gene Simmons and his band Kiss. The name of Martha Stewart is also a brand. Both Stewart and Simmons are being paid tens of millions of dollars for permissions to attach their names to all kinds of products. For example, Simmons has licensed Kiss name for condoms and caskets.
Some of the biggest arguments for creating a brand are that a brand can be useful to a business and important to consumers in a number of ways. While trying to build a brand is long and expensive, nobody would argue that recognizable brands do exist and recognition does help get through the market clutter and noise, make choices for consumers simple and efficient.
A brand can also serve as a guarantee of quality and consistency, be it of product quality or experience quality. Disney is one of the best companies on the planet that is an experience brand. When people go to a Disney park, they know what to expect and what not to expect.
A brand can also provide bragging rights, status, and pride of ownership. It can also serve as a validation of values and beliefs of a person. For example, a mother may think that she is a good mother because she is serving her children organic non-GMO food she buys at Whole Foods. It is possible that her grocery shopping is as much about her feeling good about herself and her choices as it is about the actual physical health of her children.
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