Promotion Strategy

Direct Response vs Brand Awareness Marketing
What’s Right for Your Business?

Promotion Strategy — Direct Response vs Brand Awareness Marketing

The aim of our last article was to give you an overview and help you to make some sense of the complexities involved when pricing your product.  Hopefully that was the case and you now have greater clarity as to which pricing strategy will be right for your product or service.   We move now to promotion strategy and consider two approaches to marketing – Direct Response and Brand Awareness.  We will look at the differences between these two approaches, when and why you would use one rather than the other, but also why (if the marketing budget allows it) you should consider using a combination of the two.

Direct Response Marketing

Goals and Characteristics

Let’s take a look at the direct response marketing approach first of all.  This approach has one goal and that goal is to drive short term sales and therefore campaigns tend to be action-orientated, calling their audience to perform a specific task (making a purchase within a particular timeframe or subscribing to a newsletter) in return for an offer.  This offer might be a reduced price, buy one get one free, a promotional voucher or discount code.  For example a supermarket chain may give you a coupon that needs to be used by a particular date in order to receive a price reduction on a particular product or on the value of your shopping, thus the expiry date is calling you to act within a particular time frame.  An online retailer may offer a discount code if you click through to their site.

Measurability of campaigns

Whatever the offer may be, it will usually run for a defined period of time making the success of the campaign highly measurable; this type of marketing produces a response rate and a conversion rate that allows a quantifiable and direct correlation to be made between marketing investment and sales/other desired action.  Online retailers have the ability to measure with even more precision, the success of a direct response campaign by tracking clicks, sales and coupon usage during the promotional period.

When & Why

Direct response marketing helps people to decide that they are in the market for a product or service.  It gives them the push that they need to make a purchase, so if metrics you can track and increased sales or sales leads are what you require from your marketing then direct response marketing is where you need to focus your efforts.  However, driving the sale isn’t the whole story, particularly in the long term, so read the section below on Brand Awareness Marketing to ensure that you are going forward with the bigger picture in mind.

Brand Awareness Marketing

Goals & Characteristics

Direct Response Marketing drives sales and its success can be easily measured so that return on media investment can be clearly seen, so why would you consider any other type of promotional strategy?  Well, unlike direct response marketing, brand awareness marketing drives a choice, not a sale.  In other words, it comes into play when a potential buyer has already decided that they have a need or desire for a particular product and are now choosing WHO to buy it from.

The goal of brand awareness marketing is to get your brand out there; build the public’s knowledge of the brand and their affinity to it in an attempt to make the company the supplier of choice once a potential customer has made a decision to buy.  The content of brand awareness advertisements should focus on the business’s image, its USPs (unique selling propositions), customer service and community engagement.

Measurability of Campaigns

Brand awareness campaigns are considerably more difficult to quantify for three reasons;-

They tend to be on-going rather than confined to a definite time period

The effects could be seen the following day or five years later depending on the point at which a prospective customer realises their need or desire for a product or service

They tend to run simultaneously with other marketing strategies.

Measuring the success of brand awareness marketing involves long term studies to measure market share, brand or advert recall and mind share (which brand or brands people think of when asked about a product or service).

When & Why 

However, despite the fact that they are much more difficult to quantify, brand awareness campaigns are crucial to the long term growth of the business, particularly in an overcrowded market place.  The outlook in terms of profitability is poor for a business that can only compete on price because they have made no attempt to build the value of their brand with their target audience.  Brand awareness marketing seeks to create a perception of value based on factors other than price to the prospective customer, ensuring that the company is at the forefront of their mind, and therefore the supplier of choice, when they are looking to purchase products or services in its category.  So if long term growth is your marketing objective then brand awareness marketing is a key ingredient that you cannot afford to leave out.

Consider combining the two

Although different in every respect, direct response marketing and brand awareness marketing do not conflict with one another.  The two approaches may cause conflict in the boardroom when dividing up the marketing budget because each approach serves a different business objective, but the two marketing strategies do in fact complement one another and can be run simultaneously to enhance the effectiveness of the direct response marketing campaign.  Brand marketing creates communication with the prospective audience that works over time to nurture an environment that will aid conversion when the direct marketing communication is presented.  In other words, prospective customers are infinitely more likely to say “yes” to an offer being made by a particular brand if they have been made aware of that brand and think positively about it.  Therefore, if your marketing budget will stretch to it, run both brand awareness and direct response marketing campaigns so that when you drive the sale, you’ve also driven the choice!

We hope that you have found this article useful. Over the coming weeks we will move on to look at some of the specific tactics small businesses can use to promote their products and services. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to discuss promotion strategy for your small business further, please contact Trinity on 02475 185286 for a Free Consultation or complete our online form.

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