As a marketer, you must have grappled with the brand or demand question. Brand marketing is about nurturing relationships with your audience over time, positioning your brand as a trusted industry leader. On the other hand, demand marketing aims to create urgency around offerings, driving immediate growth with highly targeted campaigns.
In the complex world of marketing, one of the toughest decisions businesses face is how to allocate their marketing budget. Should they prioritize brand awareness or focus more on conversion-oriented strategies? Understanding the role of both in your business strategy can help in making this critical decision.
The Importance of Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with your brand and its products or services. It forms the foundation of your marketing efforts, helping potential customers recognize your brand in a crowded market.
Creating a powerful brand image can be an invaluable asset. A strong brand image can influence purchasing decisions, fostering customer loyalty and advocacy. This is why some businesses choose to invest heavily in brand awareness campaigns.
Brand awareness strategies can include content marketing, social media engagement, PR, influencer marketing, and sponsorship deals. These are long-term strategies that don't necessarily lead to immediate sales but lay the groundwork for future customer relationships.
The Power of Conversion
While brand awareness focuses on the top of the sales funnel, conversion strategies aim to move potential customers down that funnel towards a purchase. Conversion is the heart of your immediate revenue stream, transforming interested consumers into paying customers.
Conversion-oriented strategies often include email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), targeted landing pages, and remarketing campaigns. They are designed to be highly targeted, appealing directly to consumers who have shown interest in your product or service.
Striking a Balance
Balancing brand awareness and conversion in your marketing spend is crucial. It's not an 'either-or' choice but rather a strategic distribution that depends on your business goals, industry, and target audience.
Business Stage: Start-ups might prioritize brand awareness to create a market presence, while established businesses might emphasize conversion to boost sales. However, both stages need a blend of both strategies.
Product/Service Type: High-ticket items or services might require more brand awareness efforts to build trust, while low-cost, impulse purchase items might benefit more from conversion-oriented tactics.
Target Audience: Understanding your audience is key. Younger audiences might be more reachable through brand awareness campaigns on social media, while older or B2B audiences might respond better to direct conversion strategies like email marketing.
Metrics and Analytics: Use data to guide your decisions. If brand awareness campaigns are driving traffic but not leading to conversions, it might be time to shift some budget towards conversion strategies.
The Brand-to-Demand Strategy and Programmatic Advertising Approach
In practice, brand and demand marketing are employed alternately, but the division can seem divisive. Do we have to make trade-offs? Well, no. A study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising proposes an optimal 60/40 split: 60% branding, 40% direct response. This balance ensures optimal impact on pricing power, awareness, and sales.
This balance encourages marketers to consider the entire buyer's journey. An effective holistic strategy encompasses full-funnel steps, creating a seamless consumer journey that aligns with your business goals. This is where programmatic advertising, with its multi-beneficial facets, can be leveraged to execute the perfect campaign mix.
Programmatic advertising caters to the unique needs of the target audience, emphasizing personalization, which is crucial as 63% of North American consumers expect personalized marketing outreach. Programmatic solutions and data provide valuable insights about audiences, understanding who they are, their behavior, and where they are in their journey.
A successful approach begins with awareness campaigns. Programmatic advertising excels at increasing brand visibility, introducing prospects to your funnel, and nurturing them into customers. Metrics such as impressions, ad viewability, and click-through rate (CTR) are crucial at this stage.
Programmatic advertising also allows the use of third-party audiences or interest and intent audiences, casting a wide net to capture a diverse range of potential customers. Planning ahead for retargeting efforts during your brand awareness campaign enhances the effectiveness of future campaigns, ensuring efficient use of advertising dollars and maintaining consistent messaging.
Engagement campaigns are the next step. Engagement metrics such as CTR, average time spent on site, and video completions offer insights into your campaign's impact. Innovative targeting options help keep your audience engaged and foster brand recognition, which is vital for your campaign's overall success.
Finally, the ultimate goal: conversions. Programmatic conversion campaigns are invaluable, generating leads, purchases, and encouraging users to take predefined actions. Metrics like conversions, cost per acquisition (CPA), and CTR are paramount at this stage. Programmatic advertising, as part of an omnichannel strategy, can significantly boost conversions while keeping costs down.
To maximize your full-funnel strategy, consider the strength of each ad format—video, connected TV (CTV), display, and native—each offering unique advantages depending on your campaign type. Video ads can tell a compelling story, CTV can reach a mass audience, display banners act as digital billboards, and native ads provide engaging, non-intrusive content.
In conclusion, programmatic advertising's flexibility allows for a personalized approach that meets your audience where they are, across devices and stages in the buyer's journey. By incorporating an optimal mix of brand and demand strategies, you can increase brand recognition, drive conversions, and ultimately, turn leads into loyal customers.