Here’s a quick marketing tip for you: Did you know that when confronted with a number of purchasing choices, if the potential purchaser is only familiar with one of the options, they are massively more likely to buy it?
Well, it’s true!
That feeling of familiarity is enough to make that purchase feel less of a risk, than buying a completely unknown alternative. So, it makes very good business sense, to give visibility to your brand’s image.
Brand advertising and Direct Response advertising
The above example is often achieved using brand advertising. Brand advertising is what you see, every time you watch a TV commercial. A product or service is presented in a great light, but with no obvious call to action. They simply want to build familiarity of the brand and make you feel good about it. It’s a model that generates billions in sales every year.
Then there’s direct response advertising. You see examples of this, every time you watch an infomercial. Unlike a typical commercial, they not only show the product, but keep asking you to buy it. They offer you toll free numbers and show you all the payment options they have. The whole deal is done via the infomercial and it’s a very powerful way to make sales.
Direct response marketing is also the only kind of marketing you will hear most Internet based marketers mention. Despite all the facts that suggest the opposite, it’s fashionable to say that brand marketing is dead and a waste of your time.
Brand marketing is not dead
This is why companies like Nike pay professional sports people to wear their products. Does anyone actually think companies like Apple or Chanel are marketed by morons? These guys are masters of brand marketing / advertising and they use it to generate millions of sales.
Yes, every business should use direct response marketing, but this is not a binary decision! It’s not one kind of marketing or the other. You can use them both, so long as you use them correctly. You can invest in some smart brand awareness AND get all that direct response marketing goodness too. A retail outlet can use their valuable window space, to reinforce their brand and garner familiarity, as people walk past and drive by their shopfront every day, without dropping every other form of marketing.
Brand advertising in small businesses
There are 3 people who work in my local coffee shop, who each have the new Samsung Galaxy S. They work different shifts and hardly see each other. They are not friends and their ages range from around 17 to about 50. None of them went for an iPhone or a different Andriod phone or a Windows phone. They ALSO bought their identical phones from the exact same shop; even though it was considerably more expensive than buying their phone online. The shop? It’s the small, independent phone shop directly opposite where they work 8 hours a day. The one that had a huge Galaxy S banner in it’s window for months.
Yes, it could be a total coincidence, that 3 people of differing generations would all go for the same, relatively expensive smart phone. BUT it’s also very possible that it was not coincidence at all, but just another example of what marketing professionals see all the time; people picking the option that’s most familiar. They saw that banner hundreds of times a day, consciously and unconsciously.
Through that simple, inexpensive piece of brand advertising, the small, independent phone store created a situation for the coffee shop staff, where:
- They became familiar with the name of one particular phone model.
- They became familiar with the look of one particular phone model.
- They associated both of those to that particular store, which is where all 3 bought their phone.
I’ve been in marketing for almost 25 years and in that time, I’ve seen a number of fashions come and go. The thing is, the fundamentals of marketing and the principles of influence are not part of fashion. They are part of human behaviour. The key motivators are the same today, as they were when I was working in London in the 1980’s, as a hungry marketing exec, learning directly from people who worked alongside the best of the best, like the great David Ogilvy.
Success leaves clues!
Whilst we associate brand advertising with BIG companies, as we saw in the phone store example, elements can be successfully ported across to small business. By keeping YOUR brand, logo / name in front of your prospective clients, you help to make them feel familiar with you. Of course, if you also help the marketplace to feel good or positive toward your business, you can increase the impact of your marketing enormously. This is yet another reason for you to develop a content marketing strategy for your business.
The bottom line: Marketing your business is not a binary decision. You should include whatever is most likely to deliver the best results for you, regardless of the fashions of the day.