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brand marketing versus direct marketing

In the book “This is Marketing,” Seth Godin covers a lot of very important topics that can help you become a better marketer and a better storyteller.  You learn why you don’t need everyone as a customer.  As a matter of fact, you need to find a “minimum viable audience” for your product, service or movement.  But no lesson was more profound for me than the difference (as Godin defined it) between Brand Marketing versus Direct Marketing.

Brand Marketing Versus Direct Marketing

It’s important to note that Godin did not say that one was better than the other.  There is a very important place for both Brand Marketing and Direct Marketing.  It’s just vital to understand what both do…and where both fit in with your marketing strategy or plan.  So let’s quickly explain the difference.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is a marketing action you take where there is a designed (and often immediate) action to follow.  This is the email delivered directly to the prospect with the call to action that says “Buy now” or “Click here” or something like that.  Direct marketers find an action that creates the specific result that they want, and then they look to do it over and over again.  Direct marketing is measurable.  You can see what the open rate on the email is.  You can track how many people clicked the link or bought the product.  There is an A + B = C feel to direct marketing.

Brand Marketing

Brand Marketing is also powerful, but much harder to measure.  As Godin says, “Coca Cola does not think that if you see an ad during the Super Bowl that you will leave the Super Bowl party and go buy Coke.”  The idea of course, is they are creating brand affinity and top of mind awareness.  That way, the next time you are in the grocery store, you will think of Coke.  Brand Marketing is important and is how long term success is often created in Advertising and Marketing.

Both types of Marketing are important and effective.  Where you get in trouble, is when you create Brand Marketing and try to measure it like Direct Marketing.  It will almost always fail.  It’s just not set up to do the same thing.

As you consider creating your next marketing campaign, take the time to consider and understand what kind of marketing you are creating.  Just remember, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

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