Branding vs. Direct Marketing
Before you begin creating a small business marketing plan there are some fundamental concepts and questions you need to think about. First, make sure that you understand the difference between branding and direct marketing. This may seem basic but today’s technology has blurred the lines of what most people think of when looking at these two concepts. Direct marketing is speaking directly to someone who needs your service. Most small business owners think of yellow page advertising or mailing flyers to people as the only forms of direct marketing. This is not true anymore. Search engines like Google and Bing make it possible to create and display an ad specific to a person searching for your services, targeting them directly and personally. Some social media sites also allow you to display ads to very specific people. Today there are infinite ways to reach your target market and brand across multiple mediums.
Branding, or brand awareness, is making your name known. Getting your name in front of as many eyes as possible with a message that they will remember if, and when, they need your services. Branding campaigns usually consist of billboards, T.V. commercials, newspapers and radio ads. Jingles and slogans are often used to make a memorable impression. Like direct marketing, the internet has given you the ability to show text, picture, video, and social media ads to a broad group of people based on search habits, geography, and other demographics. This direct branding is a combination of both marketing concepts, and allows you to spend your money more effectively. This is not to say that traditional direct marketing and branding medium are obsolete. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Now you can use your more traditional ad sources to drive traffic to you so that you can ensure your message is seen. Both the traditional and newer forms of advertising should complement each other to make the conversion from prospect to customer easier, faster and more cost effective.