27 November 2023
Most companies are in a race to the bottom and this piece of marketing wisdom will help you change that.
“Marketing,” “branding,” and “digital” are buzzwords we hear a lot these days, but most companies are missing the plot entirely. Here is some “back to the essence” advice for a world drowning in ad noise.
You can’t measure brand, but you can measure direct marketing ads. And you as a marketer or a company should be measuring direct marketing advertising. Direct marketing is “measured” marketing; if you can measure it you are most likely talking about direct marketing. Direct marketing allows you to make changes based on feedback – you can adjust it from day to day or week to week or month to month depending on whether direct marketing is fulfilling its goals.
Think of brand marketing as the Cheetos or the Airbnb logo. You cannot test the Airbnb logo every day as you can with direct marketing because it’s part of their brand story. A brand is a what and how you tell the story of who you are. It is also why a lot of marketers prefer brand marketing. Because you cannot test it, they can get away with bad brand marketing for a long time. And it’s also the reason why brand marketing has not evolved much.
Measuring the Impact
Companies like Google and Facebook get all their ad revenue from direct marketing – from relying on the clicks, impressions, and reach that they meticulously measure. And they measure everything because, for instance, they can sell the clicks for 10 cents. If the clicks work, then they can sell the clicks to their competitors and tell them they can buy the clicks for 12 cents. This auction drives up the price and that is where Google and Facebook make billions of dollars. And even though the advertisers still make less money than Google and Facebook, they still pay for it because it’s better than zero. Therefore, what we see is that the world has switched to direct marketing in a big way because the metrics of brand marketing aren’t appropriate.
What does that mean? If you are an individual who is counting Instagram followers and YouTube views, you are engaging in direct marketing. And if you follow the algorithm, it’s unhelpful because you are optimizing yourself to be like everyone else – and yet that’s what gets the clicks. Clever brands like Airbnb and Nike are in a race to the top. They will use direct marketing when they should and then use brand marketing for the rest of the time.
In a broader sense, brand marketing is aimed at making our culture better. It might and should have an element of direct marketing to it, but mostly it’s a brand marketing exercise. And companies that are built around that idea have a better chance of doing brand marketing that resonates with people and touches them at a deeper level that goes beyond clicks, impressions, and finding the best price on those pairs of shoes.
Here is another way of thinking about brands: if Tesla came up with a phone, they would have to do very little direct marketing to hit their revenue targets. And that’s because most of us are sold on the idea of the brand called Tesla. Now imagine if you were blindfolded and taken to the inside of one of Marriott, Sheraton, or Hyatt: would you be able to tell which one you are in? Our guess is no. Because there is not enough brand promise of “what we stand for” and “what can you expect from us every single time” in the brand beyond their logos.
As a company – whether you are a startup or a somewhat established enterprise, there is always a lot of wisdom in thinking about your brand and your promise. We at Prezlab strive to help companies achieve that with our branding services and presentation design services across the GCC.