We all remember crunching fractions in high school algebra class. If you’re a professional marketer you were likely hiding under a desk waiting for English or Art class to begin. There is one common algebra concept that we can all apply to advertising – the least common denominator (LCD). Advertisers are always looking for ways to tie metrics to their ad campaign. Before we can build in metrics, we have to set goals. And goals often break down into a couple of least common denominators. These two very broad categories are: brand awareness & lead generation. These two categories can work together, but can also butt heads. It is important to know the difference between these two advertising approaches, how they work together, and how to utilize both in a proper brand marketing strategy.
Brand awareness in simple terms is how familiar consumers are with the distinguishing qualities or images of a brand. The benefits of using this approach include, but are not limited to, visibility and demand for your brand. The drawback is that brand awareness can be particularly difficult to measure. While it creates visibility and demand, it also lays the groundwork for lead generation. Though brand awareness does not clearly link to new customers, it is a huge part of the process that gains them. Without proper brand awareness, a lead generation’s success could be very limited.
Lead generation is exactly what it sounds like. It is an action or process that turns people into potential customers of your business. The benefit of using this approach is, that it identifies who your prospects are, both quickly & measurably. A common drawback is the person that landed on your website is often looking for an answer to the problem they are still trying to identify. They are not yet in the stage of the buyers’ journey to seek a solution to their problem because it has yet to be identified. Also, while lead generation identifies your prospects rapidly and measurably, it can be unsuccessful without adequate brand awareness.
Doesn’t that sound nice? Sure it does. Well, what we mean here is you should consider if your brand has enough visibility to reasonably invest in lead generation activity. If your efforts are not attracting enough new business, it is wise to shift your focus to generate more awareness and to build up your “trust factor” and credibility. Some examples of this include:
Once you build up enough traffic, you can consider shifting your focus to a lead generation marketing strategy. Successful lead generation often starts with great content. If you provide answers to common questions, and useful data that cannot be found elsewhere, customers are more likely to submit contact information in return for more details.
Both lead generation and brand awareness are critical in driving a business forward. One without the other just doesn’t work. A person may not buy something if they just see the product on TV, it is best accompanied by other interactions, along with more details. On the other hand, a person may not buy a product by strictly its appearance and price (brand oriented features). So, knowing the brand value (awareness) + providing a solution (lead gen) will help persuade a decision more quickly.
Overall, lead generation and brand awareness work better together than they do on their own. If you take advantage of knowing how they affect each other, you can develop a strong marketing strategy.
To make the most effective marketing strategy, it is also important to understand that brand and lead gen strategies are unique. So, while they work best together, their intent and game plan is not unified. It is vital to make sure that there is sufficient budget to excel at both. Trying to combine marketing activities is not a “clever shortcut” rather it is a major marketing 101 no-no¹.
So, how do you get the most out of your marketing budget while taking advantage of the best strategies available for lead generation and brand awareness? Well, here are some best practices:
To sum up, it is important to understand that both lead generation and brand awareness are needed to drive a business forward. Brand awareness strategies distinguish a clear message and image, while lead generation reinforces that and provides a solution to an audience that can result in a new business opportunity. The proper combination of both in advertising will lead to better results in any campaign. However, to execute a campaign properly you must evaluate these least common denominators of marketing.