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Two types of marketing

Being able to see a real, tangible return on investment in marketing isn't always straightforward...


As Seth Godin puts it in This is Marketing:

“Brand marketing makes magic; direct marketing makes the phone ring”

When you want to get your message out it’s not always easy to identify the best way to spend your marketing budget. To make the most of your investment it’s important to understand the difference between brand and direct marketing and the benefits they can bring.

1. Brand marketing 

Take the slick Super Bowl ads for example, they are the magic. They aren’t going to make people immediately grab their phones and buy the beer, the burger, or the car. But when they are done right, they create moments, culture shifts and brand awareness with long-term stickiness. 

Impactful as it can be, brand marketing is tricky to measure. There’s often no real call to action, no sales funnel, and no way to see a direct correlation between ads and revenue. 

“If you’re buying brand marketing ads, be patient. Refuse to measure. Engage with the culture… be consistent and patient. If you can’t afford to be consistent and patient, don’t pay for brand marketing ads.” Godin

2. Direct marketing 

As the name suggests, direct marketing will always have an obvious action. It leads the audience to do something – often immediately. That’s not to say direct marketing can’t be clever or creative, but it is designed to drive an action that creates a specific result. 

“If you’re buying direct marketing ads, measure everything… Direct marketing is action marketing, and if you’re not able to measure it, it doesn’t count.” Godin

Most of your direct marketing will be digital, so measuring the clicks and assessing the conversions has never been easier.

A choice or a marriage? 

So which is the best? Brand or Direct marketing? Often the best strategy is a combination of both. Brand marketing is a longer-term investment, working hand in hand with PR and internal comms to communicate the essence of your brand. And in an increasingly purpose driven world, your customers and prospective members of your team will want to know what you stand for – and that’s where your brand marketing piece comes to the fore. 

But when you want to target specific segments, convert customers to sales and measure the success of campaigns, direct marketing has a big role to play, however, spending money on Direct Marketing has never been easier so ensuring ROI is crucial otherwise you’ll just burning through cash!

Crucial to the success – and the perceived success – of brand and direct marketing is understanding and managing expectations. The next time you’re developing a campaign keep in mind which type of marketing you’re creating. That way you’ll avoid the frustration of brand campaign ‘failure’ when you don’t see immediate returns and have the right analytics in place to measure the success of your direct marketing campaigns.