Most of you are familiar in some manner with the latest ‘big thing’ to explode in the world of business and commerce… digital marketing/social media, online networks, and the list goes on.
So, with all the fanfare these new digital tools have garnered, the question to be asked is:
Does this new world of B2B and consumer/vendor interaction leave any room for the tried and true foundations of marketing we read about in university?
In fact, digital marketing is almost entirely old-school marketing… but with a new delivery matrices.
And, at the top of that ‘old school’ list is brand marketing.
In difference to many new-age digital gurus who have failed to venture outside the realm they grew up in, brand marketing is becoming increasingly more important to companies.
Yes, I subscribe to the position that perhaps your most revealing marketing indicators are those that focus on sales and marketing metrics such as sales funnel, opportunity funnel and conversion rates… but don’t allow the measurement and analytics concentration persuade you to think that brand marketing isn’t required as well if your sales activities are to be effective.
In a past corporate position where I was responsible for global marketing and communications for an aerospace company, I had this very argument with the C-suite; with some VPs even stating that brand marketing was not required AT ALL!
They argument was that if we purchased a few more sparsely placed advertisements in trade publications, and if our sales team handed out even more swag to potential customers (cheap promo pieces like pens and ball caps) we would achieve newly established (aka HIGHER) sales goals!
Only after not backing up one single inch did I persuade them to allow me the opportunity to prove my case. And can you guess who was right!
HINT: not them.
Certainly, as a revenue-generating business (that had better be your goal!) you require solid metrics sales data, however, without a strong brand you’re less likely to achieve your sales goals.
And here’s the not-so-obvious tie-in…
The reality is brand/brand visibility/brand awareness/brand equity are more important than ever because in an evolving business marketing world that now includes personal and lifestyle brands; and with customer contact and access possible via more mediums than at any time in human history; BRAND DIFFERENTIATION and EQUITY (reputation / perception) have never been more significant!
Those companies that ignore this fact will ultimately succumb to their competitors who have worked this angle to the Nth degree.
Here’s the bitter reality.
The days whereby a company’s marketing initiatives were as simple as developing a standard advertisement and an accompanying brochure, and supporting these tools by handing out a few $0.89 pens to customers are DEAD!! (I question whether they ever lived at all)
Today, even small start-up businesses must get in the marketing game if they are so succeed; especially when competing against larger, more established companies that are taking their marketing seriously.
And, this is where digital marketing does makes a difference. Digital marketing allows you to burrow even deeper into your segmentation in an effective and affordable manner… to reach even more people in more ways.
Due to the extent of this reach and the potential impact on perceived product or service differentiation and equity; brand marketing has never been more relevant!
Today and moving forward, to be successful in business you must think in terms of digital branding that reflects the essence of your company in a convincing, transparent and informative manner.
Blogs, newsletters, mobile optimized websites, your social media activities and other marketing tools and tactics are now critical for all businesses; large and small alike… and across markets you would have never considered only five years ago.
And yet, even with all these new tools at your disposal, the core of your focus must be in developing and supporting a solid brand that allows you to first establish yourself in the competitive market place; and then enables you to grow your business over the longer-term.
The business and marketing landscape has changed for good.
Adapt, or take an afternoon off to visit a natural history museum and cozy up next to a dinosaur skeleton… ‘cause you’ll be next to disappear!!