In the technology industry, very few companies have built successful brands yet time and time again they embark on these wildly expensive brand awareness campaigns. In many marketing plans, increasing brand awareness is the only objectives: we are running ads so people know us; we need to be at this show to be a serious player in this market; we need to have our logo here, or there, so people see us.
It seems that if there were only more money for brand awareness then all the problems would be solved. It’s true that brand awareness may make sense for some companies at certain times in specific industries, several B2c companies come to mind. But does it make sense for a company with long sales cycles? Does a start-up need brand awareness or does it need customers?
I would argue that for most companies, especially B2B or start-ups, that a brand awareness campaign alone will solve very little except to waste your limited resources and maybe stroke the ego of a founder or board member because the neighbor saw their ad in a publication on a plane.
That’s because brand awareness alone is rarely looked at as an integral part of your demand generation strategy. It’s clear that you won’t get any customers if they don’t know about you but equally true is that a prospect is not going to buy from you simply because they saw your logo at an event.
Before embarking on a brand awareness campaign, you need to ask yourself whether it is the best tactic to accomplish your objective, do you need brand awareness or something else, and how you will measure it? Most brand awareness campaigns are far from cheap and they are rarely measured so no one can judge them after the fact.
I would argue that most times the company needs more than brand awareness and needs to figure out how to convert this initial interest into more customers for their products. They need to look at brand awareness in the context of the overall marketing plan and more importantly as an integrated part of a demand generation campaign.
You should be asking questions like: Who is interested in the brand? Where will they get more info when they know you? Why should they care about your solution? What makes you different from your competition? How do you take them from awareness to being a customer? When should sales be brought into the process?
Creating awareness of your solutions is a great place to start but not the end game. Once the prospect finds you, then you need to capture info about that lead, nurture it until it’s sales ready and then help move the prospect through the funnel with compelling content and other tactics that clearly explains why you have the best solution for their problem.
Simply put brand awareness is one part of demand generation. A crucial part, yes; but one that won’t be successful unless it’s part of something more.