Short answer? A good business needs both. Long answer? It depends.
Marketing professionals in large organizations talk about conversion optimization, buyer journey, aligned content, trigger campaigns, marketing automation, and all the elements that come with a fully developed marketing team of 20.
For everyone else, it can quickly get overwhelming. It’s best to start with basic marketing strategies and goals. Why spend money on marketing if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve? Marketing strategies boil down into two areas, brand awareness and lead generation, each with its own approach, objectives, and purpose.
Brand Awareness nurtures long-term relationships
Who are you — and do your customers know that? If asked to name 10 companies in your industry with excellent customer service, would they put your company on the list? If so, then you already have brand awareness in your marketing toolbox.
You can build brand awareness with tactics such as targeted display marketing, radio, acquisition email, and social media that consistently put your name in front of the right customers, allowing you to seep into their consciousness.
For example, a homeowner might not need a plumber, but may hear radio spots and see display ads for plumbers every day. When that person wakes up on a Saturday morning to find the basement full of water, there’s a good chance his first call will be to the 24/7 plumber with high BBB ratings whose ads surround him daily.
Brand awareness isn’t about instant gratification. Rather, it’s about gaining those impressions so when the need arises, your potential customers become your current – and ongoing — customers.
Lead Generation sparks immediate action
Lead generation is numbers-driven — actual customers gained, funnel management leading to sales, cost per acquisition, and just about any other metric you can name.
Lead Gen (as the cool kids call it) is all about taking action now — making the phones ring or getting coupons redeemed. It leverages tactics such as search engine marketing, search engine optimization, live chat, and website development to make resources immediately available when potential customers are ready to buy. When they are actively looking for vendors to solve to problems like “best plumbers in Atlanta” or “divorce attorney in Denver,” you’ll turn up high in their online searches, and when they’re researching the problem, they may go to your website to check out your solution.
When you break down your plan into these two sections, you are at the start of something exciting.