Marketing is a very broad term and includes a lot of different activities and channels, like advertising, PR, Social Media engagements, SEO, SEM, etc. These activities achieve two objectives for any company – Brand awareness and/or Lead generation.
Since, achieving both these objectives entail similar set of activities, disappointment is often inevitable when a certain marketing activity does not yield desired results.
A major reason for this could be the failure to understand what results to expect from each activity. For results to match expectations – they should first fulfill their core objective.
If you want to do away with this disparity in expectations and results – You should define the end objective of your marketing plan, at the start of your marketing activities.
This will help not only in adopting different methodologies when engaging the various channels but also in measuring the success and ROI for your marketing campaigns
It is important because, if your objective is Lead Generation, you must realize that a small piece of information about your solution in a very industry specific publication is going to get you more relevant leads than a mention in one of the top publications with a more generic readership profile.
The reason is simple – the source of information people trust varies to match their different needs.
It would be good to note that all brand awareness activities may not result in lead generation, but all lead generation activities do result in some brand awareness.
If you are a start-up or a company with limited marketing budget – it would help to set your priorities – is it to keep your sales funnel full or is it to just create some positive buzz around your brand and its offerings.
Creating brand awareness is more like story telling – you should use the various channels at your disposal to tell your brand’s story – which is about – its birth, its growth, its offerings, its achievements. You are speaking to the whole world and the story helps you build recall value and trust in your brand.
All those CEO profiles and participation in industry stories may not bring in real customers at the end of the day, but they do contribute to the overall persona of your company. They help in making an impression, even though the actual results might follow at a later date and are often hard to measure.
On the other hand when your objective is lead generation – the focus should be on talking about the specific problem in the market for which you offer solutions; on sharing customer experiences; statistics to support your claims and content that showcases your expertise. It is worth a try to reach out and engage with individuals who are facing these problems and are looking for a workable solution on forums they frequent. The communication should be very specific, and geared towards answering the queries of the searcher or a prospective lead.
Focus should be on sharing case studies and whitepapers with trade publications and websites, participating in very targeted industry events, hosting webinars in your area of expertise etc. These concentrated activities targeted at your core audience will be effective in perking the interest of solution seekers, resulting in relevant lead generation.
Setting the rules
Start-ups and companies which are just initiating their marketing plans should realize that building brand awareness or brand recall is a long term goal, it is a long and slow process – never in the history of the world was a brand built in a day. A successful and well-recognized brand name is the result of many things that were done right.
Gaining customer confidence through quality solutions, superior brand-customer relationships, innovation and strong leadership in addition to some deft marketing can be termed as the major factors behind the success of a brand. Even if any one of these elements goes missing – creating brand awareness can become a tedious and futile process.
The major factor that contributes to successful Lead generation, is a good marketing plan that not only works towards bringing in the relevant leads, but also on nurturing those leads in a very personalized manner, till they are sale – ready. Just getting people interested in your offerings in not good enough until you help them through the decision making process. So lead generation – minus lead nurturing cannot be considered effective.
Understanding – What works for the Company
When creating brand awareness what should dictate the selection of channels and mediums you use for promotions is the reach of the channel being used. The wider the reach the better it works.
When engaging channels for Lead Generation, you have to try and find out what works best for your company? Which marketing channels bring in more relevant leads and prospects to your sales funnel? Since the number of good leads is something you can measure, prioritizing your channels becomes both easy and important.
Having a well defined roadmap at the outset always helps in defining and measuring success. Knowing the real objective behind your marketing investment will ensure – you make the most of both – your resources and your marketing campaigns.
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