Why Brands and Direct Response Advertisers Should Work Together

By aiwpadminJuly 11, 2016

By Michael Foster.

Marketing is traditionally about two things: branding and selling. For most marketers, the two should never meet—you get people in the funnel with branding, and you get people to the bottom of the funnel with direct response advertising. There’s nothing to be learned from either side.

This divide creates some animosity in the marketing community between the creatives and the sales-driven analytics people. The two sides don’t understand each other, mistrust each other and sometimes even have contempt for each other.

It shouldn’t be this way because this attitude is hurting the client’s bottom line. Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners, has long been warning advertisers that they need to make all facets of their marketing campaigns work together, using techniques from both sides in tandem to ensure campaigns have maximum effectiveness.

"Most DR people operate in a vacuum,” Ash says, noting that sometimes direct response campaigns can be scattershot and inefficient. "They are willing to throw a wide range of ideas against the wall to see what sticks."

Instead of this technique, Ash believes DR advertisers need to understand the branding message of their client because they can leverage that to boost sales. "It is critical to understand what subconscious motivations the brand ​activates for prospects (adventure, excitement, autonomy, discipline, security, enjoyment). The messaging of DR should amplify this pre-existing positioning that the brand ‘owns’ inside of someone's head,” he says.

But brand-siders can’t feel smug, Ash warns, because they make mistakes, too. "Brand-side people are focused on their latest campaign look-and-feel. If there are expensive assets produced (like photography or video), brand advocates will insist that these be slavishly recycled across all channels, including online,” he says.

But this doesn’t work anymore because branding is evolving. "Branding is really user experience (UX). In other words, it is the sum-total of our experience with a company or its services and products. This includes tangible physical items, packaging, in-store experiences, phone interactions, speaking to our friends and of course online touch-points like the web, email and mobile apps. ​The key is that all of these should reinforce the same brand perception,” he says.

At this year’s LeadsCon, Tim Ash will discuss how the false dichotomy between brands and DRs keeps all kinds of marketers back—and what marketers can do to avoid this trap.

Click here to register for LeadsCon New York 2016.

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