Branding or Direct Response Media Buys: Which One’s Right for Your Brand?

There are many ways to advertise a product or service, but they all generally fall into one of two marketing strategies: branding or direct response. As media buyers, the goals of their campaign often determine which strategy gets utilized. It is certainly a large contributing factor in determining when and where to place advertising. Both can be effective approaches to product and service promotion, but which is the better fit for your company, product or brand?

Direct Response Media Buys

Direct response advertising is designed to get an immediate response from the audience seeing the advertising. This generally comes in the form of a call to the business after seeing a piece of direct mail or a TV ad, filling out and submitting a contact form online, and/or making a purchase right then. In direct response advertising the product is generally being sold from the company who makes it and not through a third-party retail environment like a store or mall.

One of the most common type of direct response TV advertising is infomercials, those long-form typically late-night ads. Other forms are direct mail, certain types of landing pages, email marketing campaigns, and radio ads. With programmatic media buys continuing to become the norm for digital media buys, direct response fares better. Basically because programmatic buys are tied to the search action of the user and ads can be generated accordingly.

For marketers it is a great way to track how well received your advertising is by consumers. By sending messages directly to consumers, you can directly see the impact of your advertising. It’s a great way to see what’s driving response and action among your customers. It allows advertisers to see what purchases can be attributed to a specific “call-to-action.” Particularly if it is a digital campaign, adjustments can be made accordingly.

Branding Media Buys

Unlike the direct response campaigns, the goal is not to sell the product…at least not at that moment. Branding advertising is more focused on keeping the brand top of mind to the consumer. Perhaps they aren’t looking to buy your product at that moment, but the goal is to remind them that your product is available, where and how they can find it when they do want to make a purchase.

Branding campaigns come in all shapes and sizes. The goal is to keep the brand memorable. Content marketing and more recently native ads, are general forms of branding campaigns. They are generally not attempting to sell the consumer anything, generally the goal is to provide thought leadership and brand awareness that will generate trust in the brand’s expertise in that industry or subject.

Branding campaigns can work for a few marketing situations. They are used by companies who are new and want to build awareness about their new product or brand. Established brands also utilize this method to promote brand extensions of current products. B2B and other industries where the sales process is a bit longer can also benefit from a branding campaign which spans over a longer time period and provides multiple opportunities to engage with or be seen by the customer.

Which is a Better fit for my Business?

First thing to consider is what are your business goals for the advertising? Are you using your media buy to inform consumers about a new product? Are you trying to get instant sales or your product? Or are you just generating leads? Are you an established player that leads your sector or are you a brand new entry to the field and looking to get attention?

The next consideration is what type of business or industry are you in? Is your product or service that people tend to purchase after a lot of research and consideration? Or is it an impulse buy? Are you in a large brand category with a lot of competition or is the product very niche? For products that require more research or are more niche, a branding campaign with multiple facets of content marketing, videos, and perhaps some lifecycle marketing could be a better option. For impulse purchases or categories with a lot of competition, out-of-home signage placed in a store aisle or endcaps work well.

The final consideration is cost. A branding campaign can take a lot longer to build steam, so it will likely require more media buys over a longer period of time. Direct response usually gets hit instantly and then it’s over. So you’ll see pretty quickly, how well your ad worked. If the initial campaigns weren’t effective you can often purchase more ads.

How can a Media Strategist Help?

Partnering with a professional media buying and planning firm, like Capitol Media Solutions, offers you a competitive advantage when planning your marketing strategy. We use our relationships and resources to create business plans that exceed your business goals and media buys that save you money while still giving you value.

For more information, call Capitol Media Solutions and let one our media strategists customize a branding or direct response campaign for you.

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