Manufacturers often ask the question, “which is most important to my company’s growth – brand awareness or lead generation?”
The answer, of course, is that both are necessary, and the proportional emphasis between these elements changes. As marketers, it’s our role to understand when and how to emphasize one strategy over the other to increase awareness and revenue generation.
First, ensure that your branding foundation is sound. Your brand’s foundation is made up of its brand strategy and brand identity – the building blocks of who and what your company and products/services are, and what they mean to the market. If you don’t know the strength of your brand foundation – or worse, if you have no idea what your brand is – you need to develop it immediately regardless of your current sales needs.
Some exercises you can take toward building your brand:
- Survey current customers and prospects to understand how your company and its products or services are perceived in the marketplace.
- Determine your brand’s identity – who/what are you? Its positioning – where do you fit in the marketplace? And, finally, your brand strategy – how do you bring value to your customers?
- Ensure all your content and messaging reflect your identity. Content and messaging – anything that communicates your brand – are the “active” components of your brand and the tactical elements you’ll be using for lead generation.
Here are some examples of when to emphasize branding efforts over lead generation:
- When your labor force can’t keep up with demand. Your brand is crucial to recruitment and retention and needs to be well-defined in order to attract new hires.
- When sales are strong.
- When competition lacks differentiation. Public relations (earned media) are excellent tools that help build brand awareness to set you apart from your competitors.
- When launching a new offering or exploring a new market.
However, building brand awareness, while extremely important, is not causal to increasing sales in and of itself. Rather, that’s where and when lead generation becomes imperative.
Using a golf analogy, think of marketers’ lead generation efforts akin to those of course pros and caddies. They advise you on distances, club choice, where and how to tee up the ball, best placements to avoid hazards, etc. Sinking the putt is converting the lead into a sale.
Lead generation often consists of:
- Advertising across multiple channels to drive web traffic.
- Targeted email and social media campaigns.
- Trade shows, live product/service training, webinars, and other event marketing.
- Loyalty and incentive programs.
- Special offers, downloadable white papers, and eBooks.
- Affiliated marketing – promotions through third parties such as distributors and wholesalers.
Examples of when to place emphasis on lead generation over brand building:
- When your labor force is poised to keep up with additional demand.
- When sales are flat.
- When competition is adequately differentiated.
When determining the relative emphasis of branding vs lead generation, the key is to be alert and nimble enough to know when and how to apply emphasis on one strategy or the other.
Studio/D has decades of experience in helping our clients establish solid brand awareness and creating and managing lead generation campaigns that drive sales. Let us know how we can help you.
Studio/D is a full-service marketing communications firm working with mid-market industrial and manufacturing clients, together with companies that support the manufacturing ecosystem. We’re a team of “makers” who simplify complex communication challenges with messaging that engages and drives results. Learn more about us at StudioD.agency, or call our president, Scott Dieckgraefe at 314-200-2630.