Brand Awareness vs Lead Generation: Have You Found the Balance?

By Wednesday March 27th, 2013

A successful and well-recognized brand is the result of many things that were done right over time. With the right balance of brand awareness and lead generation, the challenge of creating a well-recognized brand can be made much more attainable.

One of the first sales meetings I experienced at Brolik was with two individuals from a consumer goods company. The company had been in business for over 10 years and their growth was falling short of expectations. The meeting was focused on building brand awareness. As we spoke, one person was returning questions on every tactic that was suggested, while the other was fervently writing numbers and ROI calculations on paper. Close to the end of the meeting, the first man asked “Are you willing to drag us over the coals?” Because of the short term nature of his company’s marketing investments and their intense focus on maximizing ROI, creating a balance between brand awareness and lead generation was an extremely daunting task.

It’s All a Balancing Act
It is obvious that larger companies focus heavily on brand awareness initiatives. They require far too many sales to lean on lead generation tactics alone. So when should small or medium-sized businesses start focusing on brand awareness? The answer is yesterday. Unless you produce viral material on your first attempt, brand awareness is not something that can be achieved overnight. It should be balanced with lead generation initiatives for optimal growth over time. As stated from LeadFormix, “A successful and well-recognized brand name is the result of many things that were done right.” Many business owners will never take the leap of faith and start investing in brand awareness to develop the optimal balance. If you too will have to be dragged over coals to find the right balance for your company, settling on lead generation alone may be for you. But if you are hitting the wall and are not content with staying there, I urge you to read on.

Learn by Example
An overused example in the industry (but for good reason) is Dollar Shave Club. Dollar Shave Club came out swinging and ended up victorious. Their entertaining video went viral almost overnight. Dollar Shave Club could have easily followed a stand-alone lead generation model, growing the company one customer at a time, but that was not why they went into business.

The key point to take away from Dollar Shave Club is not the magnitude of their success, but the foundation that was used to achieve it. The company focused on developing entertaining content that sold the product, but they also had a lead generation model built in. With that said, companies that want to start adding in brand awareness to create the balance need to understand their customer. They need to produce content that connects with the customer in either an entertaining or an engaging way. If that is achieved, the customer will continue coming back to the brand, keeping it front of mind and properly positioned when the time is right to make a purchase.

Back to Dollar Shave Club. As I said, they didn’t go all in on brand awareness. They incentivized current customers to share the company by offering a free razor for every referral made. They calculated their customer lifetime value to be greater than the cost of one free razor, producing a profitable lead generation model. This combined with the brand awareness is how Dollar Shave Club achieved success and it’s the fuel that keeps the company growing today.

For optimal growth, companies need to use the right amounts of brand awareness and lead generation. There should not be two polar sides, but instead, a spectrum to find the right balance between the two. You may not hit a homerun with one piece of content like Dollar Shave Club, but I can guarantee a steady stream of unique, entertaining, and engaging content will successfully keep your customers interested in your brand. I can also guarantee that with the proper plan and an open mind, the experience of balancing your marketing initiatives will not be one that requires you to be dragged over the coals to accomplish.

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About the Author

Bryce is the Senior Marketing Strategist at Brolik, a digital marketing agency based in Philadelphia. Bryce uses his diverse background in marketing and finance to develop marketing campaigns that are both human and data driven. Bryce is also an avid home-brewer, and is working on building an Arduino into his kegerator as we speak.