If you cut through all the noise in the marketing world, there are really just two main approaches to marketing your biz.
The “Goodyear Blimp” approach.
And the “Army of Blimp Drones” approach.
The Goodyear blimp approach goes something like this…
Goodyear proudly flies their blimp up above stadiums jammed with sports fans there to watch the game. What Goodyear is banking on is that, at some point down the road (pun only somewhat intended), when someone in that stadium or who watched the game on TV needs new tires, they think of Goodyear. Think fondly of Goodyear. And, ultimately, buy Goodyear tires.
This is branding. Plain and simple. And what many think of when they think about marketing.
But there’s another approach. With this approach, you don’t have a single blimp. Instead you have an army of blimp drones. And these blimp drones are programmed to fly over driveways/parking lots/roadsides where folks are dealing with a flat tire.
As the owner is trying to figure out what to do, the drone slowly descends (so it doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of anyone!) down by the owner. Then it drops a coupon for a new set of tires along with directions to the local tire shop in the car owner’s hands.
Think about those two approaches. Think about which one do you think would result in more business. And in business more quickly.
Most people I run this scenario by want to sign up for the blimp drone army every day o’ the week and twice on Sunday.
(If I could develop that technology, I’d be living on my own private island in no time!)
However, too many small businesses take the Goodyear blimp approach (aka branding/image advertising) to marketing. They get sold a bill o’ goods by the “cool” agency… ya know, the agency where they bring their dogs to work, have a foosball table and wear funky glasses.
The agency that will gladly charge you an arm and a leg to come up with something cutsey, creative and/or funny marketing concept for your biz.
Sure, it might you laugh. It might give you warm fuzzies inside. And it might even give you a nice ego boost when you see your company’s name plastered all over billboards, newspapers, social media or wherever.
But will it make you money?
Well, that’s the question the agencies don’t want to answer. Cuz, truth is, they can’t answer that question.
Compare that to your drone army approach (aka direct response marketing).
Direct response marketing is much more efficient and is actually measurable! So you can actually tell if it’s profitable or not.
Listen, my goal here is not to say branding is a dumb idea and doesn’t have its place.
But what I am saying is that direct response addresses 3 cold, hard realities of marketing a small business…
1. You don’t have deep pockets and can’t be spending millions just to simply “get your name out there.”
2. Your marketing needs to be treated as an investment and you need a way to measure whether or not you’re getting a return on that investment, and…
3. You’d rather get new clients sooner rather than later.
Direct response delivers on all 3.
Branding is 0 for 3.
Hey, if you wanna build your brand, go for it! It’s a great long term strategy that can pay very nice dividends for you years and decades down the road.
However, while you’re waiting for that to kick in, don’t treat direct response marketing like an ugly step child.
Because it’s direct response marketing that’s gonna pay the bills while you’re waiting for your “pretty” child to hit pay dirt.