In reviewing an article in BtoB Magazine, Tech Marketing Budgets Lower Than Expected, I came across this statistic that made me stop and think: “This year, 52% of all marketing program spending will be focused on awareness-building activities, while 48% will be focused on demand generation, according to IDC.”
The first thing I thought was, Shouldn’t all marketing be demand focused?
Awareness is necessary for demand generation, of course, but I’m failing to see the value in creating a distinction between the two. In my opinion, the term awareness is misused to mean company-focused advertising. With this mindset, I believe companies take steps away from more effective customer-centric approaches. This is when that “award winning, leading provider of…” garbage starts creeping back in.
As yourself what you want to accomplish with an awareness campaign?
If you only get as far as thinking instant recognition of your logo, company name and tagline as the end goals, you’re missing the boat. Awareness campaigns must go beyond that. Way beyond.
Awareness programs should:
- Help prospects and customers understand the value your company provides. It’s hard to do this with slick campaigns that make assertions without proof. Especially when dealing with a complex sale. Lofty slogans and promises just don’t cut the mustard without the meat to back them up.
- Showcase your company’s expertise. Buyers want partners that bring added value to the project, not just solutions. Awareness becomes much more when your company strives to become the “anchor” resource for needed expertise and guidance beyond the product offerings you sell.
- Promote conversations within companies and amongst peers and colleagues. This means shareable ideas that spread, giving your company a presence in the conversation even if you’re not physically present.
The result of all of this? Awareness that generates demand. One must lead to the other. In fact, you won’t generate demand without awareness, but you can create awareness without it resulting in demand. And who needs that? Buyers don’t care about your logo and tagline, they care about what’s in it for them.
Here’s the thing: If we’re marketing in a way that does the three things above, there is no separation between Awareness and Demand. They are essentially one and the same. And, in my opinion, they should be.
This is not to say that advertising can’t or shouldn’t be used, but rather that it needs to do more, and do it differently, than ads were positioned to do in the past. We need to think about advertising intelligently from a content marketing perspective.
Making awareness a goal is similar to saying that driving web traffic is a goal. Both are necessary, but they aren’t the end game. Those are silos that keep marketers from designing fluid, integrated and interactive programs that create a productive buyer experience. In order to accomplish this, we need to focus on the entire process of how all the parts work together, not one silo at a time.