Marketing and branding are two important aspects of business as they both help drive a company’s growth, but which one is more important? Before we can begin to address this question we must address the fact that most executives don’t fully appreciate the differences between marketing and branding. More often than not, they are viewed as one in the same. This misunderstanding is a fundamental problem that keeps businesses from maximizing their dollars spent towards marketing efforts. This article will help clearly lay out the differences between the two and help businesses understand what they should be focusing on.
Sales & Marketing | The Fundamental Differences
So, what are the fundamental differences between marketing and branding? Marketing is used to get your products in front of potential customers so that they can make purchases or cross a threshold where they become qualified leads for the sales team to engage with. Branding, on the other hand focuses more on what your company looks like to the world along with “planting a flag” in the headspace of your customer by ensuring your brand is recognizable to the customer and is associated with a set of emotions that people feel when they see or engage with your company. Branding is ultimately a matter of establishing a permanent identity within the mental landscape of your prospects. Essentially, marketing builds awareness and opportunities whereas branding builds recognition and emotional value in the mind of the customer.
Both marketing and branding are extremely important, but they achieve different objectives. Now that their purpose is clear the question is what should your business focus on?
Should Your Business Focus on Branding or Marketing?
In order to appropriately answer this question, you simply need to look at what stage your business is in. A few questions you can ask of yourself to help orient whether you should focus on marketing or branding are as follows…
1. Is your business one of the undisputed behemoths of your domain?
2. Is your business making $100M in annual reoccurring revenue?
3. Does your company have it’s own user group?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then your business is likely at point where branding can begin to take precedence. In other words, branding is a primary business objective that should best be reserved for companies that are already solidly established within their domain. However, this space is occupied by only a small fraction of businesses operating today, and unless you’re clearly in this category then it’s imperative to set marketing as your highest business priority.
If at this point, you’re somewhat unclear as to exactly why marketing should be prioritized over branding for most companies then let me make it clear by asking you a simple question. Which is most important to your business right now; being recognized or making money? Revenue and profitability are king, and if you don’t feel that’s the case then revisit the questions listed above. Most businesses of the small to medium variety must prioritize the expenditure of their resources towards investments that will generate returns in the form of revenue as it is this revenue that will fuel the growth your needs.
You may think you’re making an important purchase for your business by investing in a logo redesign or new promotional materials, but these kinds of investments are at best loosely correlated with revenue generation. If you’re not adding customers to your fold that are happy provide revenue branding efforts will prove entirely fruitless. Branding can help provide some degree of differentiation from competitors, which is critical at certain stages within the competitive landscape; however, there’s no point in being recognized as desirable when your audience does not know you exist. This is what marketing does for you. Marketing efforts put you in front of prospective customers and provides you a shot an winning their business, generating revenue, and creating a happy customer that will serve as a force multiplier in terms of convincing other prospects to cross the threshold of making a purchase to become another happy customer. This is especially true in the business-to-business space as prospects are going to need much more from you than a crisp look to trust you well enough to become a customer.
Marketing Gives You a Shot
Marketing is a matter of putting your products, services, and ultimately your value in front of prospective buyers. The logic as to why marketing for most businesses is quite simple and it flows as follows…
• The better you are at marketing your solutions the better you’ll be at creating more opportunities
• A deep war chest of revenue paired with several happy customers gives you what you need to grow and dominate your space.
• The more opportunities create increases your chances winning new customers and generating revenue
Once you are firmly entrenched in your space as a major player and revenue is not a problem, then you can start to focus more of your efforts on branding and appropriately reap the benefits based upon the associated benefits.
Marketing is the lifeblood of any company. It generates revenue and growth, but most companies focus too much on branding instead of marketing. Brands that are not marketed well cannot generate revenue or grow their business because they have no one to sell to! If you are worrying about your brand more than generating sales then it’s time for a change in strategy so start focusing on how you can drive legit sales opportunities via a range of digital marketing strategies like webinars, content that offers value to your prospects, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, email campaigns, social media ads etc. We’ll be here every step of the way helping you learn how to use these techniques to increase your online visibility and attract new customers who will buy from you again and again!