“Marketing” is a term that we use to describe just about every activity we do to promote a product or service. In fact, most people today conflate advertising, marketing, public relations and branding. This is chiefly why marketing departments are frequently tasked with all four!
Let me take a moment to differentiate between these four practices…
Marketing is the promotion or selling of products and services, advertising is about calling attention to your products or services, public relations is about creating or maintaining a favorable public image and branding is about creating your evidence of distinction in the market so you can build a long-term relationship with your target audience.
Centuries ago, Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters…not much different than banner ads in the year 2013 except now our sales messages and wall posters are digital!
Advertising has lost its effectiveness.
Why? Because society as a whole is overrun with advertising messages. So how can you possibly expect these messages to maintain their historical effectiveness when people now do everything to avoid them?
Marketers scramble to come up with the “perfect” most enticing headlines and graphics in desperate attempts to make themselves stand out.
For example, take banner ads. Did you know the click through rate hovers around .004%? Bruce Duckworth, a designer who has worked with everything from Coca-Cola to Metallica, states in an interview: “Branding is an experience, and advertising is a temptation.” Banner ads can only offer a gentle reminder, a nudge, to busy consumers: “The top reason people don’t click banner advertisements is because they do not wish to be taken away from their current online activity.”
HOW DO YOU “PUNCH THROUGH” THE MARKETING NOISE?
The goal of mortgage company marketing right now must be to develop advertising and marketing campaigns that are brand driven. To be sure we’re on the same page, let’s define what I mean by a brand. A brand is a claim of distinction, supported by the evidence of performance. Clearly, I mean this at a much deeper level than your name, tagline, color schemes, etc.
To cut through the clutter and stand out this year and beyond requires defining what distinguishes you in your market and then developing it so that it courses through the veins of your company…think Starbucks, Nike, WalMart, Trader Joes…all sell very common commoditized items, but we are driven to each of them for different reasons…because of what the stand for in our minds. The experience of getting coffee at Starbucks is a bit different than grabbing a cup at the gas station, right?
Having a well-developed brand, a claim of distinction, and building your marketing, advertising and public relations strategies around it is immensely important these days for sustainable success. A well-developed brand gives your campaigns the fuel they need as consumers are faced with millions of ads for millions of products every year with competitive companies communicating the same things. It doesn’t matter if you’re a retail lender or if you’re an industry facing technology company or other service provider…if you’re running a brilliant ad campaign that is not founded upon a really well-developed brand, your only hope is continually increasing your budget in your attempt to compete with those of your competitors that are making a lasting impression with your audience.
Advertising and marketing can remind a consumer of a product, but a brand is what makes it memorable. Great brands are built from within…they’re like a corporate fingerprint. What I mean by this is that most companies try to differentiate themselves by conducting market research and competitive research to determine what the market wants and then they internalize it and develop market-directed core competencies. This is the fatal flaw of traditional brand development because your competitors are doing the same thing which means you all have similar messages just stated in different ways…making the same claims of supposed distinction.
A strong brand is what enables advertising, marketing and public relations to work their best. A great advertising or marketing campaign can serve the immediate need of driving higher origination volumes and sales of other industry related products and services, but reinforcing this with a well-developed brand will transform your company over the long haul.