Brand Awareness vs Sales


Marketing for brand awareness vs. marketing for lead generation

What activities are designed to build your brand as a primary objective, and which target leads? What’s the right balance to strike?

Brand awareness marketing strategies often naturally lead to increased sales and leads — trust is affirmed through a variety of different touchpoints.

It’s knowing the importance of building a brand that determines the success of both, and the ability to build long-term connections that foster repeat business.

What is brand awareness?

In the broadest sense, brand awareness (and marketing to that end) is focused on building positive perception towards, understanding of, and sentiment towards your brand.

These things are all conducive to growth as you build trust, loyalty and understanding around your offering.

It can be achieved through a variety of digital channels — social media, PR, SEO-led content creation and paid media — but is about qualitative results; a slow-burn built over time. Brand awareness does not focus on one specific metric for success. It’s a holistic style of marketing that can be monitored with comments, reviews, organic sessions and engagement with the brand, but ultimately it’s being seen in the right places.

It’s about how those opportunities spur your audiences to talk about you to others. You can track this by completed specialist brand awareness surveys.

Good brand awareness strategies require you to:

  • Be consistent in your output (obviously!)

  • Be clear (in your values and the value you add)

  • Create memorable work (to distinguish you from competitors)

  • Show understanding of your consumers and their challenges (we’ve written another blog on how to humanise your brand)

  • Meet your audiences where they are (focus on channels you know are being utilised by your target audiences)

The differences between brand awareness marketing and sales-driven marketing

So, when it comes to the differences between brand awareness and sales campaigns, one very much follows the other. Awareness comes first, and is to build and instil confidence.

Brand awareness marketing will drive interest, communicate values and offering and build a positive sentiment.

Sales marketing is usually shorter-term, campaign-based and focused on a specific objective — a launch, push of a specific product for a certain period or obtaining consumer data. As such, it usually follows brand building and awareness campaigns.

Although they are not tied to sales as an objective, brand awareness campaigns often have the knock on effect of driving sales eventually, but should not be measured on this.

When to choose brand awareness activity (and what channels to use)

A brand awareness campaign is perfectly suited to a number of scenarios:

  • You’re a new or startup business: when entering a market, this is your foundation — an opportunity to tell consumers why you’re there and what you can offer them.

  • Stand out from the crowd: if you’re in a crowded sector or market, then communicate your differentiators.

  • To grow your audiences: not with initial view to specific sales targets.

Digital marketing tactics typically associated with brand awareness marketing activity are PR, SEO-led content creation, YouTube advertising and organic social media. That isn’t to say that activity across paid social, paid search and email can’t be used to support brand awareness activity, of course.

When to choose a sales marketing activity (and what channels to use)

Sales marketing is usually focused on a specific end goal. Some of those typically include:

  • A product launch: welcome to the world, new product — time to make audiences aware!

  • Selling more of a specific product: possibly because of seasonality, limited edition runs or even surplus stock.

  • Collecting data to aid future campaigns: in a world of privacy and tracking restrictions, building your first and zero-party data is a key consideration for forward-thinking brands.

To ensure a quick, instant impact, paid activity across social media, Google Ads, Google Shopping and Amazon advertising are perfect. If you have a subscriber list to call upon, then email may also fit the bill.

Of course, don’t forget the fundamental role of ‘slower-burn’ channels in driving sales. A compelling brand, shareworthy activity across organic social media, PR placements in third-party publications and strong organic search rankings are the bedrock of future sales.

Oh, and excellent website content can also improve your Google Ads quality scores, improving the effectiveness of your paid activity.

Brand and sales-driving campaigns can work in silo, but sometimes concurrently. It is important to understand your aims and objectives and your audiences to select the right approach for you. Remember, that strong brand awareness will also contribute to sales, but it will not have the quick-win, short-term impact of specific sales activity.

Brand awareness and sales marketing: striking the right balance

In the past, we’ve discussed the 95/5 rule of marketing: 95% of potential buyers aren't ready to buy today, but will be at some point in the future.

Strictly sales-obsessed messaging can repel, whilst brand awareness activity nurtures an audience, establishes your authority and builds your community. This is so that when the customer is ready to convert, you’re the name at the front of their mind.

Consumers can tire quickly of messaging that’s too sales heavy. With this in mind, we’d always recommend ensuring a healthy portion of your marketing budget is dedicated towards activity that isn’t linked directly to driving short-term sales.

A 60/40 split in favour of brand awareness is often cited — but the exact figure is a source of hot debate and clearly dependent on context and where your business is at. In any case, having the majority of your marketing focused on sales is probably slightly myopic.

Looking to strike that brand awareness vs. sales sweet spot? Unsure about how to tailor your strategy to include the right approach? Drop us a line today.

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Post by

Team Amy K


Head of Brand & Content

Amy joined in 2014 to set up our Content department. She now heads up a growing Brand and Content team, utilising over 13 years’ experience to deliver brand awareness through targeted, multi-channel copy. As well as engaging content for websites and blogs, Amy delivers PR strategies and tone of voice exploration, helping clients to communicate the purpose and values of their brand with maximum impact.

Post by

Team Johnny


Content Strategist

Johnny has been working magic with words at Extreme since 2016, with a particular focus on SEO content strategies. Fancy taking your organic search visibility up a notch? He's your guy.

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