Direct Response Marketing vs Brand Advertising

Jaycen Thorgeirson
Founder & Chief Storyteller

When you think of marketing, what do you think of first? Perhaps logos, colors, messaging, etc. You may even think of brands that successfully do it, such as Apple, Tesla, Nike, to name a few. 

Much of marketing is branding - and branding is essential, but what do you do when you need a specific, immediate response from your target audience? Especially as it pertains to B2B marketers. Picking sea blue or cerulean is all well and good, but you're not going to get someone to pick up the phone based on the color of your logo.

If you need your prospects to take action, you need to be leveraging Direct Response Marketing. Both are important to a healthy marketing mix, but what's the difference? And how do you use Direct Response Marketing most effectively in B2B marketing?

B2B Direct Response Marketing vs Brand Advertising

Photos by Alex Motoc & McDonald's Corp.

Brand advertising, as we mentioned, is what many people think of when they think of marketing. 

Direct Response Marketing is more specific and actionable. While the McDonald's slogan makes you generally feel good about McDonald's (lovin' it), a piece of Direct Response Marketing prompts you take a specific action, like buying the Shamrock milkshake because you received a coupon in the mail.

Whether in B2C or B2B marketing, Direct Response Marketing can be a successful way of getting to the heart of the offer and ask. Let's learn a little more about what it is, and how companies have sussessfully used it in the past. 

B2B Direct Response Marketing

Photo by UviaUs

"Direct Response Marketing is a type of marketing designed to elicit an instant response by encouraging prospects to take a specific action." (Marketing Evolution

The goal of this kind of marketing is to trigger immediate action. Rather than build awareness or promote your brand's image, Direct Response Marketing usually generates opportunties immediately.

A key difference between direct response and brand advertising is direct response marketing should show immediate ROI. You can measure how successful it is based on what percentage of your recipients take the action you desire.

For instance, if you send one hundred prospects a high-impact dimensional direct mailer that encourages them to call and make an appointment, and 55 people call, you know you've had 55% success. From there, it's easy to calculate how much your direct response campaign has increased your pipeline or opportunities compared to what you've spent. 

Direct Response Marketing doesn't have to be a single mailer or email. Often, you'll find the most successful campaigns leverage a multi-channel approach, combining digital and real-world elements to engage and move your prospects to act. 

Brand Advertising

Photo by Andre Benz

Brand advertising is not designed to elicit a specific action as much as its about evoking a feeling. Brand advertising is all about building your companies image. 

This includes visual and linguistic elements that will represent and form the image of your company. Essentially, brand advertising is about sharing who you are, as a company, with anyone who interfaces with your brand. 

In brand advertising, you're not necessarily looking for a specific outcome at the moment. You're looking to build a reputation that will lead to trust and culminate in interest. 

Keep in mind that both brand advertising and direct response marketing are necessary for a healthy marketing mix. Brand advertising can help bring prospects to you and build trust in the long-term while employing a direct marketing response strategy can become the engine to fueling your company's growth right now.

To generate demand, many B2B, marketers are leveraging direct response tactics to add to their pipeline, influence opportunities to move to the next stage, or enable their sales team to be able to book meetings. 

How effective is Direct Response Marketing?

Photos by UviaUs

In our experience, direct response marketing is exceptionally effective. 

Here are a few of the results we've seen for our clients:

Don't Miss Part 2 How to Get a Direct Marketing Response from C-Level Executives

In the next part of our three-part series, we'll walk you through how to build a direct response marketing campaign that can instigate executive action at the highest levels of your target accounts organization. 

With direct response marketing, you can reach C-suite level decision-makers and get that meeting you need...if you build your campaign the right way.

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