#8 Direct Response Marketing vs Branding

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“People sort their mail over the trash can.”

That’s an old direct mail quote that direct response marketers have been saying for years.

And in this episode of TIM Talks, we’re going to talk about what direct response marketing is, and how it blows away branding.

This is crucial to understand in your music business building efforts.

So let’s do it.

That’s today on TIM Talks episode 8

I can’t wait to dive into the subject of podcasting with you guys. I geek out over that subject. You should definitely start a podcast.

In fact, I have a little video on how I use Soundcloud for my podcast. It’s not an exhaustive video at all on how to set up a podcast from start to finish, but I will be working on a training course for that at some point.

In the meantime, if you have a question about podcasting (or something along the lines of digital marketing), leave me a voicemail.

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Direct Response Marketing vs Branding

Alright guys let’s get into today’s episode.

We’re talking about Direct Response Marketing.

This is a very specific kind of marketing that I think is the best way for any small business or aspiring indie artist to grow their email list, their customer base, and their broader market awareness in general.

There are really only two kinds of marketing.

Branding Marketing

The first kind is the kind most people are aware of on a daily basis…..

It’s the type of marketing that we are bombarded with each and every day.

I call it “awareness marketing”.

In business school they just call this mass marketing or “branding”.

It’s what all the big boys do.

They spend millions of dollars on add campaigns that cycle through television, print, and online-digital marketing, putting their brand before as many people as possible.

They do this for years. It’s a longterm awareness campaign to get people thinking more about their brand, their products and their services.

They not only spend millions on the ad spots, but also a ton of cash goes to ad agencies to come up with the right image and the right message for whatever the campaign is.

But the end game for this kind of marketing is awareness and name recognition.

Getting in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

That’s the first kind of marketing.

The second kind of marketing is what we’re going to mainly focus on today, because it’s very different.


Direct Response Marketing

Direct Response Marketing (or DRM) is all about soliciting a response from the person reading the ad or watching a commercial in order to take immediate action.

In DRM, you have what is called a “Call to Action” or CTA for short.

Awareness marketing is all about being hopeful that someone – anyone – will go to iTunes and buy your music…

Direct response marketing is when you have a clear CTA that gets someone into your direct system of follow up.

In the last episode, we talked about email marketing and how that’s the best way to be thinking “direct-to-fan”, but using direct response methods is how to get someone on your list, and you continue using direct response techniques, adding value and ultimately getting someone to purchase from you.

Another way to compare the two marketing approaches is who is being talked about….

Remember W.I.I.F.T.?

Branding and mass awareness ads are usually all about YOU.

DRM ads make the customer the center of attention…

What’s in it for them?

A Tweet that simply says this….

“Hey my new album is out on iTunes! Here’s the link….”

….is just making people aware. It’s not a wrong thing to tweet out, but it won’t be as effective in the long run for scaling up your fan-base.

You’re just making people aware.

But a tweet that is targeted and says, “Hey worship leader: Click here to get my Sunday morning new-song bundle for FREE”….

This brings me to my next point about direct response marketing.

Direct Response Marketing Is Measurable.

Mass marketing isn’t measurable. Especially when you send people to something like iTunes. And don’t get me started on iTunes…. we have a lot of episodes in the future that will address how iTunes might be a bad idea for an indie artist.

But you can’t measure the effectiveness of the first tweet sending people to iTunes nearly as accurately as you could with a more direct response approach.

The reason is that you control the direct response approach a whole lot more. You’re not leaving it up to the person to figure out what they should do with your tweet.

In a direct response approach you determine what the action is, and you have a razor sharp way of tracking the actions taken.

Here’s an example:

I use LeadPages. They sponsor the show and I use them everyday. I talked about them in the last episode as well, but by using Leadpages I can build a landing page that is connected to the marketing campaign I may be running where there’s a very clear call to action.

On the backend of my LeadPages account I can see how many people are going to that landing page. This metric tells me how effective I am in getting people to the page.

With a direct response approach every single thing is connected in that campaign… The add…. and by the way when I say add you can also insert, tweet, or social media status update, or blog post, or any thing that is meant to get someone to take action right….

But everything is connected in that campaign from the add to the landing page to the follow up emails after that, to other offers that I may have. Basically it’s all optimized and designed to literally turn someone into a fan of what you’re doing.

With branding and mass marketing the way to really crush it there is to have A LOT OF MONEY for a LONG TIME.

These massive corporations have been running major add campaigns for years because they have the money to spend on the add volume.

This is why so many people, when they do advertising they don’t see a lot of results because they try to tack on to their campaign a mass marketing awareness approach. They’re competing with so many other brand awareness marketers out there who have deeper pockets than them.

More Finely Tuned Targeting

Direct response marketing is only meant for targeted people. So you can be much more confident when spending money on advertising because you’re targeting specific people directly.

Awareness marketing is just a billboard on an interstate. Everyone drives on the interstate, and so everyone might see your billboard add, but not everyone cares. Many in fact aren’t remotely interested. And they don’t even see the billboards.

Again you might be “getting your name out there” but it isn’t an effective strategy for growing your platform long term.

When you target a specific group of people and you know exactly what their pain points are, you can have very effective marketing that calls them to action. And always remember the best marketing puts them as the center of attention.

What’s in it for them?

Other defining differences between these two types of marketing is that direct response gives a specific offer, often times it is time-sensitive with some scarcity, and it always has some kind of follow up. Follow up for both those who took action and those who didn’t.

We’ll talk more about all the tips, tricks, and tactics for how to get good at this stuff, and even drive it home for someone like yourself who is an artist, because it tends to be a little trickier when it comes to art – but I strongly feel like this approach isn’t used enough by artists.

Partly because it feels more pushy, and more salesy…. I’m touching on that in the next few episodes by the way….

But for now, you need to know the language of marketers and the difference between these two types of marketing.

You’ll have a mix of both, but you’ll see the most tangible results (because you can track those results) from direct response marketing methods.

But don’t forget….. What’s in it for them?

Episode Action Items

  • Read this blog post over at SuccessWise on DRM
  • Here’s another one from the CrazyEgg blog (I didn’t mention this in the podcast)
  • Think through what you are selling
    • This doesn’t only mean a commercial transaction
    • We’re always selling something
  • What is in it for them?
    • List the benefits someone will get when they come across you, your message, your music, and your brand
  • listen to episode 7. I give you a quick start for getting your email list started today.

Next Episode

A big rant is coming your way with me on my soapbox. It’s all about “selling”.

Oh and Austin Kleon comes up again….

See you there!