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Are you sure brand awareness isn't a goal? Really?

Brand awareness may not be a goal; here's what is.A reader asks, “You once said brand awareness is not a goal. But doesn’t marketing have value on its own?” Marketing absolutely has value to a business. But its value must always be measured in terms of what it contributes to the business as a whole. Of course it matters. The reason I say brand awareness is not a goal is because most people haven’t defined it in terms of their business. That doesn’t mean you don’t want people to know about your brand. But it does mean you’ve got to determine what that’s worth to you. For instance, when you say “brand awareness,” do you really mean:

  • Press mentions?
  • If you had to buy media online or in those same publications, what would it cost you? That’s clearly measurable economic value.

  • Web traffic? Again, measuring the value of your visitors isn’t hard. We’ve looked at one way to measure marketing online before (Part 2 is here).
  • More repeat business? If you’ve got the ability to do any data mining, you can track this easily (either track it on the web or correlate increased repeats to marketing spend). Failing that, surveying your customers can tell you lots.
  • Perceived value? OK, a little more nebulous, but not impossible to quantify. If you look at “change in net promoter score,” that’s likely a strong proxy for “perceived value.”

The point is, if it’s important to your business, you can measure it, somehow, some way. Brand awareness – or for that matter, “buzz,” “attention,” and so on – is important to you because you grasp, intuitively, that your business benefits. Well, why do you think that’s so? Something – press mentions, web traffic, increased customer recommendations, something – told you it mattered. So, don’t worry so much about measuring nebulous terms like “awareness.” Instead, measure the thing that tells you why it matters.


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Image credit: Logan Cyrus via Flickr using Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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