Awareness vs. Lead Generation - Where should I focus my efforts?

We see it all the time. Businesses make the decision to funnel marketing dollars toward media they believe will provide leads. This in theory will reduce waste and only focus dollars for which a direct flow of business is generated. Makes sense, right? In fact, this can be a big mistake. Every sale begins with awareness. Without awareness customers may not trust your brand enough to give it a try, or perhaps click it after a Google search. Or worse, they may not even know they need you!

While digital media itself may seem a one-stop solution with its ability to target and track consumers, print marketing still has an edge in certain areas. Print’s high level of consumer trust, increased reader recall and ability to create demand continues to make it a solid part of the marketing mix.  

Establishing trust is critical in the first step of a consumer’s journey to purchase. Recent, studies have proven that consumers do not consider digital media nearly as trustworthy as print. Many consumers still find digital marketing invasive or even downright creepy. Print ads in newspaper and magazines were the most trusted media by consumers when making a purchase decision.

The act of physically engaging with a print marketing item, like newspapers, magazines or direct mail, has been shown to increase customer recall. While email marketing is a highly-effective tool for keeping in touch with customers, research indicates that 98% of consumers sort through a printed piece for direct mail (compared to the 20% who, on average, open emails from brands).

Unlike digital media, which is fleeting in nature, print ads allow for a unique opportunity to go deeper and focus on how your product can solve reader problems. This creates interest, moving the reader beyond awareness to consider your product. Once your product is in the consideration stage, then is your opportunity to guide the consumer to a sale.  

In sum, effective marketing campaigns use a media mix. Print helps with awareness. It establishes trust, creates motivation and generates online searches. Then to close the deal, your website, landing pages, and email marketing help convert leads into sales. The “print is dead” mantra is a tired and uninformed concept. Print has stood the test of time as a powerful, adaptable, and effective medium.

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