I ran across a question on Reddit about the value of brand awareness. In the Reddit post, a marketing executive was tasked with trying to explain the value of brand awareness to a set of lead-hungry sales reps.
It might seem odd to have a successful marketing executive ask that question, but it’s not. I have found that a good marketing education (formal or on-the-job) will prepare you to find, understand and reach the company’s customers. What it almost always misses, however, is the idea that there are customers inside of the company and those are often some of the most important and misunderstood customers.
Those inside folks only want to do things that bring value to the company or to them personally. They don’t want to waste money or resources. To the untrained eye, marketing doesn’t do much other than print expensive fliers or build confusing overly complicated websites. Sales people sell things. Production people build the things that salespeople sell, and engineers design the things that production builds. It’s that simple. Right?
Well, no. Running a business is far from that simple, and good marketing makes an impact start to finish. It’s just an impact that is often difficult to directly see. The concept of a brand and brand awareness is one of the most esoteric components of marketing, further complicating this specific question. It is fundamental to running a business, but even more misunderstood than is marketing as a whole.
Inside marketing is really no different than outside marketing. You need to understand the needs of the “customer”, in what language they speak and how what you can deliver will fit with their need.
Brand is about credibility and trust
People buy from companies that they trust, have a personality that matches theirs and have a product that does what they need for a price they’re willing to pay. It’s a short cut that makes the selling process easier. If the lead knows and trusts the brand, the sale will be easier.
Say your friend needs new tires for their car. Your friend looks around and sees a dozen tire sellers in town and knows nothing about any of them. You tell your friend that you had a great customer service experience with a place called “Fast Tire Sales.” By telling that story, you have done half the job of selling those tires. You and your story is essentially brand awareness and a salesperson from Fast Tire Sales will have a much easier time selling tires to your friend because of that brand exposure. Easier sales equals more sales equals more commission.
Sales folks usually live on commission. Most will have a base salary that just gets them by and a commission that can sometimes result in them being in the top earning brackets of the company. They need an easier time selling in order to keep their job and have a chance at their lofty income goals. Your product to them, in this context, is brand awareness. Your product serves their need – brand awareness make selling easier.