It’s a common question that marketers ask themselves around the water cooler, at planning meetings, and at numerous watering holes after work. Branding vs. sales in content marketing – which angle should win the day?
We say both. Content marketing is a cost-efficient way for enterprises to brand new lines of business and also to generate sales. Depending on your company’s needs and lifecycle, as well as where your prospects are on their buyer’s journeys, content planning should include a healthy balance of each.
What’s important is for your content teams to bring branding, sales, and marketing together to develop a content marketing strategy that delivers a consistent message across all your communication channels. Otherwise, as the branding experts at Slangbusters point out, “the friction between the three either results in a creative conflict or a never-ending blame game.”
When to Prioritize Branding in your Content
It goes without saying that startup companies need to use content marketing to build brand awareness. It’s an essential ingredient in getting a foothold on your target market. But what about established brands?
There are several situations when a major, well-known brand needs to prioritize brand awareness in content production. That’s not to say it’s a good idea to neglect sales-oriented pieces entirely. However, the balance needs to tilt toward branding several times in its lifecycle.
Building awareness of new products
Let’s say that your company is in the candy-making business. You want to introduce a new line – we’ll use the example of a new chocolate bar.
Content collaboration with your product development and branding teams is a must to produce content that differentiates it from your other products and its competitors. Email campaigns, videos, social media posts, and other content that builds awareness of its unique, craveable qualities can do just that.
And, you’ll need to associate it with the quality your established brand stands for.
Create brand stories that remind customers of their past positive experiences with your products. When you combine them with packaging and other design assets that bring that point home, it will recreate the magic that brought success to your company’s previous products.
Introducing mergers and acquisitions
Although mergers and acquisitions usually expand a company’s reach and revenue, it’s also a bit of a “pins and needles” time for investors and customers alike. With the right content, your marketing team can successfully merge the two cultures, rebuilding trust in skeptics and building awareness in new markets. Such is the case with Truist Bank, whose merging entities, BB&T and Sun Bank, created content that did just that.
Blending the two cultures of the merging companies goes more smoothly when your content teams get involved. Not only should you create customer- and investor-facing content, but it pays to keep your employees in the loop with team-building content that makes everyone feel at home with your new brand.
Keeping your brand at the forefront of your target customers’ minds
You’d think that Coca-Cola – with its worldwide popularity — has better things to do with its marketing budget than branding. But it still produces a ton of brand-forward content. Why?
If its past taught it one thing, it was that brand loyalty is but one debacle away from massive customer loss. Its 1980s debacle, replacing its original formula with “New Coke,” angered loyal customers. Although it corrected that misstep soon thereafter, the damage was done.
So today, the company mixes its cheery, sales-oriented ads with content that reaches out into completely new markets with its brand message. As a result, it continues to increase its reach into its ever-expanding global markets.
Taking your brand in a new direction
Whether your executive board has chosen a new path or wants to rebrand your company with a complete makeover, content marketing can help give your brand a new voice. Using audience data, including any new segments you are trying to reach with your rebrand, create content that will introduce – or re-introduce – your audience segments to your revamped brand.
Branding and Sales Content Work in Concert to Boost Your ROI
But here’s one of the areas where branding content intersects with sales marketing content. Once you dig into your social media and content analytics to find what makes your new audience segments tick, you’ll also need to publish content that explains how your products and services can meet their needs or solve their problems.
As Neil Patel points out, branding and sales content work together to build your business. If you think about it, that only makes sense.
As your branding content builds trust, your target audiences will start to notice your more sales-oriented content. When your sales content targets their needs and pain points, they’ll realize the benefits of doing business with you.
So, as with branding content, there are times when you need to prioritize sales content.
When to Prioritize Sales in Your Content
Reaching bottom-of-the-funnel prospects
When your content measurement numbers indicate that your prospects are engaging more with your content, you know they are probably close to a decision. This is a good time to send them more sales-oriented content, such as:
- White papers that demonstrate how your product solves a common problem your target segment faces. Even though this highly detailed content requires more research than blog posts, it’s well worth the effort.
- Videos that show your product in action, meeting your audience members’ needs or desires. Whether it’s a video that shows your product saving a business time and money or showing a thirsty person gulping down a tasty soft drink, videos are powerful tools to drive sales. Statistics show that 66 percent of consumers prefer watching a video about a product over reading about it. Additionally, 84 percent of people indicate that it was a video that enticed them to buy a product or service. They’re powerful motivators and incredibly effective, with 80 percent of marketers reporting that videos have made a positive impact on their sales.
- Purchase confirmation emails with suggested products and their descriptions are incredible motivators. Who could resist buying a product that is the perfect accessory for their recent purchase?
- Abandoned cart emails also drive sales with the powerful emotional driver, fear of missing out (FOMO). When prospects see what they’re missing out on by not buying a product that they have seriously considered, they’re more likely to return and buy it.
Motivating business decision-makers with account-based marketing
Here’s another situation where tearing down your departmental silos comes in handy. When you partner with your sales and customer service teams, you hear the kinds of objections and questions business decision-makers raise.
Combine that information with the data you have on your prospect’s key executives, and you can come up with content that’s custom-tailored to each person’s specific interests.
The Real Winner of the Sales vs. Branding Debate
Winning the sales vs. branding debate in content marketing depends on choosing the most effective content for each place along the customer journey. A comprehensive content marketing platform can help you see where your prospects are, plan content that will reach them at all levels, and then distribute it on the channels where they are.
DivvyHQ can do all that – and much more. Make life simpler for yourself and your teams. Give it a try FREE for 14 days.