Branding vs. Direct Response Marketing

When talking about Marketing, you might have heard the terms ‘branding’ and ‘direct response’ thrown around. So what do these terms mean? What’s the difference between the two? And which one should you be using in your marketing strategy?

In a nutshell, branding is the kind of marketing that lets people know your brand exists, while direct response is where people see your ad and go straight through to make a purchase or become a lead. While both types of marketing have a completely different short term goal in mind, these two little guys are in fact two peas in a pod. There’s a common misconception that you should focus on one or the other, but a good marketing strategy really needs to include both.

Direct Response

When most people start marketing their brand or product, often their first port of call is what we call ‘direct response’ marketing. They want to watch and see exactly which marketing efforts lead to which sales. Direct response marketing are things like Google AdWords search campaigns and Facebook Ad campaigns. You use these techniques to push specific people towards your product in the hopes that they will become a customer. You can see which things are working and which things aren’t and put your money where it matters. So makes sense that this is a key focus right? I mean, you use marketing to make sales, that’s the whole point. But what some people don’t realise, is that branding actually makes direct response work better.


Branding as a marketing strategy is more about recognition. It’s starts with the little things like consistency in colour and text, and is achieved through other outlets such as social media or influencer marketing. It can be difficult to justify spending money on this kind of marketing because it’s not always trackable and it’s harder to tell the exact impact that it has on sales. Leaving branding techniques out of your marketing strategy means missing out on huge opportunities.  Branding is such an important part of your marketing strategy because marketing is not always going to be black and white, it’s also about brand recognition and forming relationships with customers. It’s working in the background so that when a person does see your ad or walk through your door they say ‘this must be the place’.

Even though you might be able to see through your analytics that you get more sales through Google AdWords than you do from your social media posts, most of the time the reason a customer feels comfortable purchasing after seeing an ad is because they have already seen the brand pop up elsewhere. A good marketing strategy will include both direct response and brand marketing. The two forms compliment each other to maximise your leads and sales.

Need to add some branding or direct response to your strategy? Elle Social offers both kinds of services, find out more about what we offer here.

Elle. X

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