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On Marketing: Why top-of-mind awareness still matters

by Josh Gordon Published: October 5, 2016 12:16 PM

With so many highly measurable digital marketing tools and fancy mobile marketing programs and data-based marketing models, it's pretty easy to forget about the old standby marketing methods.

For example, when was the last time you considered the value of top-of-mind-awareness in your marketing?

Top-of-mind awareness is a simple brand measure that determines how quickly a brand or product comes to the mind of a customer.

Examples of top-of-mind awareness are everywhere. It's just your logo in a digital display ad, or a :15 second read on the radio, or that print ad in the magazine your audience reads, or that live read before the weather on the nightly news. It's also that monthly press release you write and send.

Whether you are focused on your target audience -- or the press that reaches them with their publication(s) -- it's important to be on the tip of your customer's mind when they are thinking about making a purchase.

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Here's some data that supports the lasting value of top-of-mind awareness advertising from a survey about an industry that excels at the practice -- insurance:

There is a significant data-correlation between brands with a lot of market share and brands that spend on top-of-mind awareness. So, top-of-mind awareness equals market share. Science proved it.

Having a human face in top-of-mind awareness ads improves brand recall for consumers 177 percent.

Cross-channel advertising efforts yield better awareness results, with digital ad efforts having nine times the impact of TV efforts.

Can you guess which company has the most brand recognition in the insurance world? (Check out Full Spectrum's Facebook page for the answer.)

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Here's another example of why top-of-mind is smart, this time from history.

During World War II many brands converted their production over to manufacturing items for the war effort. Jeep made army vehicles, for example, instead of domestic vehicles for American consumers. But they never stopped advertising that they make vehicles. They sponsored radio programs, newsreels, ran ads in magazines and newspapers, etc.

When the war ended, consumers knew the importance of Jeep and rewarded the ad efforts (and Jeep's patriotic manufacturing) with sales and a lasting awareness.

Of course, the inconvenient truth of a top-of-mind approach is that it takes an investment to be good at it.

Effective top-of-mind requires a healthy media investment, or a modest media investment and a healthy up front research investment.

It's one or the other.

If you have the budget, invest in as much media as possible - internet, radio, newspapers, magazines, TV, social media, etc. Be present and impactful in as many communications channels as possible. Make sure you have a consistent look and feel to your ads, and a disciplined approach about refreshing creative without losing identity.

In my opinion, this takes a lot of investment and coordination. Though it is effective, there is a better way.

Invest first in finding where your audience is. If you know what your target audience reads, listens to, subscribes to, browses on the internet, etc. then you can focus your spend and have less waste in your budget.

Start with a survey of your target audience to discover their media habits. Or purchase research to find them. Then build a media plan based on the survey results. Knowing your audience may not limit your investment (how much you spend is always up to you), but it will eliminate waste in your spend to make sure each impression is worth the money.

It's simple. Top-of-mind ads and content marketing efforts are ways to enhance your direct marketing efforts - the strong-calls to-action that impact sales.

Are you happy with the awareness your business has?

Josh Gordon is an award-winning marketing communications professional and president of Full Spectrum Marketing, a full-service advertising agency with digital roots based in Kent, Ohio, and Wooster, Ohio. You can reach Josh at jgordon@fullspectrummarketing.com.


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