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Marketing 360® Blog

The Value of Creating Brand Awareness (Even Though It’s Hard to Measure)

Last Friday, I had a really good cup of coffee (two, in fact). I got it in our parking lot for free.

Here’s how:

awareness marketing

Kicking Horse Coffee paid us a visit with their coffee truck. They’re on tour in the area, helping businesses “wake up and kick ass” as their tagline says.

In this short post, we want to give props to Kicking Horse for not only caffeinating us with gusto but also demonstrating an important marketing principle.

It’s pretty simple, really. Before they showed up on Friday morning, I didn’t know who they were, what their product was like, or how I could buy it.

Today, I know all of these things. And furthermore, I intend to buy their coffee the next chance I get.

To Be Aware and Care

Many business owners are unsure about awareness campaigns (in fact, they often don’t like them) for one reason: awareness is hard to measure.

At this point, the only transaction that’s happened for Kicking Horse is that they’ve given me free coffee. It’s a loss leader that is still just the loss.

And even when I buy their coffee, it won’t be possible to make a direct connection with the coffee truck awareness campaign. The best they’ll be able to do is track sales trends in time-frames connected to the campaign.

As digital marketing became mainstream, we trained ourselves to expect data on all our marketing efforts. Tools like Google Analytics became more robust and we dismissed old school marketing and its inability to directly track results.

This classic statement about marketing was met with scornful laughter:

I know half my marketing is working, I just don’t know which half.

Of course we could measure all our marketing! And if we couldn’t measure, we weren’t doing it.

But today digital marketers are re-examining how important brand awareness is, and moreover, how important brand affinity is.

As we said this is hard to measure directly, but there are marketing KPIs to watch. The big one we track on Marketing 360® is an increase in brand searches for both organic and paid search.

The lesson here is that just because you can’t measure a marketing tactic doesn’t mean it isn’t vital.

For Kicking Horse Coffee, their awareness campaign is taking place offline, which is effective because it allows us to sample their product. We salute them and their work to fuel their brand.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that before people can buy from you – or even care at all – they have to know you exist.

Create awareness with a plan to tie into affinity and trust. It’s top of funnel lead generation that can be tough to measure, but it’s the foundation for all the metrics you will track, including profitability.