It can be a struggle for marketers to decide between focusing lead generation or brand awareness. And this can lead most organizations to treat the two strategies separately, when in fact, they could also be using them side by side.

Today we’ll run you through how lead generation and brand awareness differ, the right time to use each one, and how they can actually complement each other.

But first, in the battle between lead generation vs brand awareness, what’s the difference between the two?

What is brand awareness?

  • Used primarily to increase the size of your audience. You’re aiming to get your name known to as many people as possible
  • This can be through any form of broad advertising, social media campaigns, networking events and promotions
  • You don’t need to make sales, just get people to recognize your name and brand and get them to see you as a trusted player in the market
  • This then lays the groundwork to follow up with lead generation

What is lead generation?

  • This is the targeting of a customer base for a specific purpose
  • Your goal is to get people to specific landing pages, purchase a product or sign up to an email list
  • It’s easy to measure the success of your campaign using metrics

When should you use brand awareness?

Brand awareness is all about building trust with your audience. Try to think of brand awareness as the foundation of your brand, the shop window that draws people in. It can be particularly useful in the following situations:

  • Starting a new business – You’re an unknown quantity when you first start out, and the vast majority of your marketing budget should be spent on brand awareness if you are in a segment where lead generation straight away is not possible. Tell people your story and entice the customers in.
  • Differentiating yourself from competitors – If you’re in a crowded market, a solid brand awareness campaign might be just what you need to stand out. For example, if you’re one of 10 sporting goods stores in your area, tell people why you’re different. What makes you special? Why is your brand better than everyone else?
  • When you’re building trust – People are more likely to buy from companies they trust. Try offering content like blogs, videos and special offers to show how good your brand is

When should you use lead generation?

Once you’ve got a customer’s attention with brand awareness, now is the time to offer them something of value and make a sale, this is the heart of lead generation. All companies should be running regular lead generation campaigns, but are very useful in the following situations:

  • Building your email contact list – Email marketing is still one of the most popular (and valuable) forms of marketing, with one of the highest returns on investment. Every company should use lead generation to build a large and profitable list. Try advertising discounted offers in exchange for customers signing up to your mailing list
  • Getting referral sales – Using your existing customer base as a source of referrals is another excellent type of lead generation. This is especially effective for local businesses who can refer friends and family in your area
  • Companies that operate in a niche market – Lead generation is vital in niche markets, given the smaller customer base. You might want to consider lead generation techniques like adding newsletter sign-up options to your social media or using targeted Google ads

Why every company should use a combination of both

Remember, it doesn’t always have to be a case of lead generation vs brand awareness, and your best strategy is to combine the two for effective results. The important thing is to implement the right technique at the right time. Always think of it as a two stage process:

  • First, build a trustworthy reputation through a brand awareness campaign
  • Then, make good on your reputational claims by offering something specific of value though lead generation

Follow these two steps and you’ll start to see your advertising efforts paying off in no time!