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The Journey to Better Marketing (Part 3) — Creating Experience

This is the third installment of a five-part series on the notes I made while reading This is Marketing by Seth Godin. This is Marketing provides a holistic view of the purpose and function of marketing with insights into how it can be leveraged to do great work in a changing world.

After reading the book, I grouped my notes into sections and expanded on the points so I could better understand the ideas and have a reference to use in the future. I share them with you in hopes they get you as excited about Marketing and Brand Development as I am, and maybe introduce a new idea or two that helps you down the road.

Creating Experience

Brand Marketing

Brand Marketing is focused on putting out messages that interact and engage with the culture at large, in an attempt to establish or reinforce an idea in hopes that over time it will become a part of the culture itself. These types of marketing initiatives could be something like a giant billboard of a person running through a city street with a massive Nike logo in the center. The idea is not to sell a specific product, or get someone to take immediate action, but to establish and reinforce the idea that Nike is running, and running is a thing that people do, even in big, busy cities.

The results of this type of campaign cannot be measured in an uptick in sales over the weeks or months to follow, but if done long enough and consistent enough can change the culture over the long haul. Over time running would be seen as a normal thing to do for people living in the city, and runners who live in the city use Nike products - ultimately driving Nike sales to grow.

Due to the fact that these types of campaigns take a long time to be effective, it’s suggested that if you can’t run a brand marketing campaign with consistency and patience, then don’t do it at all.

Direct Marketing

An example of this would be an ad on a website or app that you would pay to have displayed to someone. If the person noticed the ad, read it, and clicked on it, it would then take them to a page where an offer was made, and they would be driven to take some sort of action (sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, etc…). With these types of marketing campaigns you are able to measure every aspect of the process. You can see how many people saw the ad, how many clicked it, how many went to your page, and how many converted on the offer you made.

Since you are spending money to show your ad to people and tracking how they interact with it, you are able to assign dollar values for getting a person to each step of the process. This is why it is important to set up proper tracking for the entire campaign before you begin. You should also assign values for each step of the process a person will take in your marketing campaign, otherwise it will be much more difficult to determine the effectiveness of your campaign and when it is profitable.

Simple Guide to Brand Marketing

Was the feeling they had when they saw your billboard similar to the feeling they got when they first walked into your store? Did your employees greet them in a manner that continued that experience? You cannot measure the immediate return this will have on your business, but it is important, and it will influence how they think and feel about your brand over time.

Some people think that because you cannot directly measure the result of brand marketing, that they shouldn’t spend money on it — but the truth is, they are already spending money on it. They’re already spending money on the design on their packaging, the design of their stores, websites, and the processes used to train their staff. The question is, why not spend a little more money and do all of those things with intention, to create a consistent brand experience that people can connect with.

The more consistent and reinforcing these experiences are, the more familiar they will feel, and familiar is normal, and normal is trusted — the goal of every brand.

Simple Guide to Online Direct Marketing

The general process that a direct marketing campaign would go through is as follows:

  1. A person sees an ad
  2. A person clicks on the ad
  3. A sale is made to the person
  4. The person then makes more sales in the future, or grows the brand via word of mouth

Another process to generate a sale through direct marketing (which takes longer to measure the result) is as follows:

  1. A person sees an ad
  2. A person clicks on the ad
  3. You earn permission to engage with the person
  4. You educate the person about something over time
  5. A sale is made to the person

Either way, you will have measurable analytics on how many people made it to each step of the process, and what it costs to get a person to each step. If you have created a good campaign, then you’d make more money when people run through the process than you spent to get people into the process.


Even then, you can find that it just isn’t as profitable as you imagined it would be, or there isn’t a large enough audience to really scale your marketing campaign. Add on top of that the fact that ads are the most ignored advertising medium means that ad based direct marketing campaigns are not a silver bullet to your marketing problems.

Ads are unearned media — you’ve paid to be in front of someone, and people know this when they see your ad. This is why direct marketing and brand marketing should be done together, or at the very least, make sure brand marketing is not ignored. Brand marketing is the slower, more deliberate process of creating experiences that affect people in a way that makes them like you over time. As Seth says “Brand marketing makes magic — direct marketing makes the phone ring”.

Principal & Creative Director of Co-Founder of Houseable. I help businesses create and grow their Brand with Technology, Marketing, and Design

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