Direct Response Marketing vs Branding: They’re NEVER meant to be separated!

After posting a strong brand thought—“Branding is NOT Marketing: I Think You Should Get That Straight”—on LinkedIn, September 11, 2016, I’ve received many interesting and diverse insights from some Branding, Marketing, and Design professionals that piqued my curiosity to research further into the subject aforementioned.

After several readings and rereadings on the subject, I have carefully selected and made a list of great insights on the, supposedly, battle or conflict between “Direct Response Marketing” and “Branding”.

I invite you to join us in gleaning useful insights into this discourse that will follow:


Understanding The Direct vs. Brand Marketing Conflict by Jason Falls

“The direct marketer looks at brand marketing and says, “We shouldn’t do that because it doesn’t convert as well.” But if the direct marketer looks at brand marketing as communications that creates an easier environment for him to convert – something that aides his efforts – then an organization becomes more efficient.
Think of the two types of brand communications like this:
• Direct-Response Marketing Helps People Buy
• Brand Marketing Helps People Choose”

The Worthless Battle Between Direct Response And Branding by Vic Drabicky

“But it was a good reminder that there are plenty of marketers out there that still separate the two, not realizing that when digital branding and DR campaigns are intertwined, strong results usually follow.”

On Branding Versus Direct Response Advertising by Gian Fulgoni

“It seems to me that we often have one group advocating the value of branding advertising, while another larger, and more vociferous one, claims that the secret to closing a sale is simply a matter of putting the right message in front of the right target audience at the right time.”

Direct Response Marketing vs. Branding by Neil Kokemuller, studioD

“Direct response advertising, or sales promotions, have a SHORT-TERM orientation. Branding is an objective of LONG-TERM advertising whereby a company tries to establish a distinct and impacting message about its brand's benefits.”

Never ending fight: branding vs. direct response marketing by Magda Kay

“I believe that both sides are wrong. If you keep pushing for sales (direct response) but you don’t build a strong brand behind it, sooner or later you will fail. Just like you will fail if you keep building a brand (branding) without securing revenue.”

Below are other interesting insights on the subject—Direct Response Marketing vs Branding— which I believe will help us start a useful conversation on whether a company should consider merging Direct Response Marketing with Branding OR rather continue to take a fierce stand on either side and trying to prove whose is wrong—and more importantly, trying hard to let everyone see which of the two methods of marketing communications actually does the conversion (and can be measured):

Ryan Deiss on the Merging of Direct Response and Branding

Direct Response vs. Brand Awareness: Can you do both? by Alan Reisberg

How Much Are Industries Spending on Direct Response vs. Branding?

Direct Response vs. Branding: Which is your campaign strategy?

Marketers See Shift in Search From Direct Response to Branding by Lauren Johnson


The question is, “Will you want to boost revenue, OR you will want to build a brand?” I will merge the former with the latter—they are NEVER meant to be separated.

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