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Do you still need to measure brand awareness?

As a marketer, I am a late bloomer. I spent most of my career in technology, not doing any marketing at all until 20 years into my career, in 1998. Now I spend all of my time on marketing technology, so I have experience only in digital marketing–not with any traditional marketing tactics and techniques. One question pops up over and over again is: “what about brand awareness?”

I understand why brand awareness has always been measured in traditional advertising. The only way to tell if most TV ads are working is to survey your market to find out what they know about your brand. If your brand is Coca Cola, then the way you use digital is to generate brand awareness, just as you do with TV. No one buys a Coke online. You don’t need to find a dealer.

But most companies aren’t Coke. Most companies sell online or start their sales online, with people taking several steps to a purchase. Trust me, if someone buys your product, at some point they became dimly aware of you. It’s just that online metrics aren’t tuned around awareness–you’d have to survey people just like everywhere else. To me, the two metrics you really care about are impressions and conversions.

Those metrics cover the two things that you can do in marketing. You can get more people to see your message. Or you can persuade more of those that see it to buy from you. It’s not always easy to measure impressions or conversions, but it’s not easy to measure brand awareness, either. We try to measure what is important.

If brand awareness is important to your brand, keep measuring it, but it isn’t more important to most companies than impressions and conversions.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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