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Why to Invest in Non-Branded Marketing

Developing a multi-faceted marketing strategy that considers the latest online buying trends and targets a variety of different buyers is crucial in business today. 63% of marketing teams say that their top challenge is generating traffic to their brand. That’s why when planning a marketing strategy, your goal should be to target many different channels as possible. This way, you can expand your reach and introduce new customers to your product or service. When it comes to marketing your brand, there’s two approaches that companies commonly take – branded and non-branded marketing. Let’s look into the difference between the two, and why investing i non-branded marketing is crucial to your team’s strategy.

What’s the Difference Between Branded & Non-Branded Marketing?

In marketing, there’s a debate about whether to allocate more money to branded or non-branded marketing. It’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks to investing in each, since they will contribute to your company in different ways. They each signal a different stage of the buyer’s process, which can help you better cater to the prospect’s needs. We’re here to help walk you through the difference between the two strategies.

Branded Marketing

Many businesses think that the best way to build their reputation is to directly showcase their brand’s name and what it offers. Branded marketing is leveraging your specific brand name to boost exposure and draw in buyer interest. A company may use a branded strategy that focuses on the company’s name, specific products or services, mission, reputation, reviews, and more. This strategy may be targeted at improving the brand’s reputation and instilling the brand name into the buyer’s memory.

Branded marketing can be useful for well-known brands to target interested customers. It can improve the brand’s reputation and instill the brand name into the buyer’s memory. For instance, a company might invest in a branded Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign that uses the brand name in the search term. This can be useful to catch buyers who already know about your brand in the middle of their buying process. Say an admin is looking to get an office coffee service with a Keurig coffee machine. So they search for the branded keyword “Keurig Commercial Coffee Maker”. Since this term is specific and includes the brand name that they intend to buy, the buyer will likely get the results they were looking for. Additionally, it indicates to the marketing team that this buyer has an intent to buy a Keurig machine. Once they find what they need, they’re likely to convert into a sale.

Non-Branded Marketing

Instead of focusing on the brand name and reputation, non-branded marketing leverages the buyer’s needs in a more general sense. A non-branded campaign usually involves a generalized reference to the product or service that the target buyer is looking for. It may also reference a common need, concern, or other emotion attached to that product or service. Either way, it does not directly reference any specific brand or a brand’s product or service. 

For instance, say the same admin is looking for an office coffee service. But they aren’t yet sure which brand they want to buy from. They might use a search engine to look for something generic like  “Office Coffee Service” or “What is the best commercial coffee machine?” The buyer here is likely looking to receive many results, so they can browse and compare options. To the marketing team, this indicates that the buyer is at a higher stage in the sales funnel. This means they have intent to buy, but have not yet made up their mind about which company to choose. It also means that their mind can be changed easily! 

This is why non-branded strategies are effective for companies that want to attract new customers. Because they utilize common needs, they can connect to a wider audience. By doing this, not only are they getting their brand name out there, but they’re also opening up the possibility for more people to become customers.

Why Invest in Non-Branded Marketing?

There are arguments in favor of investing in both branded and non-branded terms. Marketing professionals that favor investing in branded terms focus on the idea that they lead to more low-funnel traffic and higher conversion rates. This opinion does make sense, since branded searches require the buyer to already have brand awareness. In other words, since they’re using specific branded phrases in their search, they’ve heard of the brand. Therefore, there’s a higher likelihood they will buy.

However, branded marketing may not be the best choice for brands that want to connect with prospects who haven’t yet heard of them. These days, there are millions of brands for buyers to choose from. In fact, brands that are well-known enough to use their brand name effectively in their marketing strategy make up a very small piece of the pie. If the prospect hasn’t heard of the brand, the name itself is unlikely to sway them.

That’s why most companies need non-branded marketing to succeed. They need to target the entire funnel (all levels of intent) in order to get their brand name out there. By utilizing common, universal needs, a company is able to connect to a larger audience, allowing new customers to discover the brand and what it has to offer.

Here are the top reasons why non-branded search is a crucial part of a brand’s marketing strategy:

Brand Recognition

Unless your brand is widely recognized, you likely won’t generate the amount of customers you want through branded marketing. Consider that 89% of marketers say that their top goal is promoting brand awareness and reaching new customers. Using a non-branded search strategy can make your brand visible to millions of buyers who otherwise probably would not have heard of you, simply by offering what they need. Also consider that after seeing a brand 5-7 times, a person tends to remember it. Make non-branded search part of your routine marketing strategy, and you can start really growing your brand!

More Traffic

Along with increased brand recognition is more traffic to your brand. Non-branded marketing tends to reach a higher volume of prospects compared to branded marketing. This is partly because 70% of people looking to buy a product or service haven’t yet made up their mind when they begin their search! 

For instance, consider a person who is looking to buy a desk for their office. Do you think it’s more or less likely that they know exactly which brand they want to buy before starting the process? Would they be more likely to search for “office desk” or “ikea office desk” when beginning to buy? Take a look at the statistics on the right, which show that “office desk” brings in a lot more traffic compared to “ikea office desk” on Google.

These results show that using a non-branded marketing will lead to higher traffic. When turning to a search engine to find a product or service, a majority want to use the search engine’s listings to compare and contrast, and then decide. With that being said, you need a non-branding marketing campaign in order to capture a majority of your target prospects. Even though non-branded terms tend to bring in higher funnel prospects in the short-term, you will bring in a lot more traffic across the board. Logically, this will lead to more sales opportunities, increased brand awareness, and higher R.O.I. in the long-term. 

Increased Customer Base

With a larger audience reach and more traffic is going to come a larger customer base. Even if non-branded marketing tends to bring lower conversion rates than branded marketing – which isn’t always the case – experts still say that a typical conversion rate for a non-branded marketing campaign is just over 4%. If you launch marketing campaigns through channels that are likely to reach a high volume of prospects, chances are you will win a significant amount of new customers. For instance, say one of your paid search campaigns targets a non-branded keyword with 10,000 searches per month. That campaign, at the average conversion rate of 4%, will result in about 400 new customers

The takeaway: when executed efficiently, using non-branded campaigns will increase the rate of growth of your customer base. In turn, this should create more loyal customers with a strong lifetime value (LTV), increasing your company’s success over time. In fact, according to Accenture, non-branded campaigns lead to a 66% increase in average LTV.

Stay Competitive in your Industry

Keep in mind that because they are efficient in bringing in new customers, most marketing teams use non-branded strategies. Chances are, your competition is using non-branded campaigns in the same channels as you. If you avoid non-branded strategy in your marketing budget, you’re missing out opportunity to win over new customers. At the same time, you’re essentially giving those customers away to your competition! 

Yes, when you launch a non-branded campaign, your company may be competing with others who have live campaigns in the same channel. However, the reality of the online marketplace is that buyers have many choices. Unfortunately, you will never be your target prospect’s only choice. But what you can do to stay competitive is focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO) to win over your prospects. For instance, optimize a dynamic landing page that will effectively appeal to your audience. Consider the buyer’s motive or need that your marketing campaign is leveraging. Then design your web page to speak the language of that need. Additionally, try to make it easy on them to complete a purchase on your site. There are many strategies to win over new customers this way!

How to Invest in Non-Branded Marketing

We’ve mentioned that it’s important to launch non-branded campaigns in a variety of channels, in order to reach the largest audience possible. When marketing teams plan where they want to invest their budget dollars, they normally map out two avenues – digital and traditional marketing channels.


A majority of companies today rely on a digital marketing strategy to reach their target audience. Consider that at least 70% of all B2B sales and 80% of all B2C sales now happen online. When planning to launch a non-branded campaign, your goal is likely to target a large audience in a channel where your product or service will be relevant. Therefore, think about where your target prospects will spend their time online, as well as where they might be likely to start the buying process. There’s several channels where your non-branded campaign can be successful:

Paid Search

Paid search (PPC) is one of the most widely used marketing channels to invest in. Almost 90% of people today use a search engine to look for a product or service they want to buy. Plus, when doing so, 64.6% of people click on Google ads. Want to be sure your brand gets seen by people actively looking to buy? Launch a non-branded search marketing campaign.

To invest, your marketing team will “bid” on certain keywords that describe your offered product or service. Then, your brand will appear as one of the first results when that keyword is entered into the search bar by a buyer. This will drive traffic to your site. It’s important to invest in keywords that have a high volume of searches per month. That way, you can maximize the incoming traffic and see a higher ROI.

Content Marketing and SEO

Often before prospective buyers make a purchase, they want to do some research. They may use a search engine to look up important information they need to make a smart purchase. Content marketing is effective in helping prospects through the buying process by providing them with informational and educational pieces. You can use an effective non-branded content marketing strategy by creating blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers, buyer’s guides, case studies, checklists, and more. Your content will also utilize non-branded keywords. That way, when prospects research that topic, they can easily find you via Google or other search engines. But instead of paying for your content to rank (paid search), you’ll utilize SEO strategy to compete for a higher ranking. Although content marketing’s success usually takes longer than paid search (it takes longer for Google to “rank” your content), it’s a long-term non-branded marketing solution!

Email Marketing

Investing in an email marketing campaign is a go-to choice for marketing teams. Billions of people check their emails on an everyday basis, around the clock. According to Forbes, 78% of senior-level, decision-making executives use their mobile devices and emails to look for B2B products and services. If you can target non-branded themes and phrases that speak to your target audience’s pain points, you have a great chance of getting their attention through your email campaigns. According to Oberlo, non-branded email marketing brings marketing teams a great ROI – an average of $42 for every $1 spent.

Social Media

Engaging with your target audience on social media is a great way to find new customers and introduce them to your brand. Billions of social media users a day turn to platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to network with other people in an honest way. Additionally, about 90% or more people follow at least one brand’s social media page, and 53% of consumers say they’re likely to buy from brands that are transparent on social media. Utilize non-branded messages on your brand’s social media page to attract consumer attention. You’ll be able to spread the word about your brand’s offerings quickly.


Even though buying and marketing are largely moving online, don’t overlook the effectiveness of traditional marketing! Because digital marketing is so prevalent today, many people using the Internet avoid it purposely because they find it distracting or they expect to be marketed to. Traditional marketing is making a comeback. It can catch people off-guard, or when they’re more willing to have a conversation about your company. Here are some of the most worthwhile traditional marketing channels to launch your next non-branded campaign:

Direct mail

It turns out that direct mail is returning as a popular channel for non-branded marketing campaigns. 79% of households are still opening and reading mail regularly. A particularly well-crafted non-branded print asset may be just how to catch the attention of your audience. In fact, 39% of customers say they try a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising. 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing. These statistics prove direct mail is still an effective way to earn new customers.

Event marketing

It’s true – people still respond to face-to-face interactions better than digital interactions. The world of marketing is increasingly getting faceless and impersonal. So, attending live events where you can network with your target audience and speak about their pain points in person is an invaluable opportunity. Even today, 95% of marketers believe in-person events to be a more rewarding marketing opportunity compared to online marketing. Additionally, conversion rates from live events can reach 70% when utilizing non-branded strategies efficiently.

Looking for an affordable way to kickstart an efficient non-branded marketing campaign? 360Connect helps businesses by investing heavily in non-branded PPC and SEO search marketing. Then. we direct true intent buyers – while they’re actively looking to buy – to your product or service. To find out more about how we help with your marketing efforts, connect with us on our supplier page!

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