January 17, 2023

Brand Marketing vs. Direct Marketing vs. Category Development

Brand Marketers and Direct Marketers both want to sell something.

  • The Brand Marketer wants to sell an aesthetic.
  • The Direct Marketer wants to sell merchandise.
Category Development aligns more with Direct Marketing than Brand Marketing. Oh sure, Category Development aligns with Brand Marketing (think about Duluth Trading Company commercials for an example), but the goal in Category Development is to teach the customer that a product must be purchased, thereby building the Category as if it were almost an independent business.

Here's an Instagram post from Macy's. Does this align with Brand Marketing, or with Direct Marketing?

They're selling an aesthetic.

It's hard to develop a Category via brand marketing. It is possible to develop a "brand" this way, of course. Not likely, but possible.

If you want to Develop a Category (say, Bedding within Home) you'll likely need a merchant who loves what s/he is selling, partnered with a marketer who cares deeply about exposing the category to existing customers and prospects. Paired together with a marketing budget and a plan, the two work together to Develop the Category via exposure which leads to customers who buy the product.

What you see above is not part of Category Development.

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