Global vs. Vertical vs. On-Demand Marketing
Global Marketing: Companies in this space spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually or more to become known worldwide. Brands in this category include Coke, Nike, The Olympics, etc. The litmus test for this category is that you know the bran even if you're not in the market to purchase its product.
Unless you have an unlimited marketing spend you won't even be able to consider playing on this field.
Vertical Marketing: The next category is for brands that are well known within their segment. Never heard of Gibson? You must not play guitar. Ask anyone who knows guitars and brands like Gibson and Fender will probably be at the top of their list.
This category requires millions of dollars in marketing budget or the ability to be really, really good at viral marketing. Once consumers become familiar with the vertical segment, they'll know your brand. In the real estate world companies like RE/MAX and Century 21 have done an excellent job of branding as vertically dominating brands.
On-Demand Marketing: Since brands like our real estate company have hundreds of thousands, not millions, of dollars to spend on marketing, we have to resort to being really good at on-demand marketing. Using Google AdWords is an excellent example of this approach: Consumers find your brand when they're searching for specific items or terms that you offer.
The best way to compete against the other two segments with on-demand marketing is to offer a clear, concise and immediate value proposition to consumers thinking of spending in the space you're in. You have to get past the "safe" play with demonstrable value that surpasses the other two categories. Blogs are a fantastic way to do this. By showcasing our expertise on our blog we're able to make connections with consumers and show them our value.
No matter what your approach is, just make sure you have the appropriate budget to apply to the marketing segment you're going to target, and if you have little or no marketing budget then really focus on the most efficient use of the funds you have. Doing Google search engine optimization and focused, targeted AdWords spends is probably your best bet.