Marketing executives spend millions building their company's brand in the marketplace. But, are they spending it in the right place?

According to a recent Booz Allen Hamilton study, 85% of brand loyalty is created at the point of sales contact and after; only 15% is generated by up-front promotions and the quality of the product itself.

That means a brand marketer's greatest (and perhaps most overlooked) asset in creating brand equity and impact is the frontline sales person. But if you ask 100 CMOs for a peek at their brand-building budgets, you'd probably see expenditures allocated completely opposite to what the study suggests really drives brand purchase decisions.

Brand marketers continue to pump big bucks into 30,000-foot ad campaigns while doing next to nothing to deliver relevant, brand-supporting messages at the all-important 3.5-foot level—the distance between a company's sales voice and a prospect's purchase decision.

So, what gives?

The answer probably lies somewhere between (1) the unwillingness of major branding firms and brand managers to go further “downstream” with their strategic recommendations and (2) the lack of useful tools to get them there.

Welcome to No Brand's Land

Increasingly, a company's branding success depends less on what they sell, and more on how they sell it. In a highly competitive market, with near parity products and barely discernible branding campaigns, sales channel effectiveness is the new key to branding success.

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image of Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer is chief strategy and marketing officer of Corporate Visions Inc. He is the co-author of Customer Message Management and Conversations that Win The Complex Sale,

LinkedIn: Tim Riesterer