Brand Marketing in a rapidly changing world
We live in a world full of noise. Endless jargon, keywords, and ad-driven competition for our attention can leave us feeling overwhelmed and looking for a trusted brand to guide us. When companies have strong brand awareness it signals that they have a consistent value system and can successfully shephard their clients through complex buying cycles.
Building a trusted, enduring brand is one of the most critical initiatives a company can do to ensure success.
Effectively balancing your B2B brand awareness with performance marketing
The last two years have been unprecedented in global change — behaviors and consumer preferences have shifted, in some cases permanently. There is increased pressure to provide the right information at the right time, to keep pace with the speed of experience that individuals demand when purchasing. A strong brand is key to providing your customers with a consistent experience while navigating a rapidly changing marketing landscape.
Understandably, there is pressure for B2B marketers to focus on driving demand and increasing pipeline velocity. Add the explosion of available marketing data and tools and it’s easy to see why short-term efficiency often drives marketing plans. However, the unintended consequence of underfunded brand awareness campaigns includes fewer conversions, slower time to close, smaller deal sizes, and greater CAC. We are pretty sure that’s *not* on the company road map.
Most of us can’t recall the hundreds of brand interactions we experience daily and yet, they influence every single purchase decision and the impression we have about a company. B2B brands that deliver experiences across the entire purchase journey instead of just the single conversion point yield significantly greater results. Leading B2B companies understand the power of a great brand, which is why they choose to invest heavily in brand awareness to hit their goals.
Brand-building is now at the top of a leading B2B CEO’s list for growth
Marketing leaders of enterprise companies can make the mistake of looking at brand marketing as a discipline that is more beneficial for consumer goods brands. However, Interbrand’s study of the top most valuable global brands, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft (the top three), generate more B2B revenues than sales to end consumers.
British researchers Les Binet and Peter Field have spent years studying how B2C marketing works and have determined best practices in balancing short and long-term marketing strategies. In 2019 Binet and Field were commissioned by LinkedIn to study the same issues in a B2B context.
Five principles of B2B growth:
- Invest in share of voice
- Balance the budget between brand building and activation
- Expand the customer base
- Maximize mental availability
- Harness the power of emotion
Their research is comprehensive and challenges conventional B2B norms. Most B2B marketers are currently doing the opposite of what Binet and Field recommend in their study. They show that brand building is a long-term strategy that pays off in years, not months. And, as their survey points out, only 4% of B2B marketers measure impact beyond six months so it’s challenging to prove out.
Proving the effectiveness of Brand Awareness
There’s no question there is skepticism about whether investments in brand-building campaigns are effective, so what tools can we use as we look to measure a brand’s success?
Google, our premier partner, can help you with that.*
B2B marketers can use Google’s Brand Development Index (BDI) to learn the percentage of Brand searches in a market relative to the population. And alongside BDI, marketers can leverage Google’s Category Development Index (CDI) to understand Product category searches in a market relative to population. Add their Market Share Index (MSI) data; marketers determine relative brand interest compared to category demand.
Using the above indices, data from brand searches and product searches will also help brands in the off-line world by providing:
- Market insights: mapping out strengths/weaknesses of a brand and its product category
- Media planning and strategy: guide investment decisions and solution strategy
- Market testing: identify areas of efficiency and growth
- Like B2C brands, B2B companies need to balance short-term and long-term strategies to build their brand awareness and fuel demand generation.
- Leveraging brand mission and using a consistent brand voice to communicate with customers through the buyer’s journey will foster customer connection and fuel action.
- Measuring the effectiveness of brand searches and product searches can help guide strategies to inform other marketing activities.
Experienced digital B2B marketing leaders need to be brand evangelists as well as great performance marketers, and they know how to effectively balance the two to fuel long-term company growth. They recognize that developing adequate B2B brand awareness captures a larger share of channel margins, drives demand gen, and increases pipeline velocity all while uniting company stakeholders. A company that doesn’t have consistent articulations of its brand and adequate brand awareness puts the entire company at risk of achieving its goals.
If you are curious how your company measures up against industry benchmarks for the recommended mix of brand awareness and demand gen investment hit us up, we’d love to provide you with a custom assessment.
*Stay tuned for additional Google research coming soon!