Lead gen versus brand-building is a familiar balancing act for many B2B marketers. Fighting for limited budgets and keeping internal stakeholders happy typically forces marketers to fund programs that drive the most efficient short-term ROI. This often leaves brand-building efforts on the cutting room floor. In fact, in a recent study of B2B marketing leaders over 50% of respondents say they are “reasonably confident” that they will fulfill their brand-building objectives. Despite the brand being firmly placed on the boardroom agenda, brand-building investments average “between 5-20%” of annual marketing budgets.
However, lack of funding for brand efforts keeps marketers on a hamster wheel of driving short-term ROI and meeting KPI’s at the bottom of the funnel. Not to mention continuing a cycle of reactionary problem-solving as opposed to proactive goal-setting. Because of this, brand health suffers and long-term growth is hindered.
It is time to change this narrative. Marketers need to stop thinking about lead gen and brand building as adversaries and start strategically building programs that maximize the symbiotic relationship between brand support and filling a leads pipeline.
"Brand to demand" is an audience-focused, full-funnel approach to B2B marketing. It's more than an integrated program, it's the idea that brand awareness leads to demand generation in the long run. It focuses on programs with long-term KPIs and metrics that ladder into a broader business strategy. Therefore, creating more effective touchpoints at all stops along the buyer's journey.
A customer’s image of your brand and decision on whether to buy your products accumulates in their mind over time. That image can be built by dozens of interactions with both brand and demand content. Telling this story strategically over time allows businesses to create a differentiated narrative—and a competitive advantage.
Is your organization ready for this sophisticated approach to marketing? Here are a few strategies to make the case for a “brand to demand” marketing approach in your own organization.
1) Align marketing metrics with important C-suite-driven initiatives.
We know leads are important to sales but what is the vision for the entire organization? While program objectives and KPIs need to meet stakeholder needs right now, these short-term goals should ladder up to the broader company vision. Aligning the two will allow for longer-term aspirations to be achieved.
2) Set the foundation with great storytelling.
It is important to engage B2B buyers at the top of the funnel by speaking to their needs and pain points. This ultimately should drive lower funnel messaging and content that demonstrates the connection between that vision and the products or services you are offering. A cohesive story through all stages of the funnel is what makes “brand to demand” programs the most effective—elevating your brand presence and strengthening the relationship with your audience.
3) Set expectations on timing and the need for patience.
Brand-building efforts won’t deliver more efficient lead gen programs overnight. That’s why it is important to create consensus with senior management on how and when your programs will be measured. Over time highlight the efficiencies gained, show progress and call out the successes.
4) Create room to optimize and find the balance between brand and sales activation support.
Ongoing management of programming to meet market dynamics and the competitive landscape will be key to maximizing short- and long-term success.
Want to learn more about how to make the shift from “brand vs. demand” to “brand to demand” marketing? Let us know! We’d love to help your brand stand out and pave the way for future demand and growth.