As a brand strategist at an agency with a heavy B2B focus, I see firsthand the challenges B2B marketing leaders face when trying to get buy-in and budget for brand building. While B2Bs have come a long way in getting the C-Suite to agree brand is important, actually securing budget to support brand efforts remains a major challenge.
But there is good news. We’ve recently enlisted a secret weapon from B2C marketing that you can use to help solidify buy-in and provide insights for more effective, resonant campaigns—a brand tracker. B2B brand trackers have had a big impact for two of our important clients in the last year and we’re excited to share some learnings to help you get started with this powerful tool too.
What is a B2B brand tracker?
A brand tracker is a quantitative survey that gathers data and insights about a brand's awareness, image, behaviors, marketing activities and those of its competitors. The process involves selecting a representative sample of your customers and target audiences, collecting feedback through questionnaires or interviews and analyzing the results to identify trends and patterns in brand perception and consumer behavior.
Not just a “one and done,” the survey is repeated annually or bi-annually. This allows you to create a snapshot of brand performance and track changes over time. Brand trackers can help answer fundamental business questions, identify key differentiators, and uncover your position vs competitors in the minds of consumers. These Insights can be used to inform marketing strategies, measure the effectiveness of campaigns, and identify important areas for improvement. Most importantly, they are a great way to build confidence and consensus with your executive leadership for important brand building initiatives.
Partnering for Success with B2B Brand Trackers
A B2B brand tracker is a comprehensive, quantitative study that examines complex business segments and multiple niche target audiences. Considering the significant investment they represent, and knowing the need for the utmost credibility with C-Suite decision makers, it is essential to choose a highly credible research partner to support these projects.
For our agency clients, we act as their internal research team, helping write and run the RFP to select the right research partner, then brief them with important information about current positioning, brand attributes to be tracked and key target audiences. Upon completion of the research, we serve as a liaison between the client and the research partner, helping to interpret and contextualize the results, and develop strategic plans to address the findings. The rigor of this process provides data and insights needed to credibly persuade the C-Suite to move forward with robust, strategically aligned, full-funnel brand initiatives.
B2B brand tracker tips for success
To sell to the C-suite, you have to speak their language
Marketers love marketing. Executives love results—and they align their resources accordingly. To get buy-in and budget, market the value of the brand tracker in terms of how it will help address business goals and objectives. Point out how the information can answer fundamental business questions, provide insights to help them be more customer-centric, and track the ongoing performance of marketing investments.
Additionally, well-designed brand trackers can identify important cross-sell opportunities between verticals. They can confirm a go-to-market brand positioning with key differentiators versus competitors. They are true business intelligence tools that can identify powerful opportunities, and that’s music to C-Suite ears.
Not all research partners are equal
Conduct thorough research when selecting your partner. Treat the process like an agency pitch and request RFPs. Narrow down your options to 3-5 of the strongest contenders and invite them to present. When choosing a B2B partner, prioritize experience in this specialized area and the ability to effectively target niche audiences. For a fair comparison, have each contender quote for a specific project, taking into consideration their methodology and cost.
It's all about a quality recruit for B2B
In B2B recruitment, attracting top-notch respondents for specialized roles is of utmost importance. A more qualitative approach to recruitment is often necessary to effectively target niche industries and C-suite level positions. It's imperative to have solid engagement with key accounts and the specific job titles within those accounts, so that you can confidently respond affirmatively when your C-suite asks about outreach to specific titles in their 10 key accounts.
Brand storytelling is key
With the right agency and brand tracking research partner, you can uncover a powerful story about your business and access actionable insights to drive growth. Beyond simply showing key statistics, the right partner will be able to connect the dots and reveal a brand story and actionable insights. They can identify where your brand has strengths or weaknesses across audiences and throughout the marketing funnel. They will be able to dive in deep on your vertical industries and tease out what is key to driving the business in each.
In closing, while there are many challenges in securing C-suite investment for branding efforts in a B2B context, the use of a brand tracker can be an immensely helpful tool in demonstrating the value and impact of such initiatives. Brand trackers inspire big picture conversations and empower confidence to make business transforming decisions. By showing how your branding work is directly translating into revenue and growth, you can make a much stronger case for budget to support your marketing team’s efforts!
If you want more information on how brand trackers can benefit your business or need help setting one up, please don't hesitate to reach out. We would be happy to chat!