Because brand marketing is difficult to measure we’re seeing B2B companies switch to performance-led activities. However, the outcomes aren’t what you’d expect them to be.
Due to the rapid rise of sales and marketing automation, businesses have been sold the narrative that data is the solution to their woes.
All of the vendors have been driving this message home for a while now because it supports the use case of their product.
When businesses are drowning in data and choose to solely let the numbers drive decision-making they can find themselves in a pickle.
This is why performance marketing is so popular.
Everything can be measured, tracked and pulled together into a bunch of tidy reports.
The problem is, data can be misleading and the outcomes of short-term activities can then make businesses focus on the wrong things.
For example, conversions driven through organic search are often attributed to your SEO efforts.
But, how would one know whether that search wasn’t the result of a word of mouth conversation between an existing customer and prospect?
Or alternatively, let’s say you’ve engaged in a series of brand awareness campaigns across the past year. If you’ve done your job right and effectively communicate your product or solution, a prospect should instantly think of you when they have a business need that your product solves.
They search for your brand and then convert. Again, this would be attributed as organic search or direct traffic.
Businesses need to remember that great sales and great marketing is about more than just numbers.
It’s about people, psychology, connection, emotion, relationships.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with making decisions with data. But, don’t lose touch with your gut feelings and senses. If you deeply understand your audience, you’ll know more than the numbers can tell you.
Another reason as to why B2B brands have shifted focus is because building a brand is difficult, it takes time.
You have to find your voice, identify what your business stands for and then create content that connects with your audience.
The truth is that the credibility and weight of a brand can often accelerate growth over the long-term. It can even improve win rates and lower your CAC.
Brand marketing is an activity that’s hard to measure, unlike your last lead generation or performance campaign. If marketing is tasked with generating ‘x’ amount of leads and MQLs per quarter, they’ll rally around their ability to hit this metric vs focusing on what really matters – the customer and consistent revenue growth.
This isn’t to say leads or MQLs are invalid metrics, they can be used as leading indicators. But in isolation, they can drive the wrong activities.
This isn’t just down to marketing. CEOs, Sales leaders and Senior Executives often follow the same playbook, resulting in a top-down approach where marketing are continually benchmarked on the wrong metrics.
This can also put a strain on the relationship and create misalignment when things aren’t working and there’s resistance to change.
Putting money in and getting leads out is very satisfying, it’s also a strategy endorsed by all of the marketing vendors and PPC channels (for the commercial reasons already mentioned).
If you’re wondering why you’re not achieving consistent groeth, it’s time for a rethink.
Building a brand and creating buying intent isn’t a process that happens quickly. It’s value-driven, requires a shift in focus and will require more effort.
If you want to start executing on brand, here are some points to consider:
- Shift from an instant gratification mindset and build a brand strategy. Once you’re executing be patient and let the process unfold, avoid any knee-jerk responses when short-term gains aren’t immediately visible.
- Create buyer-centric content without the sales pitch. Deliver value to your ICP without anything in return and make it worthy of sharing.
- Don’t fixate on attribution. You’re creating awareness so avoid attaching performance metrics to campaigns and focus on inbound demo requests, qualified opportunities and closed-won revenue. If these increase along with organic search traffic you’re making progress.
Remember it’s a buyers market. The competition for most B2B companies is high and it’s your job to produce content that cuts through the noise.
Don’t forget to build a strategy that considers each part of the buying cycle either. When prospects are asking questions you need to be visible with the answers and the necessary proof points to come out on top.