This article is brought to you by LinkedIn.
Growth. It is on everybody’s mind as companies struggle to find their footing amid the evolving economic landscape. With budgets tightening across industries, brands in both B2B and B2C industries are now trying to balance between long-term brand building and short-term sales activation. And while the inclination for many might be towards the latter, to ensure business sustainability and viability, it is still important B2B brands maintain a 50-50 balance.
A recently released report titled “Brand and Demand” by LinkedIn , shares some principles through which B2B marketers can ensure growth and rethink their approach.
Principle 1: Sustain growth by leveraging both acquisition and customer growth strategy
Currently, approximately 69% of marketers in Asia Pacific believe that businesses grow best by increasing customer loyalty, and customer acquisition in this regard takes a back seat. This belief however impacts a company’s ability to truly grow at the pace they need.
In order to achieve growth, B2B marketers have to actively ensure they put in the effort to acquire new customers all while balancing the growth of existing accounts. While the solution might sound simple enough in principle, to achieve true success is a different story.
One way to manage this is for marketers to aim for top of mind awareness at scale at every stage of the purchase funnel. Campaigns that aim to increase a firm’s share of mind are most effective. The more famous they make the company, the better the business results.
Principle 2: Strive for ad consistency, reach, and duration in order to achieve fame
Fame, at the end of the day is necessary for growth of any company. Fame in this instance, refers to top of mind awareness at scale – which every B2B brand marketer must aim to attain.
Currently, 77% of marketers in Asia Pacific are running their brand campaigns for six months or less, said the study by LinkedIn. However, Binet and Field’s research shows that marketers need to allow their brand campaigns to run for more than six months before they can see impact.
Consistency, reach, and duration are fundamentals in ensuring top of mind recall for B2B brands to attain fame. Businesses need brand activity to create demand in the long-term. Meanwhile, activation is crucial in converting that demand efficiently into revenue in the short-term. When the balance is right, each effort should enhance the other.
Principle 3: Invest in shorter -term demand generation efforts, and longer-term brand campaigns to drive growth
About 45% of marketing budget is allocated to brand marketing, on average, within B2B organisations in Asia Pacific. To grow, B2B brands need to create demand, and activation to convert that demand efficiently into revenue. When the balance is right, each will enhance the other. B2B marketers need to apply the 50/50 rule as they consider the split between brand and demand investment.
While marketers should invest in both short-and long-term marketing efforts, they should measure ROI over the full length of their sales cycle to most accurately capture investment impact. The LinkedIn report added that 96% of marketers in Asia Pacific are measuring ROI of their investment within three months. Since the average sales cycle is 6 months, marketers need to slow down when it comes to measurement.
Moreover, targeting too narrowly might be ineffective as it ignores buying circles and future buyers.
Principle 4: Grow by reaching more customers than you currently have
A majority of marketers (65%) in in Asia Pacific do not believe that broad targeting is more effective for their campaigns than hyper-targeting. But what is important to note and consider is that hyper-targeting often misses critical influencers in the buying circle. This then results in the lack of ability to nurture future buyers. Typically, 6.8 people are involved in each B2B purchase decision. As such, B2B decision makers have to consider expanding their reach beyond existing decision makers in order to create more opportunities for growth.
Given that buying is both rational and emotional in nature, marketing needs to mimic that too. Rational ads are more effective for in-market customers (the customers who will buy now), but emotional ads are more effective for out-of-market customers (the customers who will buy later).
Principle 5: Balance the usage of rational and emotional ads to strategically build growth over time
Asia Pacific marketers are three times more likely to produce rational ads than emotional ads, but the rational approach won't always work for long-term brand building. In order to connect with buyers before they come to market, B2B marketers need consider where and how emotional ads can be leveraged to drive business growth.
The "Brand and demand" report is created by LinkedIn, in collaboration with the IPA, Les Binet and Peter Field. Close to 4,000 B2B marketers across 22 markets were surveyed to study the interplay of brand and demand marketing.
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