The interplay between brand and demand marketing is becoming increasingly nuanced as B2B marketing navigates the full spectrum of the marketing funnel.
The north star of B2B marketing is to achieve the right quantum of marketing growth. Marketing, at the end of the day, is all about playing the game of short-term and long-term right, and as such, LinkedIn has launched an insightful guide for marketers.
This battle between long- and short-term metric is an ongoing one, with marketers lean more heavily into demand marketing when they are looking for measurable near-term impact while brand marketing is mostly for the long haul and takes more time to measure. While both have their own USPs and advantages, the inability to see results in the short term is often put as the single most prolific barrier to brand building among marketers.
The study by LinkedIn, together with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)’s Les Binet and Peter Field, looked at 4,000 B2B marketers across 22 markets to deep dive into the interesting interplay between brand and demand marketing.
A theme that emerged loud and clear was that neither of the two extremes can work in isolation and the principles of marketing growth are a combination of finding the perfect balance between the two, in order to attain the optimum output and growth.
Balancing between acquisition and customer growth strategies
Even though this point may be obvious to some marketers, this marketing truth gets missed out often - targeting both the existing and the new customers together will help drive a faster and more insulated growth strategy.
As per IPA findings, breaking into new budgets at new customers, as well as nurturing existing customers, would maximize growth. Research shows that targeting new and existing customers together, can often help create 1.6x larger business effects.
Getting the right mix of ad consistency, reach and duration
It is critical for marketers to earn fame in order to be top of mind at
every stage of the purchase funnel. As per IPA findings, mental availability matters for B2B and B2C alike which means that campaigns that aim to increase a firm’s share of mind are most effective whether they are B2B or B2C.
Some 77% of marketers in Asia Pacific run their brand campaigns for six months or less. However, research shows that marketers have to let their brand campaigns run for more than six months before any sizable impact can be seen.
Awareness at scale seemingly has the greatest impact on growth. Data points that when campaigns are run for at least 6 months they achieve fame and it also brings 2.2x larger business effects.
Playing the short term and the long-term marketing puzzle right
Whether the business is B2C or B2B, a balanced investment in short- and long-term campaigns is a critical component of growth. As per the report, businesses need brand activity to create demand in the long-term, and activation to convert that demand efficiently into revenue in the short-term.
In Asia Pacific, 45% of marketing budget is allocated to brand marketing, on an average, within B2B organizations. A balanced investment drives growth.
The marketers would do well to remember to apply the 50/50 rule as they allocate the brand and demand investment.
Data shows that a whopping 96% of APAC marketers are measuring ROI of their investment within three months which may not be such a good idea. With the sales cycle averaging at six months, marketers also need to slow down while measuring. Having patience is a necessary virtue here as well.
Balancing the sharp targeting efforts with broad targeting
Being focused is mostly good but, as per the data, hyper-targeting has its limitations. Targeting too narrowly might be counterproductive as it may restrict the reach, by ignoring buying circles and future buyers. Often it may be just as well to target broadly in order to reach the full buying circle and future buyers.
Navigating between the rational ads and emotional ads
Just as buying decisions are both rational and emotional, marketing should also be a mix of both since both have their place under the sun. While rational ads are more effective in demand marketing, emotional ads work better for brand building. Rational ads have their use for and are more effective for in-market customers (the customers who will buy now) while emotional ads are more effective for out-of-market customers (the customers who will buy later).
As per the findings of the study, marketers should produce more emotional creative, particularly for upper funnel efforts, in order to reach out-of-market customers.