Posted on: 21 02 2024

How aligning brand marketing and demand generation can drive business growth

Written by
Nikos Lemanis
Reading time: 4 mins

Successful B2B brands are investing in brand marketing. There have been a swathe of recent reports - from the likes of the Boston Consulting Group, Google, LinkedIn, Ipsos, Businesswire - all demonstrating how brand marketing can help drive performance in B2B. Not only that, but they point to the positive impact brand marketing has on demand generation. But only if these two areas of marketing work in harmony. 

A recent survey by Google and BCG found that 97% of B2B marketers agree that brand marketing plays an key role for awareness and consideration, and 95% said it can help with competitive differentiation.  

Not surprisingly, LinkedIn has consistently asserted the importance of brand marketing in B2B, highlighting how strong branding enables a business to command premium prices, nurtures brand champions and helps build the resilience to bounce back from product flaws. 

LinkedIn has even created its own B2B Brand Leaderboard, celebrating what effective B2B brand-building looks like, showcasing companies such as Amazon, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Google, Pfizer, and Siemens. 

The real beauty of brand marketing for B2B businesses heavily focused on demand and lead generation is that it influences buyers early on in their journey, at the top of the marketing funnel. A recent survey from 6Sense and Businesswire, found that by the time of their first contact with a sales rep, 78% of buyers have mostly or completely established their business requirements, with 84% of buyers said the first vendor they contacted ultimately won the business. 

And it is the influence that brand marketing has on future buyers, that is so important in B2B. A survey from B2B Institute found that brand marketing can improve direct response performance by between two to 10 times. And LinkedIn’s has a 95/5 rule – ie 95% of category buyers are out of market at any given time. Focusing on the 95% versus solely just the ‘in-market’ 5% brings together brand and demand in perfect harmony by putting a focus on future buyers. In this way, you are able to optimise campaigns to stimulate category entry points throughout the funnel. 

So in practice, how do you bring together brand and demand marketing? Firstly, you have to get the budgeting right. Clearly, all B2B brands haves differing budgetary requirements, but a recent survey conducted by Ipsos found 36% of B2B spend is focused on lead generation, 30% on brand building and awareness, and 20% on demand generation. 

But critically, aligning brand marketing with demand generation means aligning sales and marketing. Often, alignment between sales and marketing can mean one point of view winning out to the detriment of the other. In B2B, where sales cycles can be longer and short-term revenue is vital, it’s often sales that ends up calling the shots. 

But ‘going broader’ with brand marketing doesn’t mean taking a scattergun approach, it’s about identifying and targeting everyone who is a potential buyer. Demand generation targeting should still be data-driven, based on intent and sales-led insight, but there must be a clear understanding that the relationship between brand and prospect doesn’t start there. Performance is better when the marketing and sales reach overlaps – propensity to buy increases when a sales prospect has been exposed to marketing from a brand in the near past.  

And a symbiotic relationship between brand and demand and between marketing and sales has many benefits for B2B businesses. It fosters trust and credibility - a well-established brand with consistent messaging means a level of awareness that promotes engagement.  It drives efficiency in demand generation - effective branding can streamline demand generation efforts. When a brand is recognised and trusted, demand marketing campaigns achieve better results with less effort and resource.  

Alignment between marketing and sales facilitates the seamless integration of data and insights between brand and demand efforts. This allows marketers to better understand customer behaviour, preferences, and the overall effectiveness of their strategies, leading to more informed decisions when it comes to targeted activity further down the line. In turn, it significantly improves measurability - by aligning brand and demand, marketers can assess both short-term ROI from demand generation and the long-term impact on brand equity and customer lifetime value. 

And marketing and sales symbiosis accelerates both agility and innovation. A strong brand foundation provides a platform for creative and effective demand generation strategies, enabling adaptability in response to market changes.  

So what does successful alignment between marketing and sales look like? Clearly, there is no ‘one size fits all’ model, but there are some common behaviours that businesses can adopt. First, there is a shared understanding of the marketplace and of all the stakeholders involved in a customer’s buying journey. There is a shared appreciation that there is a long game to be played – engagement doesn’t start at the consideration phase of the funnel. 

There should be an acceptance that brand marketing has measurable KPIs. They won’t be based on leads, but they will be focused on reaching a relevant demographic or firmographic, with critical volume and brand sentiment. And brand marketing should feed a significant proportion of the data that guides demand marketing. By the time a lead is transferred to sales, it has the depth of data and insight that allows for a personalised and informed sales process. 

And ultimately, brand, demand and sales need to operate in a single ecosystem, with intelligent crossover and a consistent experience across everything. This enables a clear and actionable feedback loop from sales that allows for constant evolution of demand marketing, and by extension better leads for sales.  

For those companies that are able to invest properly in both brand marketing and demand generation, and are able to align marketing with sales, the long-term business growth benefits could be considerable. If you want to explore how investing in brand marketing can help your business drive lead, and demand generation, then talk to one of our experts at Luxid.

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