It’s tempting to pursue new, flashy marketing tactics due to the notion that if a marketer can be among the first to master the trend, their brand value and personal career will sky-rocket. While ‘shiny object’ strategies can be exciting to pursue and sometimes even pay off, they come bearing a risk of being distracting, ineffective or both. Thus, marketers need a framework that helps brands evaluate whether a new, shiny tactic is likely to succeed or not, without requiring marketers to put capital, time and reputation at risk.
Jon Lombardo and Peter Weinberg, Global Leads at The B2B Institute, LinkedIn’s think tank that partners with brand experts to research the future of B2B marketing, have set out to give marketers these frameworks and help them confidently make better choices. The two appeared on Simulmedia Live to discuss their findings, published in a recent research report called The Principles of Growth in B2B.
The report explains the five timeless, durable ways marketers should think about powering growth. We’ve selected the main takeaways from these five, but to learn more about their data-backed tips of the trade, watch the whole interview.
1. Invest in share of voice.
Peter says marketing budgets have traditionally been set by habit, not strategy, often based on a percentage of sales. He instead offers ‘share of voice’ as a more scientific reference point. There are a few different ways to calculate this for your brand but put simply, it’s the percentage of the market you’re actually reaching with your advertising. Their research shows that in order to start seeing marketing’s impact, your share of voice needs to be bigger than your market share.
2. Balance brand and activation.
A real struggle for marketers is to prove their financial impact. This pressure becomes even more intense when marketers have to balance how much to spend on brand awareness compared to performance. The research Jon and Peter presented shows that B2B marketers should weigh this about 50/50, brand to activation, in order to target both in market buyers and the “out of market” customer. Brand needs investment because at any given time, less than five percent of a brand’s customers are in the market.
3. Expand your customer base.
Broadening your brand’s exposure to more potential customers is mathematically and financially smarter than hyper-targeting, which tends to over-value current customers. The guys say that the best way to grow your brand is by acquiring more customers. Yet, 70% of marketers admit they prefer to pursue loyalty strategies to encourage existing customers to spend more. The research shows they should focus on converting new customers and weigh probability over precision.
4. Maximize mental availability.
Consumers have availability bias - we’re all prone to choosing the brands that come easily to mind. Brands are designed to create mental shortcuts, enabling consumers to make rapid purchase decisions based on the cumulative perceptions they develop about brands over time. LinkedIn’s research shows this stands true for B2B marketing, as well. The most successful brands produce more memorable, distinctive creatives, even when it comes to big ticket, B2B purchases.
5. Harness the power of emotion.
Jon and Peter pride themselves in being contrarians, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise they argue that even B2B buyers are more emotional than marketers tend to believe. Their psychological research shows we all make decisions based on emotions then justify them with rationality, which might explain why the report reveals emotional campaigns are seven times more effective.
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