In the fast-paced world of B2B, achieving a balance between brand awareness and sales activation is the foundation of a successful strategy.
But why is this balance so crucial? The answer is simple yet profound. Brand awareness allows your brand to take the spotlight and captivate your audience’s attention. It’s about building trust, credibility, and recognition. Sales activation, on the other hand, is where potential customers transition into paying customers, subscribers, or advocates.
Balancing these two elements is like getting the perfect blend of ingredients in a recipe. When done right, it can certainly lead to a feast. However, it’s not without its challenges. From tight budgets to shifting consumer behaviours, marketers face hurdles that require finesse and adaptability.
Invest in brand, invest in the future
According to the 95-5 Rule, only 5% of B2B buyers are in-market (current buyers), while 95% are out-market (future buyers).
Marketers are well aware of the lengthy nature of the B2B purchasing cycle, which can span anywhere from three months to as long as three years. However, a common oversight is the realisation that typically, only a mere 5% of their intended audience is actively seeking B2B solutions at any given moment.
The essence of brand campaigns lies in their ability to construct “mental availability” among the remaining 95% who are not currently in the market. Cultivating these mental associations related to your brand category plays a pivotal role in the transformation of prospects into leads.
In simpler terms, by directing resources and investments toward the 95% who may not be actively seeking your B2B solutions now, a B2B organisation is essentially making a strategic investment in its future revenue stream.
Balancing Long-Term (Brand Awareness) and Short-Term (Sales Activation)
NIn their extensive B2B marketing research, Binet and Field proposed an optimal budget allocation that is outside the norm. They recommend a nuanced distribution of 46% for brand building and 54% for sales activation versus the commonly recommended 60:40 split in the B2C realm. Here’s why:
- B2B transactions tend to follow a more logical and reasoned path
- The elongated B2B purchasing cycle necessitates a more substantial investment in activities occurring in the middle and lower segments of the sales funnel.
Although brand building and sales activation operate on different timelines, they are most effective when they connect. For B2B audiences, exposure to both branding and acquisition campaigns yields remarkable results. Studies indicate that individuals exposed to both branding and acquisition efforts are six times more likely to convert compared to those who encounter one approach in isolation.
Sales activation strategies are designed to elicit an immediate response from highly targeted in-market accounts and prospective clients. Think of it as performance marketing, complete with tempting offers and incentives. While such initiatives can spur an instant reaction, they fall short of nurturing long-term memorability and sustainable growth.
On the flip side, brand-building endeavours typically operate on an emotional level, and their influence spreads over time, making them more impactful.
Share of Voice, Creative Impact, and Measuring ROI
Research studies reveal that ‘Extra Share of Voice’ (ESoV) can be a catalyst for market share expansion. So, what exactly is ESoV? It’s a metric that pits your Share of Voice against your Market Share. When your Share of Voice surpasses your current Market Share, you can anticipate a surge in your market share.
A study shows that on average, every ten positive ‘points’ of ESoV translate into a 0.5% boost in market share for B2B brands. This occurs because ESoV enhances a brand’s mental presence within its niche. Consequently, it heightens the likelihood that a buyer, or buying group, will place your brand at the forefront of their purchasing considerations.
Another role that often remains underappreciated is creative impact. However, the truth is that powerful creativity can propel sales to levels 10-20 times higher.
B2B marketers should aim for creativity that not only fosters brand growth but also fuels long-term business expansion. It’s about creating a resonating emotional connection with the purchasing party, leading to distinctiveness and memorability.
Given all these factors, measuring the impact of brand investment is still considered a challenge for many B2B marketers. However, there is a straightforward methodology called Share of Search (SOS). SOS is calculated as follows:
(Number of searches for your brand)
(Number of searches for all defined competitors).
This calculation should consider a rolling 12-month average to smooth out seasonal fluctuations. It serves a dual purpose – measuring the effect of brand awareness and serving as an indicator for future market share trends.
Now, let’s recap key takeaways and the significance of achieving the balance of Brand Awareness and Sales Activation.
Balance is Key: We’ve learned that brand awareness and sales activation aren’t adversaries but partners in your marketing strategy. Building a strong brand foundation paves the way for successful sales activations.
The 95% Investment: Investing in the 95% not currently in-market is an investment in your future cash flow. Building mental brand associations within your category today sets the stage for conversions tomorrow.
Joint Effort: Brand awareness and sales activation work best when they go hand-in-hand. A combination of both approaches yields remarkable conversion rates.
Patience and Consistency: Achieving the right balance may take time. Maintaining a consistent marketing presence is vital for long-term success.
If you are considering a fresh take on your B2B brand strategy, talk to digital marketing experts like Digital Squad today.