You don’t have to be an expert to know that the way we market products and services has changed.
The advent of social media and the ever-changing landscape of multi-platform marketing, whilst undoubtedly expanding the potential reach of a product or service, has made the playing field for marketers more complicated than ever.
Despite an infinite pool of data, insights and personalisation tools, we are living through an age of distraction, making it more difficult for companies to attract and engage customers due to the non-linear paths lining our omnichannel world.
Historically, when taking a product or service to market, you’d focus on two things. Brand building and demand generation. Two separate objectives, with two separate budgets. But in today’s landscape, keeping these objectives siloed just isn’t going to cut it.
A 2019 study by LinkedIn found that B2B marketers have a tendency to lean more heavily towards demand marketing due to the amount of data that can be captured, as opposed to brand building, which takes a lot more effort to measure. The report found that the inability to see quick results is the number one barrier to proper brand building.
What’s more, the report found that, regardless of their objectives, marketers are twice as likely to spend budget producing rational, sales-driven ads than they are emotional brand awareness ones. But this sales-heavy approach won’t always work, especially if you want to create long-lasting results.
So, rather than segregate your approach, marketing teams should seek to combine the long-term successes of brand building with the short-term gains of a well-executed demand generation strategy.
What is brand marketing?
Brand marketing is all about growing awareness and affinity over time. The aim is to build a positive impression of your brand so that, over time, your company stands out from the rest due to the salience you’ve created through consistent means of messaging that adds value behind the purpose of your product.
The reason behind it all is simple: a customer is much less likely to invest in a brand they’ve never heard of – or better yet, doesn’t trust.
Once you’ve established a level of trust through consistent brand marketing, a new customer is more likely to return to your business because you’ve nurtured them along the funnel with the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of your brand.
What is demand generation?
Just like brand marketing represents the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of your product, demand generation represents the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’.
Demand generation, or demand gen, is the strategy of activity that builds interest for your product, with an end goal of converting that interest into a sale.
Promotional content such as blogs, videos and email marketing can work well here, as do paid advertising and SEO. The key is to make sure your strategy covers all your customer touchpoints, demonstrating that your product or service is the perfect thing for your target customers’ needs. Putting it in layman’s terms, demand generation creates a demand for your product.
Seem straight forward enough? Well, there’s a catch. Without proper awareness and trust in your brand, your demand generation strategy could fall flat and result in you losing a sale that could have been achieved through solid brand marketing.
The answer to the riddle here is simple. Instead of having a this-or-that approach, try switching it up and combining the two. Brand, meet demand.
When brand meets demand
While it may well seem like an odd combination at first, this hybrid model of marketing is the ultimate recipe for success.
Through brand to demand marketing, you are able to tell your story to your prospective customer: who you are, what you stand for and why your product or service matters, at the same time as highlighting the benefits your product or service can offer to customers, whether they’re a new acquisition or an existing sale.
This way of working bridges the unnecessary gap between brand building and demand generation by simply integrating the approach to achieve your end goal.
That said, in a recent survey carried out by Active Profile, only 33% of respondents said they would be focussing their effort and budget into both brand and awareness over the next 12 months, with 35% putting their eggs in the demand generation basket and 33% going all in on brand.
But by combining the two budgets into one, it doesn’t mean you can’t play around with the levels. Brand to demand marketing is by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, you could be a relatively young brand with little-known presence. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to invest more of your time and budget into brand awareness. And, if you’re an established brand but have yet to see that reflect in your revenue, spending more time on demand generation and sales activity might be your priority. The sweet spot is knowing how and when to balance the two, and being able to tip the scale according to where you are in your journey.
The take home
The bottom line is that both brand marketing and demand generation are crucial when looking to attract and convert customers into revenue. But investing in one without the other is like eating macaroni without the cheese: fine, but it’s only when you put the two together that the magic really happens. The same is to be said for your marketing strategy.
A customer’s buying journey is never linear. They’re prompted by a mix of emotional and rational decisions, and so your marketing strategy should reflect that. An investment in both short-term demand generation and longer-term brand campaigns will be critical to drive growth as we continue into 2023 and beyond.
Without name recognition, it’s harder to drive leads for your business. Without leads, you lose out on revenue. So, for short-term results with long-lasting customer loyalty, brand to demand is the only way forward.
Want to find out more about blending brand with demand to enhance your business performance? Just contact us and we’d be happy to have a chat about how we can help.