Have you ever joined queues of literally tens of thousands of people to attend an event that turned out to be poorly run: substandard catering options, subpar amenities, so-so entertainment/talent/production? Bet you can’t wait to turn down your invitation to attend next year, month or week, right? It’s so disappointing because, the online posts, podcast mentions and promo vids were great… what happened? So many questions…
Well, that’s the rollercoaster ride online customers are experiencing and they are sick of it – fair enough too. Effective spend is driving traffic to subpar websites, offering so-so experiences, resulting in a lack of true engagement, loss of reputation and wasted effort. So, how much should you be spending and where should it go? First things first.
In this increasingly complex digital world, marketers and business owners are rightfully investing more and more online. We are seeing marketing budgets increasing year on year, the prevailing thought being that if you’re not spending more on your own online marketing, rest assured, your competition is.
Despite a moderate downturn in spending in 2020, average Marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue sit around 11% (Source: 2020 Gartner CMO Spend Survey), it’s noteworthy that B2B service companies often sit higher at 15.6%.
Statistics like this, encourage some marketers to throw that spend at the search for immediate and measurable results. Enter, Paid or Digital Marketing – also fair enough as it’s quite likely that pressure to perform both for the organisation’s greater good and for the individual is increasing. Plus, it’s an important component of any successful marketing effort. And that wraps up what we call “demand generation” - the creation of leads that engage and connect.
In summary then, we have more leads, more traffic, more clicks leading to your website and potentially, their (the consumers’) first meeting with… your brand.
The question here is, how can these interactions enhance your “brand reputation” or your brand worth? How can you ensure its working hard enough for your newfound customers or clients?
Here’s where your opportunity to facilitate more effective demand generation presents the real opportunity for growth. According to CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council, in partnership with Google, “B2B buyers are typically 57% of the way to a buying decision before actively engaging with sales.”
I personally feel there’s a misconception that building a strong brand is an unnecessary luxury. Some say it’s sufficient to focus on tactical demand generation or marketing initiatives alone, but what about the web experience for your user and that of your brand?
The more immediate ROI gratification of tactical marketing strategies blind some to the benefits of the ROI offered by a strong and magnetic brand reputation. After all, it’s not always easy to draw a straight line between branding and the bottom line.
Granted, we’re not all Apple or Coca-Cola, but the evidence is there to suggest that the modern companies that have invested heavily in building their brand are also those who drive above-average profitable growth. And in an economy where 70% to 80% of market value comes from hard-to-assess intangible assets such as:
…it has been suggested that 70% of B2B buyers cite company reputation as the most influential factor when choosing which company to do business with” according to Harvard Business Review.
My take is that companies and organisations are not investing enough in the role their website is expected to play given the acceleration of today’s more holistic "Digital First" world.
People are willing to pay for products and services they trust. Aligning yourself or your business with a well-considered Brand Experience as customers/clients interact with your brand on your website is crucial. This creates a positive bias in the decision-maker allowing you to demand a premium.
You can drive demand without a good brand, sure. But you can’t create loyalty or advocacy without it. “It” being brand experience trust, emotional engagement and even simple recognition. While demand generation is the activator of all of that, when combined, “demand” and “brand” are crucial to paving a path to profitable engagement along your consumers’ journey.
That delicate balance, that middle ground, is where you’ll find sustained growth.
by Ben McIntyre