Emelie Malmquist, Head of Marketing at Adnami, explains why branding should sit at the heart of B2B marketing and be included in your advertising strategy…
In the fast-paced world of B2B marketing, there is one sector that doesn’t get the love it truly deserves, and that is brand marketing. There are various reasons for this, including a general confusion about how to measure, a preference for short-term performance marketing metrics, and the lack of internal capability within many companies to execute strong, creative branding campaigns.
The problem is, failing to invest in B2B brand marketing can be detrimental to the success of a business. Brand marketing not only improves long-term sales goals, but also increases the success of return on marketing investment for performance marketing, employee satisfaction, cross-selling to current customers, and even customer advocacy. Let’s break it down by taking a closer look at B2B brand advertising.
B2B brand advertising: what is it?
At its core, B2B brand advertising is about making other businesses aware of your brand, products and services, with the aim of attracting and keeping customers. But this is a long-term game, and the focus should be on creating lasting memories and associations that will put your brand front of mind whenever potential customers go to market. For example, when you think of CRM you tend to think of Salesforce, think of Marketing Automation and it’s HubSpot, communication tool is Slack, and so on. All these companies are great at brand marketing (and they have great products too) which puts them front of mind. The importance of this is emphasised by data that shows that 95% of B2B buyers are not “in-market” for your product at any given time.
Times are changing in digital advertising, and we’re entering a creative-first era in which it has never been easier for B2B advertisers to target their audience with ads that tell an engaging tale.
Here’s how you can help make sure your B2B brand advertising is successful:
1. Consider your brand advertising channel
One of the key decisions in B2B brand advertising is choosing which channels to operate in, and the answer will depend largely on your industry and audience. Make sure you have a well-defined ideal customer profile [ICP] and buyer persona for your intended acquisitions, and that you understand their most common pain points and jobs to be done. Then, work out how (and where) best to target these. This will allow you to create a central focus for your B2B branding activities, making you more cost-effective and time-efficient.
In terms of channels, high impact digital ad formats offer some of the most exciting opportunities to engage your audience. These large ad formats offer you the chance to flex your creative muscles and provide stellar performance metrics, including the ability to achieve as much as 72x more attention than a standard display ad. And not only that, high impact is now easier than ever to buy, with modern platforms allowing you to scale your media buying across global sites.
Other popular strategies within B2B brand marketing include webinars and events, podcasts, sponsored articles and various forms of content marketing, such as blogs and thought leadership pieces. Influencer marketing is also on the up, and is predicted to be worth $13.8bn by the end of this year. That 71% of B2B brand advertisers plan to increase their influencer marketing spend in 2022 tells you how important this channel is.
Elsewhere, LinkedIn and TikTok are considered the best places for promoting content marketing video, and integrated direct mail campaigns work well if executed properly.
Measure the impact of your advertising
There is a lot of focus on how to measure success, which quite often seems synonymous with performance. In this day and age, when it’s possible to track the success of marketing activities to an infinitely granular level, it's important to prove your campaigns are working. Your best chance of doing this is to report on how your activities relate to business growth.
It can be hard to track long-term metrics and KPIs such as brand awareness, perception and engagement, but it is certainly possible. Attention metrics are beginning to find mainstream acceptance in B2C marketing, and are proving highly accurate in measuring engagement with a brand. These can be easily and frictionlessly bought via various ad-tech platforms.
Other metrics that will give you a good idea as to how your brand is perceived, and how quickly it comes to mind when a customer is ready to buy, include:
- Cost per impression – cost for each potential individual that views the ad
- Share of voice – the percentage of the market that is aware of your brand in comparison to the competition
- aCPM – attentive seconds per impression served
Learn from the best
There are some fantastic B2B brand advertising campaigns operating across a broad range of channels, so let’s take a look at a few examples, and consider what we can learn from them.
Monday.com: Monday.com is a project management platform that uses this ad explainer to quickly and efficiently help business owners understand how the platform could benefit their business and workflow. The ad is built from colourful, bright visuals and supplemented with music that immediately engages attention.
Slack: Business communication platformSlack proves that B2B doesn’t have to mean boring, and in this video takes a satirical look at the startup world, while describing its product in a humorous, human way.
Pyramid Analytics: There are some amazing branding campaigns out there. This example from Pyramid Analytics is B2B in its purest form, and uses witty, relatable creative with cultural touchpoints to engage its audience. Pyramid has used a traditional B2C channel here in the form of billboard ads, but the creative would also be a great fit for companies who want to make a similar impression on a fraction of the budget with high impact digital advertising.