Today’s top B2B brands rely on digital tools.
Over the past two decades, more and more B2B marketers have seen their products and/or services commoditized, or worse yet, made irrelevant.
Many marketers face one or more of these brand-related challenges:
- Their brand is organic — not driven by their organization’s vision or business strategy and developed without structure or rules
- Their messages are ad hoc or their value proposition is inconsistent
- They go to market with a “bushel of benefits” rather than tailored solutions and they approach every target the same way
- There’s no cohesion in how they present their brand externally
- While some may have effective methods of quantifiably measuring the impact of campaigns, they have no process in place to track the strength of their brand
Over time, the practice of B2B branding has continually grown. Today, the brand is almost as important as the efforts of sales teams in encouraging a decision maker to make a buy.
But how do you build a brand that can do this effectively?
Key to building a brand that makes a decision maker want to buy is gaining insights through data that allows marketers to inform, track and continually optimize the brand. Here’s what it looks like in action.
Integrating Top Tools
“Data has been critical in helping us continually track and optimize our brand on a global basis,” said Brian Krause, Vice President of Global Marketing for Molex, a global electronics solutions provider. “Through various data sources and dashboards, we are able to measure our success in regions around the world by vertical markets and company size.”
Today’s top B2B brands rely on digital tools and platforms to quantify and model the data they collect. While many of these tools are leveraged to build and evolve brands — qualitative and quantitative research, leadership input, competitive analysis, category trends, etc. — today’s brand leaders have many more sources of data to consider.
Why? A strong brand today is more than just native advertising, online copy and print ads. Instead, B2B brands include social media, a web presence and online media. In order to keep track of these, marketers need to expand their tools to measure web analytics, marketing automation, their CRM and social media.
In addition to the sources mentioned above, a strong B2B brand relies on a strategy based on analytics. Not only should data inform marketing tactics, but it must also help marketers measure the current strength of their brand and provide insights into how to develop it.
A strong B2B brand relies on a strategy based on analytics.
Social Currency is one tool useful for measuring the strength and value of a brand. Social Currency is, as defined by Vivaldi Partners Group, “the degree to which customers share a brand or information about a brand with others.” Movéo’s Kevin Randall, Vice President of Strategy & Planning, consulted with Vivaldi and MIT Sloan statisticians in creating the methodology for measuring a brand’s Social Currency.
Another KPI developed by Movéo to inform marketing strategy is what we refer to as a “holistic score:” a formula designed to measure engagement with the brand by monitoring key actions in relation to marketing goals. The scoring is determined by a formula that applies weight to each action based on importance and relevance. The score aggregates multiple marketing achievements to one comparable number and provides a holistic view of brand performance.
Internal Brand Performance
While it’s important to track your brand with external audiences, understanding the strength of your internal brand can be equally, if not more, critical.
The most common method here is an employee survey fielded twice each year. The employee survey is particularly important when building a new brand strategy. This survey is different from those fielded by HR in that it is completely focused on the brand. The objective is to clearly understand the “views and wants” of leadership, customers and employees. Also referred to as a three-gap analysis, this data enables marketers to understand the wants and needs of each audience and then identify gaps that may exist.
Finally, there’s the metric many would say is the most important when considering the strength of a brand — financial. The ability to draw correlations between the brand and business growth is what many marketers struggle with. The key is to align messages, tactics and the experiences of a brand with ultimate business outcomes and evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness to generate leads, orders and revenue.
What works for one company may not work for others. However, there is one certainty: brands must be built using data, rather than educated assumptions. This same approach must be leveraged to support the ongoing management and growth of the brand.
Bob Murphy is a Managing Partner at Chicago-based Movéo. Movéo is a fully integrated communications company uniquely built to help its clients measurably improve marketing performance. We use data-driven insights to inform strategy and guide our use of creativity and technology. This results in integrated communications solutions that attract, secure and retain profitable customers for our clients. For more information on Movéo, visit moveo.comDownload