What does a cold and wet morning, nearly 80 of Ireland’s top B2B marketers and a panel of esteemed business leaders make? In one word (or hashtag) the answer is #GreatB2BMarketing
We’re relentlessly curious about the state of B2B marketing, both in Ireland and globally. In late 2019, we ran our second survey to understand everything we could about the budgets, tactics and strategies that Irish B2B marketers are using. And we presented those findings at our launch event in the Dean Hotel to the B2B marketing community.
Those findings can be found here in our report, but suffice to say that Ireland’s B2B marketers are determined to put the businesses they’re working for on the map.
Fame makes everything easier if you’re a brand
Now we know that the celebrity life isn’t always as glamorous as it looks. It can be hard work being in the public eye all the time.
But that’s if you’re a famous person. A famous brand, on the other hand, enjoys all the benefits of celebrity and none of the downsides.
What do these specific benefits include? Well, everything a business could ever want:
- Increased quantity and quality of leads
- Easier recruitment - great people will want to work for you
- Higher price points (you can charge more when your brand is well-known and desired… hello Apple)
- Better outcomes from your marketing activities
- Higher valuation of your business
- No need to explain what your do
We understand the realities of operating in today’s commercial market. We’re also keenly focused on placing leads into our sales pipeline. And that focus is not going anywhere soon. Nor should it.
But the findings in our survey show that Irish B2B marketers are aware that there’s more to building robust businesses than short term focused lead generation campaigns. Campaigns that are then measured to within an inch of their lives.
Reallocating some marketing budget into brand building could be the smartest thing any marketer does in 2020.
In fact, Trish Butler, CMO of Taxback.com, mentioned that while most companies who want to increase sales go out and hire more salespeople, it could be a stronger move to invest in your brand.
When companies speak about brand values, they really need to ensure that they’re building a company culture that imparts these values to their employees. As Trish confirmed, “brand experience is not just customer experience, but employee experience too.” Employees can only offer the type of brand experience you want your customers to have if they’re fully immersed in your brand too.
"We are entrepreneurial at heart, and we take risks,” Trish added. “People don't want content, they want [brand] stories."
Trish also spoke about the importance of content marketing, Producing high quality, useful and informative content, that doesn’t sell to your customers but helps them solve an issue in their own businesses or lives, can conversely create more sales than targeted campaigns.
Colin Lewis, CMO of OpenJaw Technologies, also reiterated the need for no selling in content campaigns. He specifically spoke about webinars and the potential they have to really build connections with your customers. But no one is signing into a webinar to get a product pushed at them; they’re signing in to engage with thought leadership content in their industry.
Colin also raised an interesting point about the challenges facing the industry - “B2B companies are often selling an abstract proposition. It's vastly different to a consumer good that a customer can see.”
Building a brand is everyone’s responsibility
While all aspects of branding and brand building might sound like it sits squarely within Marketing’s remit, the truth is that everyone in an organisation has a role to play.
David McHale, Director of Marketing at Travelport was unequivocal on this. Since branding is really what your customer experiences when they engage with your company, David stated that it is the whole team’s responsibility to maintain the look, feel and experience of the brand at every customer touchpoint.
When companies speak about brand values, they really need to ensure that they’re building a company culture that imparts these values to their employees.
Branding and the rational people
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that B2B marketers are surrounded almost entirely by too many rational people.
Now, this can be a tricky statement since who decided that a marketer doesn’t have a rational mind as well? However, the implicit point is that some of the creativity can be lost as marketers have to justify their plans and align every idea with ROI forecasts before they get the green light to implement creative brand building campaigns.
That said, savvy B2B marketers can do a lot to reassure their left brained colleagues of their brand building campaign ideas through a few smart moves. Ray Coppinger, Director of Marketing at Teamwork.com, suggests mapping brand campaigns alongside growth metrics.
David McHale suggests that NPS surveys can really help a B2B marketer develop a sense of how their brand may be growing in perception.
Where to next for Ireland’s B2B marketers?
Our survey reveals all of the findings that the 129 Irish B2B marketers we surveyed shared with us. Please download your copy here.
We’re excited about the big bets Ireland’s marketers are going to make with their brands in 2020. Plus we’ve also got more to share on brand building over the next while, including a post where some high profile B2B marketers in the country divulge their plans. Watch this space!