Are your B2B lead generation efforts falling flat? It may be time to invest in brand awareness.
B2B companies often prioritize lead generation over brand awareness. On the surface, this logic makes sense: leads are essential for growing your business, and filling your sales pipeline is a crucial growth driver. Brand awareness is often overlooked because companies tend to assume they are more well-known than they actually are.
But if your lead-generation efforts are falling flat and your pipeline is drying up, it’s a sign that you may need to invest in brand awareness. Building brand awareness lays the groundwork for successful lead generation, providing a solid foundation to drive quality leads and sustainable long-term results.
Familiarity and Trust Breed Higher Engagement
When non-marketers think about the word “brand,” they often focus on the visual representation of a company — the name, logo, colors and tagline. But your brand is so much more than that. It’s your company’s personality and soul; it’s what makes you truly unique and instantly recognizable.
Brand awareness is the extent to which your company is recognized by your target market. Do they know exactly who you are and what you stand for? If they need a product or service that you offer, will your company immediately come to mind? If you have high brand awareness, the answer to those questions will likely be “yes.”
Rising to top-of-mind status — and staying there — isn’t easy. But increased brand awareness results in greater trust, improved loyalty and higher engagement across every customer touchpoint. Why? Because people are more likely to buy (and keep buying) from a company they know. At the end of the day, promotional offers will only go so far, and buyers will always gravitate to the name they trust most — the one they know is credible, experienced and reliable. And that’s especially true for B2B buyers.
Lead generation campaigns use more specific content and offers that coincide with prospect needs when they’re typically further along in the sales process. They almost always request more information — typically through an online form — in exchange for a whitepaper, a free trial or consultation. But generating leads is much harder if you don’t have brand awareness. Why? We mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth repeating: People are less likely to buy from you if they don’t know who you are. Why Lead Gen Can Falter on its Own
We see this with new companies, who are often surprised at how few leads they’re able to generate with a given campaign. Meanwhile, established companies with high brand awareness don’t have to work nearly as hard to achieve much better results from their lead-gen efforts.
This makes perfect sense: it’s unrealistic to think that the very first time someone sees your brand as part of a lead generation campaign, they will take notice, do the needed research, recognize your value and contact a salesperson. You need frequent, cumulative exposure to create interest. And even if a prospect ends up registering for a webinar or downloading a whitepaper, it may still take multiple touches to nurture that lead. This is when brand awareness becomes particularly valuable.
Brand Awareness and Lead Gen: A Winning Combination
Studies have shown that B2B buyers are often more than halfway through the buying process before they even reach out to a salesperson. And that’s especially true in today’s pandemic-influenced world, which increasingly revolves around remote work and digital interactions with B2B brands.
In this environment, smart companies understand that investments in both brand awareness AND lead generation are the key ingredients of a successful long-term marketing strategy. They also realize they will likely rely less on traditional B2B marketing activities (i.e., events and tradeshows) and more on digital tactics to reach buyers that are increasingly going online for much of their buying journey. So what exactly does this winning combination of brand awareness and lead generation look like in our digital world?
Let’s say a buyer in your target market is doing some online research early in the buying process. She’s never done business with you, but during her research, the buyer had some exposure to your company through a long-term brand awareness campaign you’re running on several trusted industry websites.
A few months later, you target this buyer via email as part of a lead-gen campaign, where you’re offering an opportunity to download a whitepaper that discusses some industry trends and how they will impact your target market. The buyer remembers seeing your recent brand ads AND thinks the whitepaper would be a valued addition to her research, so she completes the form and downloads it. As an initial touchpoint, your brand campaign has already paved the way for a more receptive lead — and hopefully a future sale.
Here at GrowthMode, we can help you align your marketing strategy with the right balance of brand awareness and lead-generation activities to drive faster growth for your company. Contact us today to learn more.