If you are wondering why is brand important for B2B marketing, this article goes over the changing behavior of B2B buyers and how to meet their needs.
We’ve had a few transformative years. Many of us have been affected by the pandemic, social turmoil, political division, etc.
Overcoming some of these challenges does not mean that everything will be resolved immediately. But it still brings with it a number of new goals and responsibilities that we must achieve in order to be able to look back and appreciate the progress. On top of that list should be giving your brand a strong position in the market.
Branding is the nuanced art of actively shaping your brand. It is how a company gets recognition and becomes known to the customers.
The most prominent brands have long been available for direct-to-consumer sales. It’s not often that you hear about B2B companies being highlighted as the best examples of brands in the world – usually Apple and Nike top the list.
So many B2B buyers are working from home, consuming the content, and interacting with businesses almost entirely through digital channels. Therefore, having a strong B2B brand has become even more important.
Make Yourself Heard Through The Digital Noise
Nowadays everything happens digitally. As you can see from your schedule, Zoom usage has increased by over 100% since the beginning of the pandemic.
The overall internet usage has increased by at least 40% compared to the time before all the work-from-home changes. However, this upswing is not only related to work. The huge increase is probably also due to the occasional gaming and a bit of entertainment between those Zoom meetings.
What does this mean for companies and marketers? Here are some of the benefits:
- The increased conversion rate for paid searches
- Increased video consumption
- Increased traffic to small and medium-sized businesses
- Record high usage of social media
In summary, this means that more people than ever click on your ads, visit your website, and generally notice that you are out there on the web. And that in turn means that you get the opportunity to connect with a lot of buyers and make your brand stand out from the crowd.
But it also means that there is more competition than ever before.
Why Is A Strong Brand Important
Marketers target areas where the buyers are. Before the pandemic, marketers focused on in-person marketing via trade shows and events. Others were more into digital channels. Some found that it worked well with mainstream traditional media.
Regardless of which method worked best for you, it was still – a mix. This allowed brands to try their luck via different channels with less competition.
But after the onset of the pandemic, digital channels suddenly became the only way to reach the buyer. The marketers, therefore, did what they always do and met the buyers where they were located.
As a result, everything has become a little more difficult, and in order for you to succeed, it is now necessary that your brand has a strong position in the market.
That doesn’t mean that you have to try to reach every single buyer out there. But it does mean that you have to be crystal clear about who you’re reaching out to, what you can help them with, and why your buyers should trust you more than your competitors.
Branding promotes recognition and it very succinctly makes a promise to your customers. If you fail to do this, you will simply get lost in the noise – and that noise is not going to die down anytime soon.
ABM Is More Important Than Ever Before
According to Demandbase, investment in account-based marketing (ABM) increased by 6% from 2019 to 2020 for fully invested teams and by 10% for those new to the field.
For those who don’t know what ABM is, it is primarily a sales and marketing strategy where you jointly target specific accounts. The marketing team carries out campaigns and advertising for companies, while the sales team addresses individuals with personalized offers.
Here’s the thing: ABM works — only if your brand can back it up and provide a strong foundation to build on.
We’ve all received phone calls or emails from a company we’ve never heard of before. How many times have you purchased a product or service from them? Probably not many. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times a cold phone call has worked for me.
But if a brand is constantly in front of you and confidently tells its story, that cold call takes on superpowers. Namely, it turns a cold outreach into a warm one.
Branding Improves Recognition
Consumers are much more likely to listen to a salesperson if they recognize the company’s name. And even more so if it turns out that they would be helped by the offer given by the company.
But with a weak brand, the ABM strategy won’t be easy even for the most skilled salespeople. If the company has no clear position in the market, the buyer will only wonder why they are being contacted.
How could the buyer get any help from the call? What does your company have to offer? And most importantly, why should the buyer even care?
Branding improves recognition and all of these concerns will be addressed even before your sales team begins to do their work. Brands signify your intent and building a brand helps you to create trust with your target market.
If you really want to succeed in sales, you should give the sales team a strong profile of your brand and a clear value to the buyer.
Consumers Want To Hear Your Opinion
Regardless of who you sell to, your consumers demand that your brand has clear values. As Gap clearly demonstrated with its half-blue, half-red sweater, trying to play somewhere in between doesn’t work very well for most brands.
Silence is not an option.
Consumers want to buy from brands that align with their own values, and many do research online before making a purchase to find out how well the brand’s values align with their own.
They are not satisfied with a simple little message either. They want brands to dare to stand up for themselves and their positions.
Millennials in particular seek out and buy from brands that clearly show where they stand on issues related to racism, injustice, and environmental issues. When done right, it creates loyal customers.
Does that mean your brand has to trumpet a lot of advertising about what you think about equality and sustainability? No. And if you can’t back it up with your actions, don’t even try. Consumers don’t buy that.
Find out how strong your brand is by answering the following questions:
- Do your consumers have a clear picture of your values and do you showcase those values in a way other than through an “About Us” page on your website?
- Do your employees understand and act according to these values?
- Does your marketing reflect the values?
These are tough questions, but you need to address them if you want to build a strong foundation for your brand going forward.
It’s Easy When Everyone Wins
Before the pandemic, the US was in an 11-year upward trend. Many companies experienced record-breaking success. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely easier.
What happened during the transition to 2020? Hard work paid off for those who had put in the work. The ones who had built a good foundation for their brand were able to take great strides forward in 2020 and would continue to do so in the future.
According to McKinsey & Company, B2B buyers increasingly expect the companies they buy from at work to offer the same kind of experience as the brands they buy from at home.
This means that you have the opportunity to stand out from your competitors by differentiating your brand and bringing it to life by offering various products and services.