Demand Generation for B2B Marketers
In the dark old days of 2012, the process of tracking a lead through a sales cycle was a slow, manual process. With the rise of automation platforms and integrated CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot, our pipelines are now routinely filled with promising leads. The only problem? Everyone else has access to the same toolkit. What might have been considered a competitive advantage is now table stakes. Demand generation might fill the barrel with fish, but it’s the strength of a brand that hooks the lead.
Refresh Your Brand
According to Forrester Research, 68 percent of B2B marketers said refreshing a company’s brand was the most important step to take in 2017.
“If your prospective customer doesn’t know your company or solution – or worse, your company or product value proposition messaging doesn’t resonate with them – it doesn’t matter how savvy your demand strategy,” says Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate. “There’s a resurgence underway to refocus on brand and positioning, baking these necessities into the demand marketing effort.”
As the role of demand generation evolves alongside technology, how we utilize this information should evolve in tandem. It’s something that Vaughan calls “brand plus demand,” a layered approach that combines the strengths of a strong brand with the tools of great tech.
A Brand Is a Promise Delivered
Not all salespeople are religious, but every sale is an act of faith. The best way to build trust is with a purposeful brand promise. A brand promise is not a slogan or an advertising headline, it’s a natural extension of your mission, vision, and values. By establishing clear and consistent value messaging, potential customers can quickly determine if your solution is the right one for them.
Your brand promise provides more than just an appealing narrative – it can act as your company’s North Star for how you communicate, who you communicate with, and even the look and feel of your design. When it’s working right, your brand promise should filter and refine your demand.
Make Your Brand Experience Delightful
So, demand generation has led hundreds of new eyeballs to your brand. What do they see when they first land? More importantly, how do they feel? All that awareness and relevance will be wasted if your brand experience isn’t a positive one.
Thoughtful brand experiences and communications not only build trust – they win business. From your website design to your blog posts to the contents of your white papers, every experience is a chance to demonstrate a sense of authenticity and purpose. Make every inch of your brand work to create demand for your unique offering.
The Power of Personas
Typically, B2B decision makers are a team of buyers, not a single person. As such, the one-size-fits-all lead doesn’t work anymore. Create unique brand personas to discover what your audience needs, wants, and feels. What makes them anxious? What makes them feel fired-up? What’s the worst part of their day? Can you fix that?
As Paul Graham of Y Combinator says, “The hard part is not answering questions, but asking them. The hard part is seeing something new that users lack. The better you understand them, the better the odds of doing that.”
Brand + Demand = Success
So, maybe everyone’s pipeline is overflowing with leads. If you want to win business, you don’t necessarily have to say it first – you just have to say it best. Differentiate yourself with a compelling brand promise, go after your personas, and make every experience emotive.
“The reality is that sustained demand marketing success relies on brand strength and differentiations,” concludes Vaughan. “It’s not brand versus demand. Rather it’s brand with demand.”
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.