How do you focus on brand awareness and lead generation?

How do you focus on brand awareness and lead generation?

Lately, many of my business-to-business (B2B) clients have expressed their desire to skip building brand awareness in favor of putting all their marketing dollars into lead generation. After all, marketing budgets are often tight, Sales is clamoring for leads, and executives want more revenue.

Clearly, my clients are not the only ones struggling with this issue, because Nielsen recently published a guide about it: “Building a marketing strategy for short-and long-term success.”

In the guide, Nielsen states, “As budgets get squeezed, it’s tempting to focus on sales outcomes as the main measure of marketing success. But awareness and consideration are non-negotiable parts of the pipeline.”

That’s exactly what I tell my clients: As badly as you want leads, you can’t skip the awareness stage of your pipeline. Prospects must know you exist before they can buy from you.

The good news is that you can create a marketing strategy that balances brand awareness with lead generation.

Stay true to your marketing mission

Regardless of whether you are focusing on brand awareness or lead generation, make sure all your brand’s content aligns with your marketing mission. Don’t have a marketing content mission? See our free template here.

Deliver a consistent message at all stages of the buyer journey

As always, I recommend creating a Message Map to ensure all your content – whenever it appears along the buyer journey – delivers a clear, credible message.

Even though each stage of the buyer journey calls for different types of content, your brand needs to deliver a consistent message to build confidence and credibility.

Once you have your Message Map, you then need to determine the right balance of awareness and demand generation for your brand. Because even though you’re being asked to generate leads, you simply can’t do that without some focus on brand awareness.

Do you have trouble persuading your leadership team that you need to put at least some budget toward awareness? Ask them if they would make a big-dollar purchase from a company they’d never heard of before.

brand awareness
Buyers must know your brand exists before they can purchase from you.

Many B2B purchases are riskier than consumer purchases, primarily because of the dollar amounts involved.

I’d certainly spend a few dollars to try a new drink from a brand I’d never heard of before. But would I spend thousands of dollars on new software for my business if I’d never heard of it before? Definitely not before I conducted a lot of research and spoke to some other customers.

That’s why B2B companies must focus on balancing brand awareness with lead generation.

Determining the right balance of awareness and lead generation

Nielsen recommends asking yourself 3 questions to help determine the mix for your brand:

  1. What are the minimum business requirements in the short term?
  2. Does the business have the flexibility to wait for longer-term outcomes?
  3. How are your competitors managing the balance of brand awareness with demand generation? In other words, how much marketing are your competitors doing at each stage of the buyer journey?

Even if you don’t have the flexibility to wait for longer-term outcomes, you still need to put some resources into brand awareness. The Nielsen report says, “Companies that try to take shortcuts often suffer the consequences.”

It can be tempting for companies to skip building brand awareness to generate leads. But doing so can be a recipe for disaster. To ensure long-term success, spread your marketing dollars carefully across a balance of brand awareness and lead generation.

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