B2B Research – Brand verses Demand Gen

I was extremely interested to see some coverage of a research piece between Ziff Davis Enterprise, Forbes and B2B agency Stein Rogan and Partners. The article link on B2B magazine can be found here.

Firstly the findings that a majority of B2B marketers (64%) are giving equal weight to branding and demand gen is reassuring. Over the last 2 years we have found the tech market has shifted heavily towards lead generation, many times at the expense of more identifiable branding initiatives. This is also compounded by a shift to more digitally based, response focused media, often as we know at the expense of traditional media formats like print.

Now don’t get me wrong – it’s my personal opinion that lead gen and branding are entirely compatible, indeed the assets used to generate leads are often the “deliverable proof” of some higher brand promise (proving a technology leadership position, innovation in the field, improved servicing of a market segment, better customer service, etc).

However there’s a mind set question here. In many companies lead or demand gen is operated separately from corporate or brand communications. For marketers to realize the joint goals they set forth in the research, it’s going to be critical to see more integration of these two components.

As a second side note the views on mix of media used for branding is fascinating. OOH at 72% and social media at 69% ahead of broadcast and print 68% and 64% respectively bodes well for the OOH industry but really throws up another key point.

Social media is, by it’s nature unpredictable. My opinions here could in theory attract negative views from the market and may impact on my company brand. With social being a much more dynamic environment and less controllable, are marketers taking a huge risk by giving it such a huge role in brand development? It absolutely has a role to play. Giving it the right weight in the mix is where the questions lies.

These are interesting and highly dynamic times. B2B marketing departments and service companies as well as publishers are indeed set for exciting changes. The real winners will be those that get the media mix right and successfully integrate all the components. That change will need to start internally, with bigger broader campaign initiatives, real vision and use of appropriate metrics.

Dick Reed
Just Media, Inc.

Posted on September 24, 2009 in Dick Reed

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