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Why Having No Long-Term business Strategy Sells Your Brand Short

Why Having No Long-Term business Strategy Sells Your Brand Short

Why Having No Long-Term business Strategy Sells Your Brand Short

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are in overdrive. Trying to find a space for themselves in ultra-competitive markets, the digitisation of every aspect of our lives has created both new opportunities, and new pressures.

Concurrently, consumers are becoming increasingly savvier in where they spend their money. An underlying element of distrust in digital advertising – exemplified by the rise of ad blockers – and squeezes on spending power only add to the difficulties brands and agencies face.

We need to focus on the bigger picture

Yet, ultimately, we are our own worst enemies. With stakeholders and board members demanding instant results, advertisers are prioritising short-term sales targets over brand growth. Agencies, armed with cutting-edge analysis tools that can measure Cost Per Sale, Lead and Response in real time and optimise campaign activity accordingly, are allowing this culture to embed itself within the industry.

Since both parties lose out in these circumstances, it’s time to be more assertive in our support of longer-term, bigger-picture strategies.

Having short-term goals is, of course, important to the success of a wider marketing strategy. The significance of the word ‘wider’, however, cannot be overlooked. For whilst pay per click, online display and paid social media ads can be efficient in delivering short spikes in sales, those spikes will only become harder to achieve in the following year without a broader brand building strategy in place.

Committing to the cause

A truly successful marketing plan requires two key commitments from the advertiser. The first is to ensure there is a balance between mass reach medias that maximise coverage, forge credibility and create memorability – think TV, outdoor and radio – with the more targeted and interactive short-term sales activation channels detailed above.

With both sides working harmoniously together, advertisers are not only boosting their chances of converting customers ready to buy now; they’re also implanting their brand in the purchase considerations of consumers who may one day become customers.

The second is long-term investment. At a time when consumers are increasingly looking for purpose, values and value in their choice of brand, businesses need to consistently communicate compelling causes and propositions through quality creatives. The need to cultivate trust, authenticity and stature is acute.

Providing the right environment

As for agencies, our responsibilities center on creating an environment where businesses can feel confident and empowered in committing to a longer-term approach.

We need to ensure businesses are able to build their brand with scale, while providing a level of expertise that melds the various components of a multichannel strategy into one seamless campaign that maximizes the strengths of each.

Our value resides in identifying the right media combinations, buying inventory that represents value for money to the client, and ensuring short-term sales targets are met within the wider context of a successful brand building campaign.

Unfulfilled potential

A paranoia exists in the business industry that, by evangelising on the importance of the long-term, we risk casting ourselves as unscrupulous money-grabbers – in fact, the opposite is true. By continuing to focus on short-term gains, we are depriving clients of the opportunity to realise their full potential.

Ultimately, from shareholder down to media executive on both sides, we need to embrace the bigger picture, and realise that, by concentrating on long-term brand growth, businesses stand the best chance of reaching out to new eyeballs, increasing customer acquisition rates, and securing a larger share of their market. Isn’t that the end goal, after all?

Why a marketplace is not the end of B2B brand building: 5 key insights

Why a marketplace is not the end of B2B brand building: 5 key insights

Why a marketplace is not the end of B2B brand building: 5 key insights

Putting your products on a B2B marketplace inevitably involves some loss of control over the customer experience. But it doesn’t have to lead to the slow erosion of your brand, as many B2B professionals fear.

Here are six insights into how brand building and marketplaces can go well together in B2B. These are valid in any domain, be it industrial manufacturing, consumer goods, pharma or others.

1. Your brand is not your sales pitch

We shouldn’t confuse telling sales and marketing stories with building a band. Of course, relying on a B2B marketplace gives you less space and fewer options to communicate your message than a branded e-commerce website or a face-to-face PowerPoint-driven meeting. But we should not take the shortcut into thinking that our brand exists only in those stories, and because of those stories.

The marketplace is a channel; it’s where people go to buy your product, not to form their opinions of your products and your company. The brand precedes all that, or it should, because if you go on to a marketplace without a strong brand how do you differentiate yourself? This might not be as important if you are operating in a highly commoditized market or in low consideration products, but it still matters.

2. Your “good old website” is still key

Some B2B companies think about “marketplace” or “e-commerce” as either/or options, but they are not mutually exclusive. A digital sales strategy shouldn’t hinge on just “the marketplace” or just “the website” – it’s not a matter of one over the other.

Marketplace or not, it is crucial to have a strong website on your own domain to build your online brand presence. Make sure your good old “corporate site” is one supercharged with content marketing, with a confident push to social media and of course, direct marketing.

One of the main reasons for this is that search engines are still a leading destination for B2B buyers to discover options, explore possibilities and evaluate alternatives. Another reason is that social media platforms have become as important in B2B as in our personal lives as consumers.

3. Your product or service might be the best vehicle for building your brand

The best opportunity to build a brand is when your customers are actually using your products or services. That’s when the customer really starts to build loyalty with your unique brand qualities, and advocate it.

If you can augment your product or service with digital services (think self-service portal, online account management, subscriptions) you have an even greater opportunity to build your unique brand and take ownership of the customer experience, regardless of whether the product was purchased from your site or via a marketplace.

4. B2B e-commerce can further power your brand

Marketplaces can be the perfect channel for your digitalization, but we rarely advise having them as the only channel, except perhaps in the early phases of a digital transformation.

What we typically see is that combining marketplaces with e-commerce offers the best way to widen your reach as much as possible.

Marketplaces can be used for the part of your product portfolio that appeals to a broad audience and they will undoubtedly help you reach many new customers; you can then use your own B2B e-commerce site to deliver the more premium elements of your overall offering or provide added-value services that cannot be delivered via a standard marketplace.

If you can take your customers from business marketplaces to your own e-commerce area, you’ll be able to further develop your brand story and make sure it has an impact.

5. Marketplaces still offer branding options.

We should also say that while B2B marketplaces are often limited and will keep you at a distance from your customers most of the time, they all offer some tools for branding or digital marketing such as mini-sites, user reviews, promotions and others.

Admittedly, these come at a price, but they should not be underestimated. They can be instrumental in making a difference for potential buyers evaluating many options.

In short, don’t just push your product to the marketplace and forget about it but consider the marketplace as a real extension of your digital marketing toolset.

4 key lessons for businesses in 2022

4 key lessons for businesses in 2022

4 key lessons for businesses in 2022

2021 really kept businesses on their toes. But if trying times are good for anything, it’s that they force us to refine what’s really important: the strategies that actually help us to succeed as a community. All the experience we’ve collected this year is just too valuable to leave in 2021, so we squeezed everything we’ve learnt while working with top brands into these five essential business lessons to take forward into 2022.

1.) Tell your sustainability story

We all know that the key to securing brand growth, year on year, is data-led creative content that reaches consumers where and when they want it. Nothing’s changing there. But what do consumers want to see in 2022?

Surprise! It’s sustainability. According to research, one in three consumers claim to have stopped purchasing specific brands and products in 2021 because they had sustainability-related concerns about them. And just like the digital revolution, this trend is rising faster than we might realize.

In 2022, your modern content marketing strategy still has to be relentlessly consumer-first, but it also has to be planet-first. Wherever your brand is on this journey, this is the year we all have to start telling sustainability stories and inspiring our consumers and sectors to do better. Your relevance and the future of the planet depend on it.

2).Align marketing and e-commerce to optimize and grow D2C sales

The rising consumer demand for online purchasing has been a big deal for digital development over the pandemic. Some global fast moving consumer goods brands have responded by experimenting with direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales, launching their own e-commerce offerings and channels. And they’re definitely onto something.

Owning e-commerce can give brands that extra level of control over their customer journeys, but only if those channels are directly aligned with marketing insights and data-led consumer journey mapping.

In the year ahead, this D2C movement will only mature if developed on a cross-functional level. That means marketing and digital teams need to align around customer personas and insights in order to reach the right audiences at the right time.

3.) Adopt an agile, fast and experiment-led approach to beat your competitors

The ability to move quickly and adapt to complex digital and consumer climates is no longer just a competitive advantage for modern businesses. When uncertain times are testing us, we need to be constantly testing our strategies and processes against them.

Experimentation doesn’t have to mean big, innovative leaps that shake the status-quo in risky and expensive ways every time. This new year, let’s all start seeing innovation as just the pursuit of fast and frequent marginal gains.

With the right processes, systems and permissions so experiment embedded into your marketing strategy and overall company mindset, success can be rapid measured, and scaled with no need for big budgets or vast amounts of time. In 2022, failures are the new gains.

4.) Nurture the right skills to improve performance in the face of change

Innovation isn’t the only process that needs a mindset makeover this new year. We also need to redefine how we value and measure growth.

Real, sustained business growth comes from nurturing lasting in-house capabilities that build the most creative, robust, and resilient marketing teams. The investment of time and budget into training and development should be an integral part of this year’s marketing strategy. Because strategy with a long-term focus on people, purpose and processes enables teams to achieve consistent learnings and wins.