It's Time For B2B Brand Equity To Step Out Of The Shadows

Dipanjan Chatterjee

B2B brand management has come a long way from its roots in consumer packaged goods and has gradually branched out to play an equally central role in B2B markets. B2B CMOs are just as invested in bettering their brands as B2C. No longer relegated to industry rags and trade shows, B2B marketing is entering a new age, with firms like CA Technologies, General Electric, and IBM in the vanguard. At a Forrester event, General Electric CMO Linda Boff remarked that GE is often the first brand —not just the first B2B brand —on platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Vine.

But are most B2B brands successful in following in the footsteps of these trail blazers? Forrester research with over 1,000 B2B and B2C decision-makers reveals mixed results. Here's the good news: B2B CMOs include Brand in their top three priorities and consider Brand Management to be the strongest skill set in the department. But here's where it gets ugly: 25% of B2B CMOs consider Brand Awareness an important marketing metric; only 15% believe Brand Equity is important.     

This chasm between awareness and equity, which also exists for B2C brands, can prove particularly vexing and stubborn for B2B because of some commonly held misconceptions:

  1. Brand matters more for B2C (a lingering notion despite being soundly dispelled)
  2. The role of brand (in a traditional sales-driven culture) is to drive awareness and fill the mouth of the funnel (the reality points to a vital role in securing choice and loyalty)
  3. Brand Equity is amorphous, eludes specification, and hence best avoided (there exist many robust quantitatively-specified equity models
Read more

Missed Some Of Our Business Insights Research In 2016?

B2B Buyers Make The Case For Better Marketing And Sales Alignment

Mary Shea

 

Are your marketing and sales teams caught in that endless loop of finger pointing? B2B sellers who complain about lead quality/quantity and marketers who criticize sellers for poor follow up? After years of acknowledging their issues with each other, many B2B marketing and sales teams continue to be at odds. Just “google” marketing and sales relationships and see what you find. I did and I surfaced 98 million results! Titles such as: “The Rocky Road Between Sales and Marketing” and “How to Survive a Soured Sales and Marketing Relationship” show the dissonance and drama still very much in play.

Five years into the age of the customer and the modern B2B buyer has high expectations. They’re more knowledgeable, independent and self-directed than ever. They no longer rely on your sales people for product, pricing and other information. And they don’t want to be told what they already know. As I explore in our recently published report, B2B Buyers Mandate A New Charter For Marketing And Sales, the empowered B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured and who’s responsible for the content on your website, nor are they interested in talking to a sales rep simply because they downloaded a white paper. Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey. And, by in large, they want their experiences with sales people to be high value or frictionless. Think of a 2 or 5-star hotel experience – each has its merits - but 3 and 4-star hotels often disappoint.

Read more

European consumers may be active on social networks – but does that mean they use social in their path to purchase?

Samantha Merlivat
To understand how open customers are to receiving messages from brands in social media, the question has to shift from “How social are our customers?” to “How social are our customers in their path to purchase?” 
 
Given the amount of time consumers spend on social networks, marketers intuitively know they need to be present on social media but many still struggle to pin point exactly:
 
  • Why they need a social presence - or rather, how they can be relevant on social media,
  • How much resources to invest in social media,
  • And where to invest these resources.
 
Forrester has developed the Social Technographics Framework to help marketers address exactly these questions. Using Forrester data to analyze the social behavior of various consumer groups and their inclination to use social touchpoints in their interactions with brands, the framework helps marketers determine:
 
  1. How important social media should be to their marketing plan
  2. When their audiences rely on social touchpoints in their customer journey 
  3. What social touchpoints their audiences use, and to what ends 
Read more

The Data Digest: A Year Of Goodbyes (And Hellos)

Reineke Reitsma

As a music lover, this has been a year of goodbyes for me, with many of my teenage heroes like David Bowie, Prince, and earlier this week, George Michael, passing away. It makes you realize how fast time moves on, and nothing lasts forever. As I’ve shared before, I love this time of year: Thinking about what has been, and having a world of opportunities in front of us. And I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.

This year, there were a number of surprises and new developments that nobody predicted. And 2016 was the year of Pokémon. As my colleague Anjali Lai shared in an earlier blog post about this phenomenon: “The Pokémon Go phenomenon is not only about adopting technology or using new, cutting-edge features; it is also about designing a sticky experience that is enabled by the ways customers are changing.”

Read more

Physical Spaces Find A New Purpose In A Digital World

Riccardo Pasto

China is set overtake the US as the largest retail market by the end of 2016, with retail sales approaching $4.9 trillion. In the Customer Experience Takes Center Stage In The Future Of Retail report, we outline the forces that are reshaping China's retail landscape and driving this massive growth. A handful of Chinese internet giants — Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu, and Tencent — are battling to gain dominance in online-to-offline (O2O) commerce and local services, logistics infrastructure and last-mile delivery, fresh food eCommerce, and cross-border eCommerce. Consumers in metro China have quickly grown more sophisticated, demanding consistent, high-quality interactions with brands. To further improve customer experiences and grow sustainably in China's retail market, successful retailers:

  • Fuse the online and offline worlds. O2O strategies draw customers from online channels to physical ones and vice versa. The ultimate goal is to blur channels and create seamless omnichannel CX. Customers don't think in terms of channels, and you shouldn't either. CX pros must work closely with enterprise architecture pros to break down data silos and build agility across systems, processes, and organizations in their company.
Read more

Categories:

Digital Insurance Success Demands New Metrics

Zhi-Ying Ng

Digital technologies are transforming the entire value chain of insurance, not only opening up new distribution opportunities, but also altering how insurers can assess, price, and manage risks, and creating new distribution and business models. At Forrester, we have done extensive research over the past year that involved speaking to incumbent insurers and insurance technology providers, as well as leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital insurance strategy playbook. The playbook provides guidance that digital business strategy professionals need to formulate and hone their digital insurance strategy in the age of the customer.

We have recently published the executive overview, landscape, processes, assessment, and benchmark chapters.

Read more

It's Time To Rethink Digital Banking Metrics

Zhi-Ying Ng

This time of the year is significant not only because of the never-ending amount of Christmas log cakes (or puddings) that we guiltily consume without restraint at our offices, it is also when we sit together to talk about everything that has transpired in the past year. As we go into the festivities over the next few days, this is the time for us to pause and reflect on the things that have gone well, and those that haven’t quite gotten to the stage of being ideal.

For the financial services sector in particular, this means taking stock of your digital transformation journey by evaluating your progress in digital banking in the age of the customer.

At Forrester, we have done extensive research that involved speaking to incumbent banks globally and leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital banking strategy playbook. We have recently published the digital banking strategic plan, processes, and benchmark chapters. 

Read more

Forrester’s Top 10 B2B Marketing Blogs Of 2016

Caroline Robertson

As the number of days in 2016 winds down, my own days at Forrester are adding up. I recently joined Forrester as a new B2B marketing research director, working alongside Peter O’Neill. I appreciate how your appreciation of the insights and guidance from our team led to the need for more leadership, and I am thrilled to be here. So as I’ve been immersing myself in the team’s work, I thought that it would be as interesting to you as it was to me to see what our top 10 B2B marketing blogs of the year were. There were more than a quarter of a million reads of the team’s blogs in 2016, and I wanted to share the top 10 with you by readership.

10. Your B2B Prospects Don’t Want You To Call Them

Steve Casey, principal analyst, shared a fundamental truth of the post-digital world in this blog post. B2B buyers now strongly prefer to conduct their own research, without ever speaking with a sales rep. He recommends that marketers embrace this uncomfortable truth and spend more time considering how to make information readily available to these self-service buyers.

9. Marketo Goes Private: A New Epoch In Marketing Software May Have Just Begun

This blog by Peter O’Neill provided perspective on Marketo’s acquisition by Vista Equity Partners, which it announced inMay 2016. Lori Wizdo, principal analyst, also predicted this kind of move in April 2016 during an interview with CMSWire.

Read more

Not just good. Not just great. Build an amazing brand.

Dipanjan Chatterjee

There are plenty of good brands. And some great ones. But few can arouse the intensity of emotions that make them inseparable. Brands achieve resonance at the point of inflection where the interaction transforms from transaction to relationship. And like any relationship, resonance occurs in intensifying layers, with the best brands being able to trigger an enduring and self-amplifying relationship.  

Patagonia has practically written the book on how to do this right. Newer brands like Spanx and Dollar Shave Club have built a loyal following by rewriting the rules. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and CrossFit have built communities that thrive on shared experiences. And “legacy” brands like USAA and Delta Air Lines have effectively engaged their communities to strengthen their bond.

Forrester clients can read about these Resonant Brands in my new report (From Great To Amazing: Building Brands With Enduring Resonance). Here’s a quick preview of how CMOs can steer their brands towards Resonance:

 

Get Emotional

If you deliver a great customer experience, you’re halfway to building an amazing brand. Now, ramp up on emotional connections — they are much stickier than functional excellence.

Build Communities

An engaged community will do the heavy lifting around building brand and salience for you — if you give them a reason to. Create the right environment and the context for your brand communities to thrive.

Have A Unique Voice

Read more