What is the place of branding for B2B Tech companies in a time of marketing automation?
A few days ago, I stumbled upon an article entitled, “Everything is branding: The expanding influence of the CMO”. Yes, everything is branding, even if current marketing innovation trends seem to make us believe that results and analytics prevail. So, in a time of marketing automation, what place does branding hold for B2B tech companies?
On the importance of branding for B2B Tech companies
“Branding is everything” is a statement that doesn’t only apply to consumer brands. Branding is something that tech companies need to better take into account.
There is a feeling in the tech industry, and especially among young B2B startups, that technology is everything. Many companies created by engineers and developers rely on only their technology. Marketing and building a brand come later in the game. And when things start to go wrong, marketing usually takes the first hit.
Tech companies often forget that products don’t sell themselves. They forget that their competitors also claim to have the best, the most innovative, the most revolutionary, the most disruptive (the list goes on and on) technology, app, software, solution, platform, etc.
The companies that take the lead are usually the ones that can offer a consistent brand and experience at every touchpoint. They are the ones that valued the importance of branding and marketing from the start. More than the technology they sell, they become a brand that consumers recognize and want. A strong brand ensures a company’s survival if, for any reason, situations change and the organization must pivot.
Even in a B2B world, customers choose a brand as much as they choose a solution. Let’s not forget that we’re in fact selling to human beings and not a target audience. A strong brand means reassurance, respect and trust. Consumers (people) make decisions based on facts and results, but also follow their instincts and emotions and there is always a part of the decision making that can’t be measured. So which of these B2B tech companies winning the brand game? Well, for example, Zendesk, Asana, Slack, Hubspot or New Relic.
Branding in a time of marketing automation
For CMOs the pressure to deliver qualified leads is high. Optimizing your tech stack to make sure you deliver the best results and prove your value to the rest of the organization is top priority. Marketing automation is at the top of the list as it’s the best way to maintain the volume of interactions that can deliver results. But it doesn’t mean that generating leads replaces the necessity to build a strong brand. Both objectives go hand in hand. And you can actually do both at the same time. Just remember that building a brand can’t be done overnight or through one single big advertising campaign.
Building a brand takes time, commitment, efforts and consistency. Every time your logo appears somewhere, it contributes to building your brand. Every time you send an (automated) email, post a blog article, display a banner, push a whitepaper out into the world, you expose your brand to the eyes of your prospects and consumers.
Take, for example, a lead gen campaign. The email you send to your database, the banner you promote on LinkedIn, the landing page, the thank you page, the assets people are downloading — all represent an interaction with your brand and contribute to building a strong brand experience that matters in a competitive market.
At Sköna, we understand the need to generate leads and drive volume without losing sight of your brand. Yes, you must get your tools up and running. Tracking and automation is paramount. BUT — once those are in place, you’re not off the hook. This is where the work of staying on-message and on-brand begins. So to help, we create guidelines and templates that ensure the creativity, quality and consistency of all those little pieces. We help tech companies build strong brands, one little touchpoint at a time.