The pressure between innovation and efficiency. Game on.

You can’t change the direction of the market wind, but you can adjust your sails to use both marketing innovation and efficiency to deliver results.

Ooh-wee, things are still not settled out there.

On the one hand, we are seeing massive leaps and bounds in B2B marketing innovation. Not to mention some skyrocketing valuations on the back of AI [Exhibit A: See NVIDIA stock price past 6 months. Exhibit B: See Databricks most recent funding and valuation.].

The Goal Posts Have Moved

On the other hand, many B2B brands are still being extremely cautious in spending. Especially with marketing. The goal posts have officially moved: Profitability over revenue growth.

The C-Suite and the board often just see marketing as an expense. A large expense. An expense that’s easy to cut when the belt needs to tighten. Gotta hit that quarterly profitability.

While I certainly don’t argue with hitting numbers (I run a business too), the role marketing plays in delivering numbers is often misunderstood.

Caught Between Innovation and Performance

The B2B marketers with whom I speak are living in the middle of it all. How do we leverage marketing innovation to deliver revenue performance while doing so extremely efficiently? How do we accelerate the deals and the purchase process at a time when sales cycles are getting longer?

Enter the age-old debate on demand vs brand. “We need leads now, so we aren’t cutting that. Cut the brand spend.” It beats a slap in the belly from a cold fish. Or does it really?

Brand and Performance Matter

Here’s the reality. The demand vs brand goal posts have also moved. In fact, the two are no longer mutually exclusive. Brand is not a luxury. Yes, the harsh reality is that sometimes marketing budgets get cut. Just don’t do it at the expense of full-funnel marketing.

Brand to performance is the key to alleviate the pressure between performance and efficiency.

To wit, here’s a favorite chart from LinkedIn’s B2B Institute:

Brand & acquisition marketing activity must work together to increase conversions rates -- and thus pipeline and revenue.

While I absolutely love the data and content from the B2B Institute, I need only look as far as our own client data to tell you this story. Brand to performance marketing works.

A Smart CMO

I chatted with a CMO customer at a well-known B2B brand this week. About $2.5B in revenue. She’s brilliant, and a cool person to boot. The type of you want to hang with after work. Since taking over marketing she’s helped her organization transform how they roll. The results have followed.

After years of working with this company running their demand gen (helping to drive billions in pipeline all told over the years), she was finally able to secure budget for upper-funnel marketing activity. Imagine that. Going beyond lead ads, retargeting, content syndication and search. I’m talking targeted high impact video, CTV, audio spots (podcasts mostly), OTT, and publisher partnerships.

And cool creative concepts. Memorable – not forgettable. And quality reach, not random reach. The buying committee on their global Target Account List (TAL).

Guess what? Big shocker. When running this upper-funnel “brand” activity, our bottom-of-funnel tactics saw 53% more efficient conversions. Our campaigns drove more than twice as many conversions YoY with significantly lower bottom-of-funnel investment. We drove higher quality leads. Improved down-funnel conversion rates – MQL to SQL to pipeline.

You Are One Company to Your Customers

Brand drives performance. At Just Global we call this a Connected Experience. We’ve even built an intelligent engine to power it. Your customers think about the holistic experience they have with your brand, and NOT in terms of branding, demand gen, or sales touch.

 So, let’s change the narrative. Brand is not a siloed activity or a luxury. Brand to performance is the way to ARR. Yeah, I hear ya “BrandGen” folks. Not a new concept. I get it. But our ability to track and measure the connection between brand marketing and performance marketing is a new world order. Break the silos.

Modern marketing is Brand to Performance delivered through amazing Connected Experiences with prospects/customers.

By the way, the same CMO I mentioned was asked to cut marketing budget recently. What did she do? She shared the impact of what cutting full-funnel marketing would have on MQLs and pipeline. She asked what BUs and Geos wanted to cut pipeline. She showed the data of the impact that would have – brilliant. Lo and behold, her budgets are holding flat!

Don’t sacrifice upper-funnel activity in the hope that lead generation will continue to deliver results alone, and adopt a Connected Experience approach.

If you’d like to discuss how your organization can adopt a Connected Experience approach, get in touch.

As a customer-focused business executive who prides himself on being a true partner to brands, Brandon has a successful track record across a myriad of disciplines centered around technology, marketing, media, content, and publishing ecosystems. He’s grown challenger brands into category leaders, steered brands through acquisitions and IPOs, and championed blue-chip enterprise businesses – all in the name of meaningful progress.

He joined Just Global in 2012 as President and elevated to CEO in early 2018. Friesen is responsible for pioneering the agency’s evolution from specialty media buying and planning to full-service marketing capabilities. Today the agency has delivered thousands of omni-channel, successful national and international campaigns for technology and related-industry customers.

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