I had the pleasure of attending TechTarget’s Online ROI Summit last week and discovered a marketing mentality that is incredibly obvious, yet I had never thought of it before. Marilou Barsam, TechTarget’s SVP of Client Consulting & Corporate Marketing, spoke to the concept of “convergence.” Specifically the convergence of branding and demand generation. To put the power of convergence into perspective, simply imagine all of your marketing activities on the web converging simultaneously on your prospects to inform and influence their perception of your brand.
The evolution of online marketing has proven that having a consistent brand convergence is essential. In the early 90’s, the number of eyeballs to graze your site (aka page views) was the only KPI (key performance indicator). There was no care for brand, just traffic. Fast forward to 2005, and marketing with online content starts to take shape. Having an online presence that’s consistent with your offline brand begins to become top of mind for marketers. This leads to 2008 with the emergence of social media. New metrics begin to emerge in discussions of ROI, such as time spent on a page and number of shares. Enter the recession. 2009 and 2010 became the years of analytics, where marketers began to realize the necessity of possessing activity intelligence.
Just kidding, Big Brother is not hiding under the guise of B2B marketer. The idea behind activity intelligence is gaining the insight into what potential buyers are doing throughout their research processes. No B2B marketer cares about or tracks your song downloads, picture views, clothing purchases, or quiz results. Tracking a few keywords can provide a vendor with valuable insight into what factors various buyers are weighing the heaviest in their decision-making process.
Now in 2011, everything has come together into one conglomerate of automated demand generation, nurturing processes, and active engagement. In line with all of this is the world of social, which has to be considered as not just conceptual but also pragmatic. It is here that the marketer’s focus should be focused on winning brand consideration mindshare. This strategy of combining meaningful branding plus effective lead generation can have a monumental influence on both awareness and purchase intent.
If you happen to be skeptical of brand and demand convergence, I’ll leave you with a few statistics to ponder over. In TechTarget’s recent report, Similarities in Brand Reception and Media Consumption of IT and Personal Technology Buyers, 60% of buyers reported being receptive to branding ads or email, and 40% to both. Add to this that 36% of IT buyers are experiencing a 2-6 month buying cycle. Things are speeding up, no doubt. There’s even a shift of media preferences, as more than 90% of buyers visit a vendor website after seeing an online ad.
The landscape is changing, it’s been said before. You’ve heard it before. Chances are you’re sick of hearing about the evolution of marketing. That doesn’t change the facts. Branding and Demand has to work together; the act of synergistically bringing these two major marketing activities together will truly prove that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.