There is a lot of confusion around brand. It’s one of those words widely used but not widely understood. Is it just a logo, a color palette and a trendy sans serif font? Or is it bringing clarity to your offering and perception in the market? Just what is brand marketing? And can it be measured?
What brand marketing is not is slapping your name and logo everywhere with the hope the carpet-bombing exposure is sufficient to sell your product. What it is not is tattooing your logo on someone’s forehead.
“That’s branding, but that’s like branding with cow and cattle back in the day for ownership and territory,” said Paige Musto, Act-On’s senior director for corporate communications.
That approach may have worked in the past, but today’s brand marketers are more sophisticated.
Your brand is your most valuable intellectual property. It represents your business’s identity, enhances your culture and extends your value proposition.
“The brand is very important because it is the first touch point, the first exposure that a potential buyer, a potential partner, a potential influencer has with your brand and with your company,” Musto said.
Too often, today’s marketer is defined as a demand marketer, or the function of generating the demand that sales then takes and closes. At Act-On, we see the marketing discipline segmented in three key areas: Brand, Demand and Expand.
“Marketing is more than just acquisition of net new leads” Musto said. “It’s more than just generating the end results of new business.”
This kind of oversimplification shortchanges what marketers are doing across the entire buyer’s journey. As a counter to this generalization, Act-On is releasing a series of videos styled in the Big Short way of using metaphors to humorously explain Brand, Demand, Expand and how marketing automation can help marketers adapt to the ever-changing buyer’s journey.
Musto’s brand team at Act-On is typical for a mid-sized B2B company. They manage analyst and press relations, corporate and internal communications, events, social media and all the components to brand identity.
But real life — and your buyer’s journey — doesn’t recognize the fixed borders of Brand, Demand and Expand (also known as the Attract, Capture, Nurture, Convert and Expand stages in a lead life cycle).
Instead, one often affects the other. For example, a successful Expand marketing program results in your customers renewing and upselling, as well as becoming advocates for your company and brand.
“With our platform,” Musto said. “We’ve created an integrated workspace because we understand where the handoffs are and how the work flows happen within those different departments. We’re trying to articulate how our technology can help foster that environment within a marketing organization.”
And marketing automation can help brand marketers in several ways: brand identity management, social publishing, press release attribution, corporate and internal communications, event management and influencer relations.
You can use your marketing automation media library to be the repository for your brand’s logo, website headers, footers and other templates, and other branded assets. That’s where your Demand and Expand teams can go to grab resources when building a landing page or creating an email. And with Act-On Anywhere (a Chrome browser app), your marketing and sales teams can access brand elements even as they work in other applications.
You can also use marketing automation to create trackable URLs for press releases that will help you measure press release engagement and see how they contribute to your sales.
Just as you would send a newsletter or other communication to a prospect list, you can do the same for your internal communications and track employee engagement on corporate/HR campaigns.
Whether it’s a virtual event or a customer workshop, marketing automation allows you to manage the process and track engagement from email invitations to reminders to post-event follow-ups. You can create an automated workflow (save the date, official invite, seats are limited, registration responder and reminders), then reuse and refine the workflow for the next event.
“As a PR person or a brand person, you have your list of stakeholders,” Musto said. “These are typically the influencers you want to get in front of. You want to nurture them just like you would a potential buyer.
“But the outcome would be a mention in a research report or a quote in a key publication, or a written article about your company. The end deliverable is different. It’s not a dollar revenue thing; it’s qualitative storytelling that you’re looking to get out of them.”
She said you can manage your press lists just as you would your lead lists, and you can do segmentation off both the behavioral intelligence that your marketing automation collects and the demographic data from the CRM.
“The system does a great job at being able to score, segment, and track all stakeholder types,” she said, “just like you do with your prospects and customers.”