Unlike most B2C marketers, many B2B companies invest little or no resources (both time and money) in understanding brand awareness, but Harvard Business School Marketing Professor John Quelch challenges this position. His reasons:
- Most B2B marketers cannot economically address thousands of small businesses using the traditional direct sales force.
- If left unattended, individual managers will each do their own ad hoc marketing.
- B2B marketers are realizing that developing brand awareness among their customers' customers can capture a larger share of channel margins and build loyalty that can protect them against lower-priced competitors.
CEOs cannot assume that the brand identity which was carefully crafted in the mission and vision of the company can remain intact if there are no processes in place to assure the brand continuity remains in alignment throughout the day-to-day operations of the organization and all communications with current and potential customers.
Measuring B2B Brand Awareness
First, research should be conducted on a frequent enough basis to be able to detect any changes in brand awareness or perception from one study to the next — every 18 to 24 months is a typical frequency. Since the questions are fairly direct, limited in depth, and the typical sample size necessary is normally between 50 and 400, the most cost-effective method is usually an online survey. An additional approach may be to couple brand awareness research with other customer research. Because this will typically only add a few more questions, the additional cost is minimal.
Most brand studies are also conducted by a third party, as self-conducted brand awareness studies can create “false positive awareness response bias” which can occur if the brand is exposed in the qualification or recruitment process. Although this is not normally an issue, it should be considered when writing the necessary scripts for the entire survey process.
One critical factor when designing the brand awareness process is the manner in which the data will be segmented. Data segmentation should be pre-determined, as the necessary sample size must be determined for each segment, assuring common margins of error or accuracy levels for each segment. Examples of segmentation schemes include: geographic regions, business types (distributors, wholesalers, and retailers), sales volume, or end use market. The following table can be used to determine the proper sample size:
Creating B2B Brand Awareness
It is generally agreed in the marketing world that content marketing is a great avenue to increase brand awareness in the B2B space. A 2013 study by the Content Marketing Institute reveals brand awareness has been a top goal for B2B marketers and that 58 percent of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets. Key distribution methods for content are typically, blogs, industry publications, as well as traditional social media channels (LinkedIn and Twitter). When publishing content, it is essential that it strategically supports the brand, and is pertinent, useful, and highlights thought leadership. Developing a content strategy will help to ensure everything published will increase and enhance brand awareness.
Interested to learn more practical strategies related to market research? Check out MarketResearch.com's free eBook How to Succeed Using Market Research.
This post was written by Priority Metrics Group (PMG), a MarketResearch.com partner in custom research.
Priority Metrics Group (PMG) is a professional marketing consulting firm based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. PMG provides customized research, analysis, and consultation services designed to generate profitable growth for clients. They work with leading organizations in a variety of manufacturing and service industries. They are experts at gathering and processing market information, analyzing data, and translating information into actionable growth initiatives.