One of the most frustrating times for a marketer is when a big brand approaches you with a little mind set – small targets, small impact, and small sales departments to accomplish minor frequencies from the norm. They want leads, they want impressions, and they want to promote their line of products from the board room when they revisit it from their bosses. It’s a typical scenario from any point of view, but it’s our job as marketers to set their expectations straight. Money alone can’t solve the problems of a faulty brand. Brands need careful consideration and flexibility to be able to survive in the marketplace in the long term. It’s the short-term mentality of most entrepreneurs and CEOs to create short term financial gains in their local areas.
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The strategy for effective execution should focus on two main goals – brand and lead.
A brand exists when you have a great product with great messaging and the solution actually solves a problem in the marketplace. For instance, an infrastructure company offering boring equipment can demonstrate long-term partnership value to the contractors and machinists. A great brand is a work of art and science. It’s the development process through which many products come and go but the overall mission and vision stays the same. This includes the cultural ethics of the company, the value provided by the product in question, and the marketplace dynamics through which the brand flows through the mind-set of the consumers. For example, a packaging company that understands the longevity of the product in the demand cycle of increasing cost deductions can use the brand as a way to demonstrate quality and cost at the same time. The brand is ephemeral. The product or service is negligible.
A lead is when you have an entry point into further discussions and you have made waves into the minds of the consumers. They are either aware of you or they aren’t, in which case you have to make it your job to influence the minds of the customers to ensure that they select you for the long run. Lead is where most B2B companies focus their efforts on gaining a significant foothold. In this case, they offer discounts and training as a way to incentivise the customers to further progress them in the line of the sales cycle. This lead-based mentality is good in many ways, but it needs to go hand-in-hand with the branding understanding of their product line – the most effective way to craft a value proposition, the best benefits to that particular client segmentand the best compatible software or hardware that fits easily into their systems, the sales mentality meeting the client acquisition goal through brand and lead.
Regardless of your size of operations, you must present yourself and your brand as a brand in totality. Your brand’s ethics, values, quality, speed, etc. must be demonstrated through the line of activities that you focus on through your brand equity. When brand is near perfection, the lead is a piece of cake. You can approach customers in your industry faster, get more entry points, and even reduce your sales cycle in many cases through your multifaceted approach. In any of these events, the brand must be complementary to the lead.
When big brands and little try to make a huge impact in the marketplace they set aggressive targets and lead based approach to obtaining market share, forgetting completely the idea that brand is a 50-50 partner in the journey of business development. It is when the brand and the lead meet that a company can truly create a big impact in the industry.