What is good marketing and what is it supposed to achieve? While this question is certainly a loaded one, the no-frills answer is that often, a key aim of good marketing is generating positive brand experience.
From your digital content to your physical presence at trade shows, conferences, and events, all facets of marketing collectively contribute toward creating brand experience.
Ask fellow B2B marketers to define brand experience and you’ll likely receive differing answers. Helpful, right? While brand experience remains a developing area, most marketers agree on its importance. Because it affects loyalty and satisfaction through brand personality association, brand experience should be on your radar.
How people conceive of your brand and connect to it is a key metric in creating loyalty and trust. As marketers, we have to be more intentional and thoughtful in our efforts to create brand experience, because it is an important performance driver. You probably already knew that, but driving toward results is difficult. With that in mind, here are our top five tips for your team to amplify brand experience.
1. Make a Contribution With Content
How is your content solving a problem or positioning itself to answer an unmet need in your target environment? I know that’s a big question, but your answer is important for your sales and marketing teams.
A media consumption report from the University of Southern California revealed that over 74 gigabytes of content are delivered to the average consumer per day. So, the goal then becomes to differentiate yourself from the herd by making your content original and compelling. Quality is certainly more important than quantity in this regard.
Not to totally nerd out on you, but the emerging principle of agile marketing suggests that content should focus on solving problems and adding value to your brand, not just selling. In terms of brand experience, this is key. Your content should contribute to an ongoing dialogue within your space, point a way forward, or pose a compelling question in need of an answer.
Eighty-two percent of senior marketing executives report that content is a significant driver in their buying decisions. Help your sales team attract and convert leads with great content, because if your content does not help your target audience solve their problems or does not provide actionable insight and value to them, then you’ll be operating at a major deficit.
2. Position Your Content for Maximum Impact
How do you share your content with customers and potential prospects?
Many B2B marketers rely on cyclical campaigns to promote a solution or idea, linking content to it; however, conceptualizing an overall program that campaigns nest into is an important rhetorical strategy for your marketing efforts. Campaigns strung together do not constitute a strategy. As difficult as it can be, do spend time coordinating with your sales team to develop an overarching, long-term plan with measurable goals to guide your content.
A recent report from DemandGen indicates that personalized content generates 20 percent more sales opportunities than generic content. So however you share your content, be intentional about it and tailor it to your audience. This will not only create more positive brand experience, but it will also generate loyalty and trust.
In terms of sharing content, thinking about marketing as an ecosystem rather than a linear path is important. The average B2B buyer is 57 percent through the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep. With this data in mind, allowing content time to marinate and cycle through your ecosystem requires patience. As painful as that may be, trust me that it will pay off in the long-run since more buyers are relying on their own research before reaching out.
3. Design is Make-It-Or-Break-It
We’ve all done it. We open a website, glance around, and then close the tab. Now there is research to confirm our habit! If an online viewer of your content does not understand your value-add in 10 seconds, research indicates that they will click off the page. The long and short is that design is a make-it-or-break-it factor in determining if people will even engage with your content. If you’re not convinced, research also indicates that 38 percent of people stop engaging with a website if they feel the layout or content is unattractive.
Basically, you want to BLUF; in other words, have your bottom line up front to capture leads and make sure they stick around long enough to actually check out your content. This rings true for social media, website design, and especially booth design. Think about trade shows and conferences. We glance at a booth, don’t understand it or the value-add, so we keep on walking.
4. Be Intentional With Social Media
Does your social media tell a story and have a strong overall narrative thread?
Your social media strategy should not be a dump and run—a releasing of content and then nothing else. Harness social media’s forum power to invite your prospects in and share your story. Integrate your content, but also make it a hub for current events and updates on whatever your space is. Position yourself as a thought leader in your space with great social media.
Engaging with potential prospects by liking their posts and following their own social media is a great way to create brand experience and also understand your audience more fully. This kind of outreach and engagement is particularly important as you lay the groundwork before a trade show, conference, or event. Remember that LinkedIn is considered social media in the world of marketing, so be sure to integrate it into your marketing efforts.
5. Your Booth is Content Too
Great content utilizes storytelling to create memorable brand experience. But you already knew that, right? Remember that your booth is an important—and costly—piece of content that represents a tremendous opportunity to engage with prospects and create brand experience.
Often a trade show or conference booth is someone’s first interaction with your brand, so invite people in, be obvious with messaging in order to be seen on the floor, get your team on board and engaged with the endeavor, and make sure that your booth contributes to your brand story.
In a recent survey our company sponsored with Demand Metric, 82 percent of participants consider in-person interaction an important metric in the buyer’s journey. Make your booth intentional and a place people want to visit so you can interact with them, and drive meetings in the process.
So, what’s your plan for amplifying brand experience?
Brand experience can feel like an elusive concept, but each move you make as a marketer contributes to it, whether it be with your digital content or your booth design.
As more and more prospects are relying on their own research throughout the sales journey, brand experience is absolutely crucial for generating and sustaining interest.
Bottom line: if you’re thoughtful and intentional in all your marketing efforts, you and your team are already well on your way to cultivating meaningful brand experience.
Want to learn more about what great experiences can do for your marketing? Download The Content Experience Report.
About the Author
John is the founder and CEO of SummitSync, an enterprise software platform that enables sales and marketing teams to identify prospects, schedule and manage more meetings, and measure performance at every trade show, conference, and event. Follow SummitSync on Twitter and LinkedIn.More Content by John Corrigan