“Brand awareness” does not create buyer intent, it simply makes buyers aware that you exist.
Read that again.
There’s this huge misconception that brand marketing is all it takes to build demand for your business. In reality, most marketing serves to get your business in front of buyers but does nothing to create real interest in your services or products.
This is the type of marketing sold by most marketing agencies and ad platforms. The formula is typically: identify pain points + create good content = revenue.
The most powerful marketing isn’t marketing that waits for pain and serves up content; it’s marketing that shows the buyer their pain before they’re even aware of it.
At Elevate Demand we know better. Decisions are made way up further in the funnel than anyone ever could realize.
The secret to building real interest in your offers is to meet people where they’re at with their current beliefs and habits, begin to shift their beliefs and habits so that you develop a need, and cultivate tangible growth.
So, here’s OUR formula for how to create a B2B brand awareness strategy that actually creates urgency and demand.
It’s a critical component of our Buyer-Led Growth Strategy. And is a huge reason 100% of our customers have positive ROI.
If you’d like to join them, book a discovery call with our founder today.
1. Forget about “pain points”.
Most marketing teams create personas focused on pain points that align to their buyers journey.
They then create content that’s mapped to these “pain points”.
Pain point driven content is still heavily reactionary and waits for a potential buyer to become aware of their “pain”.
In reality, many buyers may be unaware that they even have a problem — for which your offer might be a solution or their pain isn’t great enough to take action.
Your goal is not to create content to generate brand awareness and then speak to pain points, but campaigns that make buyers “problem aware” so they’re in a position of actually considering that they need a solution.
Only then can you start addressing their unique questions and concerns, cultivate an offer that speaks to their needs, and convince them that it’s worth buying from you.
2. Stop obsessing over tactics.
Another mistake B2B companies and marketers make is obsessing over tactics. By “tactics” I mean being focused on ad copy, headlines, a/b testing images, etc.
When you obsess over content, ads, and “brand awareness”, you’re left convinced you have an awareness, content, and ad problem.
Agencies want you to think you have these problems.
When that doesn’t work, you’ll go from lead-based to account-based to demand generation.
If running brand and ABM is your big marketing shift in 2021, stop and audit for truth!
The reality is buyers don’t trust any marketing and content you create because you have an agenda.
All this “tactics” work does is distract you from the real work that needs to be done… which is a mindset shift away from lead generation and B2B demand generation strategies to creating real demand the way B2B buyers want to buy products.
No amount of A/B testing is going to make up for speaking to the wrong audience with the wrong content at the wrong time. You need to understand your buyer from the inside out and create content that speaks to exactly where they are.
3. Adopt the Buyer-Led Growth Framework.
So if “pain points” and “tactics” don’t work, what else is there?
This is exactly why we created the Buyer-Led Growth model.
Companies with a Buyer-Led Growth strategy are able to grow faster by leveraging a growth playbook that centers around how B2B buyers want to buy products today.
The power has shifted away from sales-led organizations — where marketing would capture leads, and sales would identify buyers’ pain points, create urgency, and close the deal.
Today, the buyer has all the power and they demand all the information upfront to make an informed decision before reaching out to sales.
In the Buyer-Led Growth framework, brand awareness doesn’t start with valuable content or pain points – it starts with addressing your buyers’ current beliefs and habits.
Once you get buyers to recognize they need to change their behavior, they become aware of their pain and struggles.
By putting the buyer first, you can build real demand instead of banking on the bit of traffic that trickles your way as you wait for buyers to recognize their pain to trigger a Google search or for intent to happen.
You’ll also be in a stronger position to create your own brand narrative that sets you apart from the competition.
In order to succeed in the buyer-led era, B2B companies must rise to meet buyers where they are at in their current operating narrative — and that means focusing your growth engine on the way B2B buyers want to buy and not how you want to sell and market them.
4. Build a brand narrative.
So how do you actually create demand?
You start by establishing your brand narrative.
Your brand narrative is less about what your brand represents and more about earning the buyer’s trust by showing them you know exactly what’s going on in their world.
When you have the right brand narrative your sales team will hear comments like:
“You guys get me”. and “It’s like your marketing spoke to my soul”.
Internally, work with your team to determine your target buyer’s operating narrative, status quo, starting point.
This will form the basis of most of your content. Once you have an understanding of the buyer’s status quo you can start figuring out what narrative you want them to believe, and what core offer is going to speak to their needs and goals.
By the end, you should have a clear “pathway” from buyers’ Point A and Point B, as well as an understanding of how your campaigns should reach them along these touchpoints.
5. Create a “Start Here” page.
Here’s the first place to start testing your brand narrative:
Build a “start here” page on your website and put it right on your navigation. The entire point of this page is to act as a funnel for cold audiences.
Most B2B companies assume that cold buyers try to go deeper into resources they don’t. Resources is almost always the least clicked item in a main navigation.
This page is not about you It’s about your buyer. And you’re picking up the story where your buyer is at with no awareness of pain.
Then, guided by the prompts below, write out your narrative:
1. What do your buyers believe to be true today?
2. What will happen if they don’t change their beliefs?
3. How can they win if they change their current beliefs and habits?
4. How does your product help them win?
The goal here is to shift the beliefs of the buyer. You’re the architect of the vision and are helping them see they have a pain they never realized.
You could even add that most of your competitors are trying to sell a solution that fits into their current beliefs and habits while you’re trying to show them they need to change in order to see the results that they want.
6. Map content to your buyer’s current belief system.
Beyond the “start here” page, you will want to create different kinds of content assets that support your brand narrative.
These content pieces should each align with one of the 3 categories of audiences: Cold Audiences, Warm Audiences, and Hot Audiences.
The “start here” page is a perfect start to building content for cold audiences because it speaks to where they are at NOW and bridges the gap between this starting point and the final solution (your offer)
The second content piece is a press release-style piece that provides your audience with more information about how you work, what makes you unique, and how you will help them achieve their ultimate goal(s). Here is an example of a press release that highlights Drift’s success in revenue acceleration.
Finally, for “hot audiences” (i.e. those that are already problem-aware and have heard of your brand), you can create content that ultimately convinces them that you are the best fit for their needs – without being too “salesy”. See how this post informs the user without making a hard pitch that deters an already hot audience.
7. Run paid ads.
Once you’ve created this content, it’s time to run paid ads.
The sole purpose here isn’t lead generation, but to find your growth lever. By running ads, you can learn valuable information about your narrative and target audience.
Over time, you will pick up on their habits and whether your content is working how it’s intended to. You’ll want to consider a variety of growth metrics when determining the success of your campaigns.
Rather than focusing on tactics, the goal here is generating real demand through the use of valuable, buyer-focused content.
8. Analyze the data.
When analyzing the success of your paid ads, Initially you should be looking for inbound volume increases, especially in your company’s “sweet spot” (demo requests / trials).
Success can also show itself through sales feedback. For example, sales may be having more qualified conversations than they are used to, so the sales cycle has decreased rapidly. Additionally, your win rate may improve because your brand narrative has already convinced buyers they need to take action.
The last thing can be how buyers respond to your marketing as they talk with sales. Sales might start hearing things like, “Your marketing was really effective” or “I found you from your paid ads and they really spoke to me”.
Brand marketing does not start with brand awareness
Typical “brand awareness” marketing does not create demand.
At least the way it’s being advertised.
Real growth does not occur just because you’re pushing brand-focused content out to your target market and turning off intent. If it did we would all be doing it.
Brand marketing only works as a growth multiplier, not a growth maker.
If you want brand marketing to work, you first need to build a brand deserving of growth. This starts with focusing on the Buyer-Led Growth Framework and then establishing your brand narrative.
It’s time to stop hiring agencies to give you more ads and start getting help building your brand narrative so you actually see the results you deserve.
Ready to adopt Buyer-Led Growth? Book a call with our founder today.