Budget Balance Between Lead Gen and Branding
While there are many facets to the marketing function in an enterprise, our clients tend to invest in three main areas: branding, lead or ‘demand’ generation, and technical infrastructure. The first two areas are apparent and must utilize the third. The technical infrastructure, or ‘marketing tech stack,’ includes the company’s website, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, marketing automation systems, email platform, and integrating these systems, so that information flow is as automated as practical. Assuming the technical infrastructure is already in place, many of our clients want to know the optimum annual budget split between branding initiatives and lead generation. Well, ‘it depends’ as most good consultants will say.
LinkedIn has conducted research suggesting a budget balance of 60% branding and 40% lead gen. HubSpot enjoys broad brand recognition in B2B marketing and is a continuous source of excellent content, including eBooks, videos, and white papers. Additionally, Fast Company, the online media company, has built a world-class brand integrating progressive business news content with advertising services and social engagement.
Large tech companies have ongoing demand generation processes that produce leads for field sales, distributors, or value-added resellers. Their annual marketing budgets will also include a healthy investment in ad spending, tradeshows, and events, all of which reinforce their brand. But what of small companies, which must be more selective?
We advise our clients that some branding is essential, even foundational. However, the branding must be focused. Offering key technical or financial decision-makers in target accounts a white paper is an excellent way to demonstrate thought leadership and drive traffic to your site if they think the source is credible. Now of truth, when a prospect follows a link to your site or searches your company’s name, you want that prospect to see evidence of a vibrant, credible business. Laura Cuttill, the Advertas CMO, maintains “a company’s website is the storefront of the 21st century.” And on that site, legitimacy and thought leadership are demonstrated through webinars, speaking engagements by the company’s technical leaders, conference participation, and publications. These communication outlets are vital sources of brand awareness, which adds value to the target market sector by providing insights to prospective buyers.
So, to answer the question posed in the title above, targeted outreach for demand generation is enabled by the strength of a company’s branding campaigns. To the extent that branding is well established, as with large companies, more of the budget may be shifted to targeted demand generation initiatives, like Account-Based Marketing and drip campaigns. In the case of a new company launch, a reasonable rule-of-thumb is 50%/50% – branding and demand generation.
Hal H. Green is a marketing executive and entrepreneur in the energy industry with more than 25 years of experience in starting and managing technology companies. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Houston. He has invested his career at the intersection of marketing and technology, with a focus on business strategy, marketing, and effective selling practices.
Mr. Green has a diverse portfolio of experience in marketing technology to the hydrocarbon supply chain – from upstream exploration through downstream refining & petrochemical. Throughout his career, Mr. Green has been a proven thought-leader and entrepreneur, while supporting several tech start-ups. In 2004, Mr. Green founded Advertas, a full-service marketing and public relations firm serving clients in energy and technology.
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