I can see them now – Christoph and Jed – sitting with a Chief Marketing Officer to make a passionate pitch for a sweeping, brand-oriented advertising campaign.
Human factors motivate decisions, they’d argue. Business leaders trust their gut, they would assert. Strong reputation and culture wins, they would conclude.
What is the source of such bold claims?
It’s a recently published paper entitled “Only Human: the Emotional Logic of Business Decisions” that summarizes the findings of a survey of more than 700 senior level professionals.
Christoph and Jed are the two primary architects of the study. Christoph Becker is the CEO of business-to-business advertising agency Gyro and Jed Hartman is a group publisher at Time Fortune Money.
Of course, in their respective roles it is understandable why Christoph and Jed desire a credible and compelling data set that espouses the value and ROI of brand advertising. Keep this in mind as you review an executive summary of the research, which is available for download at this link.
I’m in-step with Gyro and Time Fortune Money on the importance of brand creation and awareness building. I have two decades invested in the notion that people buy from, partner with and work for companies they know and trust.
However, I also believe in today’s environment prioritizing brand-oriented communications programs (i.e. advertising, public relations, sponsorships, etc.) over more tactical, lead creation and nurturing initiatives is dated, flawed and foolish.
That’s because most companies rarely reach the point of sale, when brand, reputation and culture helps drive the decision. Breakdown any B2B sales pipeline and you will most likely find the rough spots at the top of the funnel and in the nurturing process.
These trouble areas grow more pronounced with each passing quarter due to the continued rise of the enlightened buyer. Corporate executives have grabbed ownership of the sales cycle, engaging with suppliers and vendors on their terms.
The free-wheeling, golf playing, smile and dial sales rep is as dusty as the DVD player buried in your closet. A defined, disciplined and measurable process is the path to success today, which is why CRM platforms from Salesforce, Microsoft and Oracle are a stable in nearly every sales organization.
Smart marketers have mimicked their counterparts in sales and sought a comparable level of accountability for dollars and time spent. This ignited the adoption of marketing automation packages from providers liked Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, eTrigue and others.
So…yes…heed the counsel of Christoph and Jed, and maintain the brand. As their study reveals, reputation continues to influence the buy decision.
Let’s just recognize the investment is marginalized. It is the more data-driven and tactical sales pipeline development activities that should consume the majority of your time, attention and budget.