Business-to-business (B2B) marketers need to heighten their focus on building brands instead of relying on short-term activation, according to a study by The B2B Institute, a think tank supported by LinkedIn, the business-orientated social network.

Peter Weinberg, a global lead at The B2B Institute, discussed this subject in a session at B2B World Fest, an online conference held by The Drum.

And he argued that a point of “consensus” in the B2B space today is that the bottom of the purchase funnel merits the greatest attention.

“It’s all about lead gen and demand generation; that’s how B2B brands grow,” said Weinberg. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Three mega-trends for B2B marketing in the next decade.)

To counter this widespread belief, Weinberg cited research by Les Binet and Peter Field – together known as “the godfathers of effectiveness” – which has demonstrated the vital role of campaigns that endeavor to build brands.

For consumer products, the rule of thumb established by Binet and Field is that 60% of expenditure should be dedicated to fueling long-term growth, while 40% goes towards short-term activation.

For B2B operators, those figures stood at 46% for brand building and 54% for activation. And the importance of brand building, Weinberg noted, is growing as buyers spend more time conducting their own research online.

In such cases, it “becomes unnecessary to serve all of this product messaging. Instead, it’s just about using brand advertising to get into the consideration set,” he said.

Business-to-business marketers, however, often do not think with the long term in mind. Ninety-five percent of digital campaigns, for instance, are premised on metrics, like cost-per-click, that reflect a direct-response mentality.

While Binet and Field have confirmed it takes at least six months to begin witnessing the effects of brand-building initiatives, a LinkedIn global survey of 4,000 marketers suggested B2B practitioners are not heeding this counsel.

“Four percent of B2B marketers measure their impact beyond six months,” Weinberg said. “So, we’re not set up to capture the value of brand building because we don’t wait long enough.”

Sourced from WARC