LinkedIn to B2B marketers: It's time to build your brand

A study by LinkedIn’s The B2B Institute shows marketers should be just as concerned with building their brands as chasing leads

B2B marketers are known for relying on lead generation and account based marketing. But the data shows that they should spend more time building brand awareness, according to a study released by LinkedIn’s The B2B Institute and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia.

The study, which analyzed the buying preferences of more than 1,200 buyers of business banking in the U.K. and business insurance in the U.S. shows that lack of brand awareness is a bigger problem by four to eight times than brand rejection, particularly for smaller B2B brands. 

For instance, according to the study, brand rejection averages at 11% for U.K. business banks and 7% for U.S. business insurance firms, similar to the 9% found in comparable B2C markets.

But a large majority (90%) of people will not reject a brand they are unfamiliar with, said Jann Martin Schwarz, senior director and global head of The B2B Institute. 

B2B companies in general, however, have fallen short on building strong brand identities that other business leaders can recall when making a purchase. Most B2B marketers focus on lead gen strategies such as dense white papers and targeted account based outreach, paying less attention to creativity and brand building.

“Every [B2B] company has an awareness problem, and are often unaware of the extent of their awareness problem,” he said. “Brands should try to understand, in an objective way, how well-known they really are and what their total addressable market is for a specific category.” 

While brand rejection should still be an area of concern, in the B2B world, there is still room for redemption. According to the study, the majority of a brand’s past defectors will consider buying that brand again in the future, with 2 in 3 buyers of UK business banks, and 4 in 5 buyers of US business insurance companies saying they would reconsider the brand.

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