B2B marketing strategies for choosing between branding or demand generation

 

How much energy should you spend on positioning versus demand versus channel?

Forget about the 4 Ps you learned about at University. It’s simplistic and unhelpful. It’s about 30 years old and it’s a consumer concept anyway. Just erase it.

I’ve got another very simple paradigm for you. You might say simplistic. I don’t think it is but you be the judge.

Marketers spend their effort on basically three things: Getting the market ready, getting the channel ready, and getting the two talking in B2B, in complex B2B, which is the world that you live in and I live in.

Three things:

  • We call the first one Environmental Marketing, it’s about the environment. Some people call that “air cover” I don’t like that term but Environmental Marketing is getting the market ready.
  • Channel Readiness is about getting the channel ready. You might have a direct sales channel, or a indirect sales channel. Whoever they are everything that you do to find them, recruit them and equip them Train them, that’s part of equipping, is channel readiness and the final one is Demand Generation. So getting the market ready, getting the channel ready and getting the two talking.
  • Demand Generation doesn’t need much explanation, it’s a term that the industry has adopted.

So, how much effort do you spend getting the market ready? How much do you spend getting the channel ready? How much effort do you spend getting the two talking? Turns out, it depends.

If the market’s really early, there’s no point doing any branding because you don’t even know who the market is yet nor what position you should hold. Branding and positioning don’t make a lot of sense in the very early stage of the market. Demand Generation in an early market is tough: which market are you generating demand for? “I don’t know, I’m trying to work it out, it’s a new product”. So in the early days it’s all about finding the best sales people and giving them the best conversation they can have with early buyers.

In a really mature end of the market – think about  Geoffrey Moore’s chasm theory – then you going to spend quite a bit of time on branding and positioning.

I’ve got a lot of material on how to spend your effort at different stages but for now I just want to leave you with one simple thought. How much of your budget do you want to spend on each of getting the market ready, getting the channel ready and getting the two talking. Now that depends on how mature your market is in relation to the problem that you solve.

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