31st July 2023

The B Word: ‘Marketing the brand’ vs demand generation.

The B Word is the show where we demystify everything to do with B2B branding. Every month we invite guests from the worlds' of technology, venture capital, private equity and beyond to discuss what branding is, how it works and why it matters for businesses today.

Episode 3: In this episode, host John Galpin, co-founder, Design by Structure speaks to special guest, Paul Mills, CEO and founder of VCMO. Paul launched VCMO in June '23, he discusses his new proposition for the marketing industry, and how he hope to foster positive change for the role of the CMO.





Episode highlights:

Brand marketing in B2B: The concept of brand marketing in B2B is often misunderstood and wrongly associated with visual aspects, but it is crucial for corporate strategy and gaining a competitive advantage.
  1. Brand marketing in B2B is widely misunderstood, often perceived as being limited to visual elements like logos, colours, and fonts.
  2. The term "brand marketing" should be reframed as "marketing the brand" to emphasise its connection to corporate strategy.
  3.  Brand marketing in B2B is about developing a competitive advantage, strategic growth, and adding value to the business. It involves strategies for positioning the business ahead of competitors, reducing the impact of new entrants, attracting and retaining the right talent, leveraging influencers, and gaining bargaining power over suppliers.


Marketing the brand: The difference between 'marketing the brand'  and 'demand generation' and how these two concepts are related.
  1.  The term 'brand' can be a loaded and misunderstood term, leading to confusion among people.
  2. 'Marketing the brand' and demand generation are interconnected, coexisting within an overarching marketing plan.
  3. 'Marketing the brand' involves various strategies across different business elements, such as creating awareness, conversion, communication, customer service, and talent retention.
  4. Demand generation primarily focuses on generating awareness and interest in a product or service, involving tactical activities like advertising, PR, word of mouth, events, and digital marketing.
  5. While 'marketing the brand' is strategic, demand generation is more tactical and focused on creating immediate interest and demand for a product or service.
Driving success: The interdependence of demand generation and marketing strategy and the importance of having both for a successful business.
  1. Having a world-class demand generation strategy alone is insufficient if there isn't a comprehensive marketing plan to support it.
  2. Without a well-structured marketing plan and the ability to service the generated demand, a business can encounter problems and challenges.
  3. The common denominator for both demand generation and marketing strategy is the need for a fundamental and well-thought-out strategy. It is crucial to ensure that the tactical execution of these strategies is done effectively.
The current macroeconomic context: the importance of marketing professionals (CMOs) delivering tangible results with fewer resources. Therefore, 'marketing the brand' and demand generation need to coexist to achieve measurable metrics that boards are seeking.
  1. CEOs and business leaders are looking for a return on their marketing investments and are concerned about generating leads rather than mere impressions.
  2. The role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) becomes more critical in challenging economic times, and their duty is to prove that marketing investments deliver a return.
  3. Technology, including AI, enables marketers to do more with fewer resources and streamline workflows.
  4. CMOs need to demonstrate a tangible link between marketing activities and sales results.

Rebranding exercises: considerations when embarking on a rebranding project, include the type of rebranding, agency selection, stakeholder involvement, data gathering, and the creative process.
  1. CMO's must be clear on the type of rebranding exercise being undertaking, whether it's a visual identity change or a full market repositioning, because they require different approaches.
  2. For full market repositioning, it is crucial to choose an agency with the strategic capability to test and challenge the assumptions related to the repositioning.
  3. In rebranding exercises, it's advisable to involve as many key stakeholders, functions, and customers as possible in the data-gathering process to gain insights and avoid relying solely on gut assumptions.
  4. Gathering more data and empirical evidence is important to prove or disprove assumptions about how employees, stakeholders, and customers perceive the brand.
  5. Agencies should be given the creative freedom to do what they excel at, and CMOs should avoid micromanaging the creative aspects of the rebranding project.
  6. Don't involve everyone in the creative process to prevent complications and conflicting opinions, particularly in partner-led organisations. Focus on key stakeholders, such as the managing partner or CEO, and do a final reveal at the end of the project to maintain a more streamlined decision-making process.

“ You could have the a world class demand generation strategy but If you don't have a marketing plan, if you can't service that demand… you haven't got a business... you start having problems. Both need strategies to make them work together in the right way.”  Paul Mills

Also available here:
About our guest:

VCMO is transforming how complex marketing problems are solved through its flexible and cost-effective solutions. Say goodbye to boardroom frustration and embrace success in today's ever evolving business landscape. Whether you need remote, on-site or hybrid marketing support, VCMO's transformative approach will help to build, protect, and accelerate your competitive advantage.

Read about Paul Mills. 

Published by: Fara Darvill in News

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