Brand Awareness + Brand Gen: How to Breed Agile Into Your Marketing Funnel

Despite echoing calls for agile-driven marketing teams and deep layers of data integration taking hold at nearly every marketing department on the planet, many brands still feel glued to traditional funnel structures. Brand awareness sits at the top of the funnel, and revenue gen and conversion sit comfortably at the bottom, with an ever-so-awkward interest-centric demand gen layer lying between the two highly separated crusts.

Can you guess the problem? If specific teams are dealing with brand awareness and other teams are responsible for demand gen, there’s a disconnect. You have two teams measuring different KPIs, working on different systems, and trying to achieve different goals that are interdependent on each other. Yet, both teams are connected via the funnel. They’re working towards the same goal, but they aren’t using the same playbook.

Demand gen is heavily reliant on brand awareness. Prospects that have been exposed to rich brand campaigns and assets are much more likely to convert later down the funnel. But brand awareness-driven teams generally aren’t measuring their success on demand gen. They’re using mid-horizon metrics aimed at building that long-term, sustainable, and memorable brand (which is incredibly important!). So, you have one unit at the top of the funnel that has a direct impact on the bottom funnel team, but there’s no tangible responsibility to produce the types of results that impact that bottom-funnel rev gen.

So how do you flip the script? How do you “desilo” these two independent units to create a more responsible, impactful, and collaborative ecosystem that encourages break-neck agility — not glacier-slow communication? Let’s discuss why gluing the top funnel to the bottom funnel can help fill out the middle and generate more quality demand (and subsequently revenue).

Brand Awareness + Demand Gen: Two peas missing their pod

David Hayes of Marketing Week puts it simply: “You have teams that are focused on the same audience, but trying to achieve different KPIs… this isn’t the most effective solution for long-term growth.”

The goal of marketing has never changed. You want to humanize your brand and carry a single, impactful, and engaging story throughout the entire customer lifecycle. The marketing funnel is a way to understand that flow, yet many companies take the funnel as a way to split teams and efforts. Brand awareness at the top, nurturing in the middle, and rev gen at the bottom. Easy peasy lemon squeezy…right? Here’s the problem: creating siloes creates disconnected stories.

The connection of brand awareness and demand gen (or brand-gen, if you will) is less of an effort to rebrand agile and more of a strategy that aligns metrics to deliver a more consistent customer experience. It’s strange. For years, marketers have been hot on the tail of the shiny sales-marketing-alignment treasure that lies deep in the dungeons of revenue capture. Yet, many fail to align their marketing teams to chase an aligned goal: creating magical experiences for prospects that transform them into customers.

To help illustrate this brand-gen disconnect, let’s look at the key KPIs measured in each stage of the funnel:

  • Brand awareness KPIs
    • Social reach
    • Shares
    • Brand mentions
    • Views
    • Awareness lift
    • Brand interest lift
  • Demand gen KPIs
    • CPA
    • Cycle length
    • Deal size
  • Company goal or post-sale KPIs
    • LTV
    • Revenue
    • ROI

Social reach doesn’t naturally equate to deal size, and views aren’t equivalent to CPA. That’s obvious, right? So, what happens when two different teams are solely focused on each stage in that funnel? They each chase their own goals, regardless of how those goals impact down the line KPIs. You can have killer views and still have a horrific CPA. You want to point the finger at your closing team, but what if those are the wrong kinds of views? What if shares are coming from non-interested sources, and your brand awareness team isn’t focusing on creating the right type of content? These are problems that you can’t identify in the traditional team structure.

So what does this actually look like in practice? How do you do “brand-gen”?

Brand-Gen in Practice

Do you have a trash can nearby? Great. Take all of those KPIs, metrics, and campaign strategies you know-and-love. Now… throw them in the trash. Brand-gen is a complete retooling of the way you approach media, content, and social. From now on, you’re measuring metrics that are cross-functional. Views are great. But how do they translate to demand?

Maybe instead of views, you need to measure how brand interest impacts deal size. Or, maybe instead of purely measuring shares, you can measure how social media responses impact CPA. The goal is to create a bridge between these two units. In practice, this means understanding more about both your demand and branding efforts and how they interrelate to one another in the long-term.

There are no set guidelines for establishing brand-gen. It’s an agile, brand-driven effort that requires you to peel apart your marketing onion and discover your strengths, weaknesses, and overall interconnectedness. Budgeting has to be redefined to include both teams under the same budgeting banner.

This helps reinforce the bond. Additionally, metrics, guidelines, collaboration, apps, and responsibilities have to be shared across teams, and any media gen needs to hit both touchpoints before it’s pushed through the pipeline. We can give you examples (see here), but this is ultimately a you-centric strategy that’s highly driven by your marketing setup.

T.A. Monroe Can Help

Are you looking to create effective B2B marketing campaigns using best-in-class funnel optimization, demand gen strategies, and marketing agility? We can help. At T.A. Monroe, we bring actionable strategies and meaningful solutions to your doorstep. Our experts deliver data-driven insights that truly transform marketing teams and bring tangible value to your funnel.

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