Inbound Marketing has certainly become the de facto digital marketing philosophy adopted by most marketers these days. In a time where customers are more frequently purchasing on value, as opposed to solely on price, it is the job of the Inbound Marketer to ensure that they are providing the prospective customer the right information at the right time. This timing relies heavily on the customer’s current buying cycle stage. There are a number tactics to engage customers at the various buying cycle stages, but the most effective strategies establish an emotional connection with the customer. That emotional connection is your brand’s ability to establish a relationship with your customer.

Here at Groove, we are constantly discussing, with our existing and prospective clients, the various strategies to address top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel marketing activities. We also tactically discuss paid advertising, SEO & keyword strategies, email nurturing, workflow design, and social strategy with our clients. These activities are all vital elements to a cohesive inbound marketing strategy, but organizations are potentially missing out on a major point of differentiation between themselves and their competition: Brand.

Why brand matters

I’m sure that by now most of you are saying, “Of course brand is important. Look at this awesome new logo that we have.” But your brand goes much further than your logo or a catchy tagline.

Your brand is about the emotional connection that you are able to establish with an existing or prospective customer, and it can make the difference between a one-time sale and a long-term brand advocate. Brand is what defines an organization’s voice and exemplifies its value. Brand is the foundation upon which all of your inbound marketing objectives should be built.

However, brand seems to be too infrequently discussed in the Inbound Marketing conversation.

There have been times during discussions with prospective clients that brand was presented, but was met with some level of resistance. I could not quite figure out why. How could something so inherently important to any company be not only brushed aside, but also in some cases opposed?

My “aha” moment came when I began asking some brand-centric questions to a prospective client. This client owns a 75-year-old company with a rich history and a great story to tell. He kept changing the discussion to marketing tactics and I kept dialing us back to focus on brand. He finally stops me and says, “If you can prove the ROI of further developing the brand, I will consider it.” I was completely stumped. I know that brand is vitally important to the success of an organization. Anecdotally, I referenced Apple and Starbucks, and discussed how important branding was for their customer experience. However, when posed with the question to show ROI on brand I was stuck. I figured out why brand is so often neglected: return on investment is difficult to quantify.

Currently, technology empowers marketers with hard data to prove the effectiveness of their activities on a campaign-by-campaign level. For example, I can review Groove’s HubSpot account and see what email campaign generated the most customers for my team. However, what I cannot do (easily) is see what affects Groove’s brand elements have on the overall business. I must rely on a softer set of data to prove the brand elements worth. I need to review metrics such as overall engagement, impressions, and investigate how people are interacting with the brand.

Conclusion

The information you can gather from this analysis works in direct concert to show you what marketing initiatives are connecting with your customers and which messages need to be refined. Brand awareness should mold your marketing strategy. Always tie your brand initiatives back to the marketing funnel. “Brand awareness” drives top of the funnel visitors by generating new traffic. Your brand creating an emotional connection with a visitor is the trigger that initiates a sale or conversion. And finally, a delighted customer becomes a brand loyalist.

Just because something is hard to do, does not mean that it shouldn’t be done. In fact, I would argue the opposite. This will give you the edge over your competition. Brand is the foundation of your relationship with your customers. The ROI of your brand is the measurement of the strength of those relationships.

Groove works with clients to proactively develop strategies that tie brand and inbound methodologies into one cohesive strategy. If you are looking to improve your brand from industry professionals, contact us today!

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