All related (58)
Anthony Kennada
Chief Marketing Officer, HopinJanuary 28

I think anyone who discredits brand as a function of growth is living in an early 2000s era of B2B marketing that doesn't exist anymore. The truth is that behind every logo we are trying to sell to as vendors, is a human (crazy, I know). These humans have a job to do, and are trying to self-actualize in their careers by solving business problems, getting recognized, promoted, etc. Your products can help them accelerate up Maslow's funnel, but products aren't the only thing.

You can measure brand in so many different ways. Content & conference marketing sourced (literally) 80%+ of ARR at Gainsight, and probably influenced all 100%. These were content programs and events that had nothing to do with our products, and everything to do with our category. At Front, we ran a PR campaign last week announcing our Series C that directly correlated to a 192% increase in web traffic (against our daily average) and more than 3x the number of trial signups. That's all real revenue, directly attributable to brand.

In terms of priority -- tough to answer as I've seen it both ways. Gainsight had a story that resonated long before we found product market fit. Front has had the opposite experience. In general, and since they are both opposite sides of the same coin, I think prioritizing both brand and product marketing early is key to winning in the marketplace.

Indy Sen
VP Marketing, PopSQL | Formerly Matterport, WeWork, Google, Mulesoft, Box, SalesforceFebruary 3

No doubt, the ROI of a billboard is hard to measure. But when it comes to brand marketing, you need to be crisp around the metrics. In marketing you'll either need to solve for awareness, demand generation, or both. Brand typically deals with awareness and that's not a straight $ to $ metric.

At Google, we conducted brand surveys for G Suite (now Google Workspace) roughly every 9 months. There we measured aided and unaided awareness as well as qualitative measures around how closely we compared around specific features sets and value statements against competitive products. Results were taken from a fairly large representative sample we kept track of longitudinally. So while deeply qualitative, the progression from survey to survey yielded essential insights to the greater team, including blind spots, and even got the fire in the belly going with PMs and Sales.

Finally, I wouldn't discount the effect of brand "love" as a measure. Branding is by definition a long game--it's the series of associations you're creating between your customers and your products and company. So it's not just billboards, or swag or back covers of the Economist. Done right, it's integral to the customer experience. Think about what Salesforce does with Dreamforce, their annual customer event. It's not just a readout of new product announcements but a total industry event, the Cloud Mecca if you will. People will come up to you and tell you how much they love Salesforce. You can't put a price on that. Think about other brands like Nike who've played the long game, despite many controversies. It takes investment, protection, transparency and consistency. Now think about Robinhood and what happened in the past week. They failed at maintaining all four of those tenets, with deletrious results.

Elain Szu
VP Marketing, SentryApril 8

Great question. I'd say the core of this problem is that Marketing has to play a role over the short, medium, and long term. And often time, brand marketing efforts require persistent campaigns over a longer period of time, so the key is to establish a baseline and come up with a few metrics to showcase along the way. Your end goal is to show that rising tide (your brand perception) is lifting all boats (including the revenue engine that is your GTM team). 

That baseline is often best established with a Brand Perception study. You can do a lightweight one yourself on your site, especially if you're a self-service product with plenty of eyeballs, but my preference is to use a 3rd party agency to do the research, define the target customers, and then anonymously collect how your company is perceived across product, service, values, and even confidence in your ability to deliver value. Intermediate metrics like Share Of Voice and NPS are common go-tos to capture that overall "how is the world feeling about our company".

Another thing that helps me explain this internally is to apply a simple framework around marketing's value in SaaS businesses (especially earlier stage businesses): 

  1. Support revenue formation: Tie your above brand metrics back to examples of how opportunities were won due to the awareness you drove
  2. Create brand awareness: Takes time and concerted effort to build an emotional connection with your company and create the "surround sound"
  3. Maximize engagement: Demonstrate that customers that hear about your consistently, understand your value/vision are more likely to spend and less likely to churn

Jessica Webb Kennedy
Head Of Marketing, Tailscale | Formerly Atlassian (Trello), HubSpot, LyftNovember 18

This is always a challenge but in a lot of ways, I think it comes back to understanding that your brand isn't just what YOU say it's what the community says about you. Dave Gerhardt CBO at Drift has a ton of content around this, one thing he says that I wholeheartedly agree with is "What people say about your brand matters a lot more than what you say about yourself. Make sure they have something good to say." Meaning it's smart to invest in your community early and often and to listen to the people who are early adopters of your product to understand their experience. 

This is why it's also so important to get out into the market and learn about what's happening outside of your own narrow perspective. Brand reputation is hard to build and easy to lose and it must be protected and nourished. Every touch point a person has with your product, team, marketing, etc. is a brand experience and it behooves teams to understand that in the real world there isn't a separation between the product experience and marketing experience.

At the end of the day, you are trying to create a loop that goes from getting a person or team to using your product> evangelizing your product and growing your reach - this IS the secret sauce about brand and is something that can't be bought. Read more about why brand is so important and join DGMG for more of Dave's musings.