Why you need to be front-of-mind with out-of-market buyers

How should B2B marketers interpret the 95:5 rule – the idea that, at any one time, 95% of buyers of are not actively seeking a product or service? It can be tempting to conclude that you should focus your marketing on the 5% that are looking to buy. Surely you should be focusing most of your marketing spend on short-term lead generation?

Absolutely not! Such an approach fundamentally misunderstands both the sales-driving value of brands and the buyer journey to purchase decisions. That 5% of in-market buyers will already have some preferred brands in mind, and those brands will have become front-of-mind through brand building over time – the time, in fact, when that 5% was part of the 95%.

By building positive brand awareness and brand associations with out-of-market buyers, you drive sales far more effectively than by only focusing on short-term lead generation aimed at in-market buyers.

So, how can you build your brand, putting it in pole position when your target audience is ready to buy? Memory generation.

Generate positive brand memories to establish lasting emotional connections

As Tequia Burt’s LinkedIn article, How to Measure Marketing Performance for B2B Branding, states: “memory generation refers to how effectively a brand reaches future buyers and links its solution to future buying situations. Memory generation builds Mental Availability, or Share of Mind, within a category.”

Memory generation is all about crafting experiences that resonate emotionally, leaving an indelible mark on individuals’ memories and fostering deeper connections. This leads to heightened brand awareness, reinforced loyalty, informed decision-making, and reduced reliance on price competition.

As cross-border B2B branding experts, we repeatedly see the value that businesses gain when they instil memory generation into every facet of their brand building activities. Whether they use humour, strong points of view, empathy or any number of other ways to create positive brand memories, these businesses increase the likelihood of brand recall during purchasing decisions.

Robust emotional connections not only enhance brand visibility and reputation, but can also translate into brand loyalty and advocacy. And satisfied customers organically expand brands’ reach while magnifying the impact of memory generation.

Create a strong brand narrative—because everybody loves a good story

Using storytelling techniques is perhaps the most effective approach to memory generation. Creating high-quality narratives can engage, entertain, educate, and inspire potential buyers. Content that provokes comments and sharing embeds your brand in the memory of your target audience. And humanising your brand through emotional storytelling showcases how your offerings positively impact real people – effectively demonstrating how your brand meets buyers’ needs.

By employing storytelling techniques to create narratives that embody your brand’s values, expertise, and solutions, you will be strengthening your unique and consistent brand voice’s resonance with your target audience. And by maintaining a consistent brand message and visual identity across all marketing channels, your brand recognition will outperform the ephemeral nature of fleeting leads.

A balancing act—long-term memory generation vs short-term lead generation

The long-term memory generation vs short-term lead generation argument is not a zero-sum game. As we explore in our post Is the ’60/40 brand-sales formula’ still relevant for B2B growth?, how you divide your marketing focus between brand building and sales activation is a balancing act.

What is clear is the fact that memory generation works as a foundation and precursor to effective lead generation, giving you a more strategic and sustainable avenue for both brand building and demand generation.

And when buyers switch from out-of-market to in-market, a brand that they have come to associate with specific solutions and benefits makes their lives a lot easier. It streamlines the purchasing process and reduces reliance on price as a competitive differentiator. Buyers who recognise and value the expertise and reliability that your brand represents, are more willing to pay a premium for your products or services.

Build a longer-lasting B2B lead pipeline

To achieve sustainable stand-out and success in today’s increasingly cut-throat world of international B2B sales, adopting a long-term, memory-focused approach is indispensable. Creating memorable experiences, building a robust brand identity, and consistently delivering value enable you to establish a lasting, positive presence in the minds of your potential customers. When buyers move from the 95% to the 5%, you can gain a customer base that transcends short-term lead generation tactics.

If you’d like to discuss how you can create, implement or strengthen your memory generation strategy, simply reach out to our Managing Partner Ralph Krøyer at rk@cbc.dk or +45 35 25 01 75.