May 8, 2024

Lead Generation Starts at Your Brand’s Front Door

By: Ricciardi Group

Running a B2B lead generation campaign can feel like a hopeless numbers game, where a fraction of a percentage point in conversion rate can be the difference between winning or losing. Marketers can get so focused on the bottom of the funnel and optimizing for minutiae—a slightly faster page load time, a minor adjustment to form placement, a button color change—that we forget to zoom out and think about how we got here. Or better yet, how our audience got here.


Taking Lead Gen Out of the Basement

As marketers, we’re often knee-deep in perfecting the plumbing and wiring in our marketing basement, chasing Marketing Qualified Leads. But amidst all the technical tinkering, let’s not overlook the importance of curb appeal – that’s where brand awareness comes into play. It’s the flashy signboard, the lush landscaping, and the inviting front door that beckon prospects to step inside our marketing house. Sure, we can have the most well-equipped basement on the block, but if nobody’s enticed to stroll down and see it, what’s the point?

So, while we’re busy sprucing up the basement with all the latest gadgets, let’s not neglect the front door. Let’s invest in making our brand not just known, but compelling. After all, it’s not just about attracting visitors; it’s about keeping them coming back for more, eager to explore every nook and cranny of what we have to offer.

The solution: Take lead gen out of the basement. 

Translation: Move up the funnel to make a difference with your bottom-funnel campaigns.


B2B Buyers are Not Basement Dwellers

At the recent B2BMX conference, we heard that 90% of B2B buyers choose a solution from their original list of vendors. 

We also learned that 75% of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free experience, and will get as far along in their research as possible before reaching out. 

Brands need to break through the competitive landscape to make those initial shortlists. Marketers need to attract prospects to their brand’s owned properties, like the website, before they can convert them. A strong brand presence and articulation can provide a good foundation for more targeted campaign efforts, and understanding what makes your brand resonate with prospects is fundamental to honing in on key conversion points. 

If marketers have been tinkering around in the lead generation basements, we must get ourselves to the brand awareness upstairs.


The Role of Brand

The brand awareness upstairs is where marketers develop two things: the ideal audience definition for the brand, and the right messaging that will resonate with that audience. 


Brand Audience

Your ideal brand audience is not solely defined by who will happily download your most recent guide or handbook. To identify your brand audiences, take a look at your existing customers and identify some of the “best” ones. Then, develop a “best-fit” audience definition by compiling their key traits:

  • Size
  • Annual revenue
  • Industry
  • Contributing buying factors
    • High motivation to solve a problem
    • High willingness to pay for the solution
  • Typical titles 
  • Likelihood to refer

Once you have defined who your audience is, it is important to ground your approach in what keeps your audience up at night (their pain points) and what they are seeking (their priorities). 

Your audience definition, their pain points and their priorities can then be used as common traits of the best customers to develop a buyer criteria list, like this one, that serves as a guide to your ideal customer:

Target audience: Financial Advisors and RIAs ($100M+ AUM)

  1. Under pressure, especially in volatile markets, to reach clients’ financial goals
  2. Always seeking to build their book of business
  3. Strapped for time and inundated with financial product information from different providers
  4. Look for opportunities to achieve superior returns, downside protection and diversification
  5. Know that traditional strategies that have worked in the past, may not continue to work in the future
  6. Want to stay well-informed on financial products
  7. Value the reputation of the companies of the products they are investing in
  8. Is relationship-oriented, personable, and savvy
  9. Try to stay ahead of industry and market trends to find the best opportunities for their clients
  10. Seeking ways to adjust their approach to match changing client investment behaviors during the great wealth transfer


Brand Message

Your brand message is derived from the intersection of your customer insight and brand truth to articulate how your brand uniquely solves your customers’ pain points. A Brand Messaging Framework defines who you are, what you do, why it matters and how you do it.

  • Vision — Why you exist
  • Mission — What you are doing to achieve your vision
  • Value proposition — What you uniquely do and the customer benefit
  • Brand pillars — How you provide your value proposition and reasons to believe
  • Values — The brand’s lived belief system

This Brand Messaging Framework ensures your sales and marketing teams are closely aligned on the language to articulate your story and engage prospects so that you can remain consistent and strengthen the impact of the brand.


Brand Activation = Lead Generation

Now that you have your ideal prospect identified and a message that’s sure to resonate, you can deploy it where you know your prospects spend time and ultimately make it onto those vendor shortlists. (Think of this as placing compelling signage around the neighborhood that will direct prospects to your brand house.) 

Use tools like Sparktoro to determine where your brand messaging needs to be to reach your ideal prospects, and what kinds of content would appeal to them. Do your promotions run on the channels your brand’s ideal prospects frequent? Do your lead generation campaigns leverage the kind of content your prospects value? 

You can use these insights to ensure your marketing plan includes those key channels and a content strategy showcasing your brand’s value at all stages of the funnel. 

Strong brand positioning strengthens all aspects of your marketing including lead generation. If done well, it not only compels prospects to take action but also gives them a clear sense of who you are before they even walk through the door for the first sales conversation. From there, it’s much easier to drive them down the funnel to conversion.


A Happy Marketing Home

Without a clear understanding of your brand’s components—message, audience, digital footprint—your lead generation tactics could fall short. It’s not hard to generate leads in a short timeframe. But to generate the RIGHT leads, consistently over a long period—that’s hard to do without a strong brand. Brand marketing can help fill the top of the funnel so your highly optimized lead generation tactics can work on a replenishing prospect pool. 

That’s why we want to move lead gen out of the basement. At Ricciardi Group, we believe a full-funnel marketing strategy makes for a happy marketing home.

Lead Generation Starts at Your Brand’s Front Door
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