This is the distillation of your thoughts and issues. The marketing survey, available to all visitors to our site and sent to over 60,000 recipients is in. This survey, as we were reminded by Resultan Research, is not projectable because these types of surveys are self-selecting by nature. However, it does provide an interesting snapshot of the marketing and branding issues facing a myriad of business sectors all across the globe.
National Brand Survey Results
Most of the respondents, a full sixty percent, categorized their main business as B-to-B with one-third saying they were direct to consumer.
This sample is interesting because it reflects a strong interest in brand strategy in a sector that often lacks the advertising arsenal to “build brand awareness” through the traditional venues of “broadcast media.” It also speaks directly to how much the B-to-B sector has come to realize that, in a market of similar products and powerful price competitiveness, brand has become even more important as a means to increase preference and boost profits.
Is Branding a Strategy or a Tactic?
The vast majority of you believe, as we do, that branding and brand development are fundamentally strategic endeavors.
This belief seemed to cross all sectors of respondents, regardless of category, industry, or geography. However, it is interesting to note that almost 20% of the respondents see brand development as purely a tactical issue. At Stealing Share, we believe that brand is not only strategic, at its core, but that brand is germinal to all of your marketing strategies and tactics. Your success finds its permission in the DNA of your brand. However, when asked to rank agreement with statements relating to the tactical execution of a brand strategy, most respondents believed that brand was more central to their success than one would expect — if the science of brand were a mere tactic.
How Important is Branding to Your Success?
The vast majority of marketers believe that there is need for brand strategy and brand development, even beyond the more traditional usage of name changes and new product launches. Fifty percent of the sample absolutely disagreed with the statements that brand was limited to those two ideas while less than 10% agreed with them. This demonstrates that brand development, while seen by 20% of the sample as tactical, is seen as strategic when you look at individual applications for brand and brand development.
Brand is a Global Issue
While it did not surprise us that the majority of the respondents had U.S. based businesses (the survey was emailed to U.S. companies) it did surprise us as to just how many respondents turned out to be international. The Stealing Share website is visited by thousands of marketers each and every day, and a large number come from outside of the US. Our business has always been global (Read about becoming a global brand here)and this just reinforces the smallness of our business world today. It reflects the fact that our clients come to us from the four corners of the world. Forty-five percent of the respondents claimed to do business in the U.S. only. However, 65% stated that they were non-US focused with 10% saying that they were solely European based and 7% saying that they were solely Asian in focus. The importance of a global brand strategy is never lost on our clients, and is becoming more evident each passing year.
What are the Biggest Issues You Face in the Next 12 Months?
By far, the biggest issue facing marketers (according to marketers) was increased domestic competition (regardless of geographic focus), followed by commodity prices. Inflation, a concern on the economic horizon that affects all products and all services, was only a top concern to 10% of the survey sample. International competition and consumer confidence were the least important worries of marketers in the next 12 months.
What is the Best Way to Grow Your Market Share?
As our name, Stealing Share®, proudly states, we believe the surest method to increase sales is by stealing market share from your competition. It seems that marketers have come to agree with that assumption. Sixty-five percent of respondents strongly agreed that “in order to grow my business I need to steal market share” with only 10% disagreeing and 24% neutral. It also speaks of the understanding and acceptance that most markets are mature and that growth opportunities are to be found in the “customers of the competition.” When you compare that “stealing share is my opportunity” finding to those that disagreed with “In order to grow my business, I need to cut costs” the difference is startling. Forty-four percent disagreed with that statement while only 27% agreed with it. The idea that one can “Save our way to competitiveness and profitability” is obviously not being embraced by today’s successful marketers.
The same sentiments are even more revealing when you look at responses to “In order to grow my business, I need to undersell my competition.” Even when you consider that B-to-B (60% of the sample) often falls back on price as the great differentiator, sixty-two percent of the sample disagreed with that statement and 21% “absolutely disagreed.”
Advertising Agencies Don’t Know How to Build Brands
We have been saying it for years, that ad agencies, which are terrific at execution, see brand in terms of execution and do not really understand the importance of it. Agencies that pretend to know how to develop brand strategy lose credibility in the eyes of their target market. Marketers know that when they ask an agency to develop a brand strategy, they get great advertisements and little REAL brand strategy. The respondents agreed with that assertion as sixty-two percent disagreed with the statement “Advertising agencies fully understand brand.” When we think about “brand permissions,” it comes as no surprise to us that agencies just do not have permission to do brand work, despite all pronouncements to the contrary. Take a final look at the variety of categories represented in the study and it reads like a roadmap of services and products. It represents you, our clients and visitors. The diversity of category is evident in our client list as well as the categories we offer in order for you to customize your entry page into our site.