B2B marketers are beginning to think more like consumers with a recent survey noting that CMOs, brand managers and event planners worldwide see sensory brand experiences as key strategy to build brand loyalty and remain at the top of mind in purchase decisions.
The survey conducted by Freeman, a provider of brand experiences, and data solutions experts polled 1,000 B2B and B2C marketing professionals across North America, Asia and Western Europe and found that nine out of 10 of those surveyed confirmed that brand experience is more central to their roles today than it was in the past. The survey found that nine out of 10 B2B and consumer audiences agree that brand experiences that deliver stronger personal interactions offer more compelling brand engagements.
"The role of brand experience continues to increase in scope and importance, as audience expectations evolve," said Chris Cavanaugh, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Freeman. "Steep competition, changing demographics and more sophisticated audiences mean now, more than ever, marketers need new approaches.”
Across the board, more than two-thirds of survey respondents agree that brand experience is an effective way to reach their organizations' goals. With 59% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) recognizing brand experience for its ability to create ongoing relationships with key audiences, the report found that as marketers realize the value of brand experiences, they are shifting spend, with more than one in three CMOs expecting to allocate 21-50% of their budget to brand experience marketing over the next three to five years.
Marketers also believe in customizing experiences to create stronger connections, yet they may not be moving fast enough. Currently, the top three tactics they are used to drive brand experience are website (58%), social media (57%) and email marketing (51%). Those that are moving quickly to immerse an audience into a brand are more likely to take advantage of marketing tools that include interactive touch screens, location mapping, virtual reality, and gamification.
The report found that in Asia especially, marketers appear to be early adopters of more immersive, interactive technologies, with 42% tapping into sensory interaction as a way to personalize brand experience, compared to 28% in North America and 13% in Western Europe. Further, 31% of Asian companies use virtual reality, compared to a meager seven to nine percent elsewhere. Gamification is another growing digital integration, with 22% of companies in Asia versus only nine percent and 13% for their respective counterparts.
Brand experience is growing across all sectors, yet when looking at marketing roles within an organization, there remains a disconnect with 48% of CMOs interpreting brand experience as a way to showcase thought leadership, but only 33% of brand managers and 28% of event planners agree. More than 58% of CMOs feel brand experience delivers strong impact in connecting audiences to their brands and increasing advocacy, yet those numbers drop by 13 to 18% with brand managers and event planners.
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