The event presenting the results of the first research in Italy aimed at exploring the role of the brand for the "business to business" industry was held last 24th March in streaming.
The research “Branding e aziende B2B” is the result of the collaboration between UPA, the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, WebAds, digital adv sales house and exclusive Italian partner of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and The LinkedIn B2B Institute, a thinktank that investigates the future of B2B marketing.
The research, carried out between December 2020 and January 2021, analysed the activation of initiatives related to the construction and promotion of the brand as a driver of value in the B2B industries.
The research discloses an interesting overview. There is a cultural orientation that is favourable to implementing Brand Building initiatives, also digital, despite still low numbers in terms of investment by B2B companies in both commercial communication and brand activities. There is therefore a strong potential for growth in the B2B communication market, to be achieved by bridging the gaps perceived by companies in these industry, primarily those related to the need for dedicated training and reliable measurement tools.
In details, more than 60% the Italian B2B firms, regardless of belonging industry, invest less than 5% of their turnover in marketing and communication. 68% of respondents invest less than 30% of the Marcom budget in Brand Building initiatives. Furthermore, a strong short-term orientation prevails: among the most pursued business goal there are the acquisition of new customer (74%), the increase of the market share (47%) and profitability (44%). Customer loyalty get the second position (52%).
On the other hand, B2B companies are aware of the importance of brand value: 65% of the survey respondents claim that the top management of their firms believes that the Brand Equity is a fundamental driver of business performance; 63% of B2B companies believe that the current level of investments in Brand Building initiatives is undersized. The interest and the attention to topics related to the brand are confirmed by the inclination to invest more resources in the future: the level of investments in Brand Building activities is expected to grow in the next years for 67% of the sample’s enterprises.
The gap between the current level of spending for supporting the brand and the importance attributed to it is due to a plurality of causes. Among these, for the 64% of respondents, the lack of knowledge (in particular for 44% of them is the lack of awareness of how Brand Equity can impact business performance (** we should add the levers we talk about in our research: Price and Margin, longterm growth, competitor share gain, differentiation, sales leverage and investment value) represents the main barrier to investments in Brand Building initiatives) and for the 42% the strong orientation towards the short-term performances. The current lack of adequate skills also results into the low propensity to monitor the results of Brand Building initiatives: only 29% of the Italian B2B analysed enterprises monitor the results during the following six months and beyond.
Looking at the analysis of the means used for the different marketing and communication activities, subject of a specific section of the research, the data relating to digital media (videos, digital banners, social media, etc.) are particularly relevant: for 91% of B2B Italian companies, they represent the most widely used means of communication, overcome also fairs and events (76%). Even more relevant is the fact that digital advertising is primarily used as a brand building tool.