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Overlooked opportunity: Building targeted awareness to create value

By Natasha Kesaji

B2B marketers often dismiss targeted awareness efforts in favor of content and direct marketing activities. While webinar and case study e-pushes demonstrate knowledge and results, awareness-building programs are often more successful in generating demand for products and services and ensuring your organization’s place in your target audience’s initial consideration set.

Influencers and decision makers complete 60% of the purchase-decision process independently from sales people, according to the Corporate Executive Board.

Both marketers and their agencies need to examine what takes place in the initial 60% of the buying cycle to develop relevant marketing activities that fill those gaps. This is a critical step in the direction of building and capturing a prospect’s initial interest and, in turn, funneling him or her into the sales pipeline.

According to global management consultant McKinsey & Co., consumer brands that are in the initial consideration set can be up to three times more likely to be purchased than brands that don’t make the cut.

While this is a consumer observation, marketers have to recognize that B2B decision makers are consumers, too, with purchases that have even more consequences than what they buy at the supermarket: Will they put their careers on the line and select a partner who no one knows?

Awareness can help assuage those concerns and build confidence around their recommendation of your brand as a potential contender.  

With the targeting technologies and niche-content providers that are available today, B2B marketers can effectively — and efficiently — build awareness among named accounts, specific titles, verticals and product and service categories.

We have observed many companies with narrow audiences forego these opportunities and focus too strictly on direct-marketing activities. This myopic way of thinking results in companies not being visible in the areas where their customers and prospects are increasingly circulating.

With the accessibility of marketing automation and webinar technologies, companies have the opportunity to act more independent from media outlets when they’re trying to get their messages heard.

This, however, can sometimes be limiting in terms of reach and credibility with the industry as a whole. Pursuing targeted awareness opportunities can expose your brand to influencers and decision makers you may not have identified, as well as secure a spot as a major player in the industry.

Targeted awareness efforts should be considered in the following situations:

  • Low awareness within the vertical/category
  • Unique product/service experiencing low demand/interest
  • Lack of industry credibility as an organization/solution
  • Existing audience perception is not reflective of the current organization/offering

Gone are the days of awareness activities as strictly for consumer marketers (or mega B2B brands).

If you devote all of your energy and budget to tactics that only allow decision makers to evaluate your products and services, you may be missing the opportunities to help prospects recognize the value of your brand.

Natasha Kesaji is VP of Client Services at Jacobs Agency.  She can be reached at

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