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The 5 stages of B2B Brand Awareness

Creating B2B brand awareness is a critical step that impacts your entire revenue generation program. You might wonder at first why brand awareness matters with B2B. Isn’t it more important in the B2C world? 

It’s important not to confuse “B2B” and “corporation”. There are no faceless entities here. Though most B2B buying decisions go through a buying committee, you are still dealing with people. 

In order to create B2B brand awareness campaigns, it is important to follow the five stages of B2B brand awareness. Using this framework ensures you hit the right audiences at the right time with the right messaging.

Now let’s talk about those five stages so you can start incorporating them into your marketing strategy.

#1: Most Aware - Brand Ambassador

Getting prospects to transform from knowing nothing about you to knowing everything about your brand is where you want to get to with your B2B brand awareness campaigns. Those who become “most aware” of your brand are called your brand ambassadors. 

Brand ambassadors are the voice of your brand. Due to their deep involvement, they are in a position to speak on your behalf. They’re typically strong influencers and aren’t afraid to tell others about why they trust in what you do. 

These people can help your brand achieve its goals by building relationships with customers, asking for referrals, providing feedback, and even creating user-generated content. The key to having a successful brand ambassador is the ability to accurately identify who has reached this category and then finding ways to make those in-person connections that build trust. For this, a partnership manager or customer marketing manager is an excellent resource.

Building brand ambassadors take time and resources. After all, it is the end goal. The best way to get more brand ambassadors is to focus on building a community. Over time, the most engaged in the community naturally rise to become brand ambassadors. You can then work on further enabling them in the broader community.

#2: Product Aware - They Know You But Aren’t Customers Yet

People at this stage know they have the problem that you help solve. They also know that you exist. Your marketing campaigns brought them into your “world”. 

These people are on your email list and get your follow-up messages. Or, they’re paying attention to you on social media.

They might have active buying intent or are considering your competitors. It is important that you really stand out by marketing unique propositions. Limited time offers or increased incentives work well for product aware audiences helping them take the next step. If they are not ready to buy, you need to continue with your nurturing program.

The key is that you work hard to differentiate yourself and remove any friction so that you become the ultimate choice when the buying decision is made.

#3: Solution Aware - They Know Solutions Exist But Don’t Know You Yet

Potential prospects and clients in this category have become aware that they have a problem that needs to be solved. They’ve also moved into the researching phase to start uncovering solutions to their problem. 

The big problem for you is that they don’t know about your company yet.

Marketing to solution aware audiences is tricky. On one hand, if they haven’t found you by now, then there’s a hole in your marketing plan. You’d want to hit these audiences before they are solution aware. On the other hand, it presents a unique opportunity for you to slide into their consideration without having to invest too much into solution education. After all, your competitors probably did it already! Some strategies to get your infront of solution aware audiences includes competitor strategies or targeting buying intent keywords.

You need to go back to the drawing board and ask yourself how you can create content or ads that place you front and center when solution-aware prospects start investigating their solutions.

#4: Problem Aware - They Know They Have a Problem

Before a prospect can start researching solutions to the problem you solve and reach stage three from above, they must come to the first realization that they have the problem. 

This is the optimum phase where you can use B2B brand awareness tactics to get in front of prospects before they have started researching. If you can get to them here when they first realise that the problem exists, then you have an opportunity to influence the entire buying process giving yourself a competitive advantage.

Great strategies for this phase include targeting problem keywords or producing content that helps problem aware audiences tackle their problems.

For most businesses, this is the start of marketing activity.

#5: Unaware - They Don’t Know They Have a Problem

Anyone sitting at this stage doesn’t think they need any solutions because they’re not aware that a problem exists. 

The seasoned demand generation experts start marketing at this stage. It’s so early in the game that no one is moving. Perfect opportunity! A unified demand generation strategy is the best way to convert unaware audiences. Your entire team needs to align to make this happen.

Conclusion

Now that you know the five stages of awareness, it’s time to find out where your B2B brand awareness tactics and campaigns require adjustments. 

Ask yourself where you’re missing the mark in getting unaware prospects to take notice of your brand. Where are improvements necessary to more effectively get problem-aware and solution-aware prospects to see your brand as the top solution to their problems?

If you do your job right, then you can pick up new prospects through every stage and end up with brand ambassadors who bring you more customers for free.

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