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How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Brand as the Top Driver of Growth

by Julia Cupman  |  
March 16, 2018

A recent B2B International survey* of large businesses serving B2B markets has found optimism among marketers across the US and Europe, many of whom are focusing on brand as a growth driver.

Increasing investment in marketing reflects optimism

The outlook is positive: 57% of survey respondents anticipate marketing budget increases this year, compared with 38% last year who said they were expecting an increase.

Although that optimism is industrywide (no more than 13% expect a decrease in budgets, regardless of the industry group), those in trades and services (e.g., retail, hospitality, transportation, and energy) are more optimistic about their marketing budgets than those in knowledge-based sectors (e.g., IT/technology, financial services, healthcare, and education).

Market research budgets are also set to increase: 49% of respondents anticipate an increase over the next 12 months, versus only 13% expecting a decrease and 38% envisioning no change. That pattern is the same for the US and Europe.

Branding is the top strategy for growth, but most marketers acknowledge brand deficiencies

The most widely deployed marketing strategy is branding: 60% of respondents say they are focusing on initiatives to grow their brands. However, although the importance of branding is recognized, many marketers are facing challenges in building their brands:

  • Only 41% of respondents say their organization has a strong USP (unique selling proposition).

  • Only 43% perform well in assessing their brand health at regular intervals (e.g., measuring awareness, brand perceptions, brand performance).

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Julia Cupman is vice-president at global business-to-business market research agency B2B International, which serves a wide range of sectors, from traditional heavy industry to financial and business services. Reach her via +1-914-761-1909 or email:

LinkedIn: Julia Cupman

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  • by Peter Altschuler Fri Mar 16, 2018 via web

    It would be oh-so-helpful to explain what NPS stands for (I assume it's Net Promoter Score, judging by the prevalence of that phrase on the B2B International website) and what companies do when they are "acting on the findings." If gathering NPS data requires research, then how is "market research to address those challenges" different? And what type of research is likely to reveal the most pertinent information?

    If a large percentage of companies are succeeding at branding and its measurement, what are they doing that others are not? And what are Germany, the UK, and Europe overall doing that's making them more successful than their peers in the US?

    Numbers are nice, but explanations about what's behind them are better.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Fri Mar 16, 2018 via web

    Hi, Peter. We'll clarify in the text what "NPS" stands for. Thanks for pointing that out. Now, considering your substantial comments on various articles, I think you really should write a bylined article or two for MarketingProfs. The community would benefit from your experience and knowledge. If you think you might be up for it, please check out our guidelines:

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