The Marketing Strategist:

Featured Research: Marketers Must Beat the B2B Brand Titans at Their Own Game

January 26, 2012

ITSMA’s 2011 Professional Services and Solutions Brand Tracking Study reveals that there are a few market leaders and a large pack of followers; yet the market remains fragmented and opportunities for differentiation abound. IBM tops the list for the 11th year in a row for unaided awareness, with more than 50% of respondents naming IBM as the company that first comes to mind when thinking about consulting and technology services. This is a significant jump from th e 2010 study. HP, clearly helped by its acquisition of EDS, has secured its position in the number-two spot for unaided awareness after vaulting ahead of Accenture for the first time in the 2010 study. Interestingly, EDS has just about fallen off the radar one year post-acquisition—a testament to a smooth transition. “Other” companies, or those named only once, commanded 35% of the unaided awareness, more than any single company, save for IBM. The India Gap The data shows that the strong companies are getting even stronger. Based on ITSMA’s Brand Equity Index, IBM’s and HP’s brand equity increased in 2011 while most others’ stagnated. IBM, HP, Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte have the highest brand equity. Global India-based companies continue to lag behind US- and European-based providers. Among these companies, brand equity is highest for Infosys, Cognizant, and Tata Consultancy Services. Unaided Awareness In a fragmented market such as this, less well-known players have an opportunity to gain mindshare. However, brand equity cannot be built overnight. It takes consistent and persistent marketing, which means as a marketer, you must:
  • Conduct research to find out what is most important to your target market and how clients currently perceive you.
  • Promote your areas of strength that align with client and prospect priorities.
  • Launch both broad and more targeted marketing campaigns (on- and offline), highlighting thought leadership, not capabilities.
  • Market to your current clients as well as your prospects.
  • Educate prospective buyers via nurture campaigns that engage clients and prospects on an ongoing basis.
  • Substantiate your brand and differentiation with proof points (e.g., case studies, benchmarks, testimonials, simulations, etc.).

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