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The hidden power of measuring share of voice for B2B marketing

In B2B marketing, where the battle for visibility and engagement intensifies by the day, one metric stands out for its ability to provide invaluable insights into a brand’s pervasiveness: Share of Voice (SoV). It’s become a pivotal benchmark for marketers aiming to gauge their brand’s health, competitive standing, and overall market influence.

Why should B2B marketers pay such close attention to SoV? Because, if used correctly, SoV can shape strategic decisions, optimize marketing efforts, and forecast future trends. At its core, SoV offers a quantifiable glimpse into how much of the conversation your brand owns compared to your competitors. However, SoV can be problematic if you’re only looking at brand mentions—especially in niche B2B industries where your total addressable market can be small and the buyer’s journey is complex. Truly understanding SoV beyond brand mentions has the power to highlight opportunities for growth and areas in need of attention.

Let’s explore the reasons SoV is a critical component of any successful B2B marketing strategy. We’ll discover its hidden power in providing directional insight, helping you understand which channels, campaigns, and messages resonate with your audience. In a landscape where every marketing dollar needs to count, SoV can ensure you’re investing in areas that offer the greatest potential for return.

From brand visibility to brand relevance

Traditionally, companies track SoV through social listening tools, media monitoring, and SEO rankings. Why? Because these tactics offer quantifiable data to illustrate how often your brand name pops up in conversations versus your competitors. It’s a straightforward approach but, to be honest, a bit surface-level.

At its core, a higher SoV means your brand is more visible and potentially top-of-mind among your target audience, but B2B marketing isn’t about being seen; it’s about being remembered. In order to understand if brand mentions are actually doing anything for you beyond visibility, you need to properly analyze SoV through multiple lenses. Consider the following filters to take SoV from brand visibility to brand relevance:

  • Sentiment analysis: How is your brand perceived in the instances where it’s mentioned? Sentiment analysis is the process of indicating the tone of a piece of content—positive, negative or neutral. This can help you gauge the emotional connection your brand has with its audience and identify areas for improvement. A high SoV with positive sentiment can be a powerful driver of brand preference and loyalty.
  • Context analysis: In what context is your brand being mentioned? Are the mentions in line with your brand’s messaging and values? What are the key messages, topics, and terms you want your brand to be known for? Is your brand mentioned in these conversations? Contextual analysis can reveal whether your brand is discussed in relevant conversations that matter to your target audience—enhancing its relevance.
  • Source/channel analysis: Where do your buyers find information? What publications and voices in the industry do they follow and engage with? Is your brand being mentioned there? It’s important to evaluate the credibility and authority of the sources mentioning your brand. Mentions in reputable industry publications or by influential figures can have a greater impact on brand relevance than mentions in less credible sources. The quality of the source can enhance the perceived value of your brand.
  • Trend analysis: How has your SoV changed over time? Are there external factors you’ve identified that have influenced your SoV? Does your SoV correlate with changes in the industry? Are there emerging themes or topics associated with our brand over time? It’s important to monitor the trends over time in your brand mentions. An increasing SoV is good, but understanding the trends, seasonal fluctuations, industry changes or the impact of specific campaigns can provide deeper insights into brand relevance and audience engagement.
  • Competitor analysis: Where are your competitors being mentioned? How are your competitors being talked about? What conversations are your competitors a part of or not a part of? How does your brand compare? It’s crucial to keep a close eye on your competitors. Analyzing your SoV in relation to your competitors can help identify your brand’s position in the market. It’s not just about having a larger SoV but having a more impactful presence in the conversations that matter most to your target audience.

It’s not just about the volume; it’s about the value of the conversation. Yes, SoV through these lenses can be cumbersome to set up and maintain for several reasons—refining keywords, determining filtering criteria, mining through a volume of data, monitoring various channels, evaluating the quality of the content, analyzing competitive data and sentiment, etc. But the key is to set clear objectives and continuously refine your filters.

Expanding SoV applications beyond traditional marketing metrics can also enhance content strategy, PR efforts, thought leadership, and storytelling. By delving into these nuanced applications, you can leverage SoV to gauge market position and shape the narrative and strategic outreach in innovative ways.

Unearthing the hidden gems

Here are some ways to use SoV to inform your marketing program:

  • Enhance content strategy: SoV highlights topics currently capturing the market’s attention. Analyzing the conversations and keywords associated with your brand and competitors can reveal gaps in your content offering or underexploited areas of high interest. This insight allows you to craft relevant and engaging content, ensuring it resonates with your target audience. This is particularly crucial in B2B marketing, where the emphasis is on building relationships and establishing thought leadership. Aligning your content strategy with SoV can help increase engagement, boost SEO, and establish your brand as a go-to resource.
  • Tailor public relations (PR) efforts: In PR, understanding the landscape is crucial for timing your initiatives and framing your narratives. SoV can identify trending topics, emerging issues, and the overall sentiment toward your brand and industry. SoV can also help identify key influencers and media outlets that dominate the conversation in your sector, allowing for targeted outreach.
  • Elevate thought leadership: Thought leadership is about setting the agenda, not just participating in conversations. SoV can reveal which topics are saturated and which are emerging, focusing your efforts where they can have the greatest impact. Leading discussions on underrepresented but growing areas of interest can position your brand at the forefront of innovation. SoV insights can also help identify opportunities to contribute new ideas, research, and perspectives that fill existing content voids, establishing your brand as a visionary leader.
  • Craft compelling stories: Storytelling is an art that requires a deep understanding of your audience’s interests, challenges, and aspirations. SoV provides a data-driven foundation to craft stories that are not only compelling but also highly relevant to your audience. By analyzing the themes and narratives that are resonating in your industry, you can develop storytelling that aligns with these interests, ensuring your brand’s stories engage and inspire. Furthermore, SoV can help you identify the best channels and formats for your storytelling, whether it’s through blogs, videos, podcasts, or social media, maximizing the reach and impact of your narratives.

SoV has the potential to be more than a metric; if properly filtered and analyzed, it can become a strategic compass and a pivotal tool that provides a panoramic and multifaceted view of your brand’s market presence, competitive landscape, and growth potential. Extending the application of SoV beyond its conventional boundaries creates a wealth of opportunities for B2B marketers to refine their content strategy, tailor their PR efforts, establish thought leadership, and create compelling storytelling. By leveraging SoV in these innovative ways, marketers can ensure their strategies are data-informed and deeply aligned with their target audiences. Together, this approach promises to drive greater engagement and establish a stronger market presence for your brand.

Has tracking SoV made a difference for your business? Share your experiences and insights with us. If you’re aiming to enhance your SoV analysis or better incorporate it into your marketing efforts, we’re here to help. We can elevate your brand’s presence and ensure it stands out in the market’s chorus. Connect with us to explore SoV’s full potential and ensure brand relevance.

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