Why B2Bs Need to Invest Big in Share of Voice, According to Data

B2Bs need to invest big in share of voice to grow

Share of voice—the percentage of the market that your brand owns compared to your competitors—is one of the determining factors in whether your company will grow or stagnate. 

It’s been proven again and again in the B2B world. 

graph displaying the direct relationship between brands' share of voice and share of marketSource

That graph from LinkedIn tracks brands’ share of voice (SOV) over their share of market (SOM)—the percentage of an industry’s sales that your brand owns. 

As you can see, when the SOV is greater than the SOM, brands grow. If SOV is less than SOM, brands falter. 

So what’s a virtual CMO to do with this all-important metric? In this blog post, we’ll answer two questions: 

  1. How do you calculate your SOV and SOM so you have benchmarks to measure against? 
  2. How can you start increasing your SOV?

 Here we go!

How do you calculate your Share Of Voice and Share Of Market?

You can calculate your Share of Voice in a couple of ways, but you’ll need some data for each one. 

First, you’ll need to gather numbers for:

  • Your brand’s total advertising investment (for a year or a quarter)
  • Your industry’s total advertising investment (for the same period)
  • Your brand’s total mentions (you’ll need a social media listening tool or a PR analytics tool for this)
  • Total mentions in your industry

You may need help from your analytics team, PR agency, social media staff, and others to get all this information. 

Once you have it, you’ll use one of these basic SOV equations. 

How to calculate advertising/marketing Share of Voice:

(Your brand’s advertising / The total advertising in the market) *100 = your Share of Voice

How to calculate PR Share of Voice:

(Your brand’s mentions / total industry mentions)*100 = your Share of Voice

Once you’ve got those numbers, you have your SOV benchmarks, and you can start setting goals. 

Now let’s move on to market share or Share of Market. 

How to calculate Share of Market

To calculate SOM, you’ll need this data:

  • Your total revenue over a year or quarter
  • Total revenue in your industry over the same period

Then you’ll use this equation: 

(Your brand’s revenue / Total industry revenue) x 100

There you have it! You now know your SOV and SOM, and you can start comparing them to see whether you’re on a growth trajectory or a stagnation/shrinking one. 

How to increase your Share of Voice

Regardless of where you are in terms of growth, increasing your SOV should always be part of your B2B marketing strategy. 

For frontrunners or those who already control a significant market share in their industry, adding an additional 10 points to SOV can equate to 1.4% growth in market share. 

The task is a bit harder for challenger brands or those who are still trying to move into the frontrunner space. You need to create an SOV strategy that’s about 3.5 times as effective as the industry leader if you plan to increase your SOM.

It sounds daunting, but you can absolutely do it. 

Here’s how. 

Use the Mixed Marketing Model

Zen’s proprietary Mixed Marketing Model is how we achieve massive growth for clients. This model refers to the different types of content/coverage available – Paid, Shared, Earned, and Owned media — and how they can be used together.

Paid media refers to things like paid ads or influencer campaigns—coverage you can purchase. 

Earned media is PR—mentions in feature stories, interviews on podcasts, etc. 

Owned is all the content your brand creates, from blog posts to webinars and social posts. 

And Shared is any media that you co-own with another—a co-branding arrangement, for example, or media about a partnership with a local charity, or a guest post on a thought leader’s blog. 

By optimizing your exposure in all of these different areas, the Mixed Marketing Model can create real momentum for brands trying to increase their SOV. 

Invest in ongoing PR 

B2B PR can have an outsized effect on your bottom line and your SOV. Why? Because reputation and trust matter even more for B2Bs than they do for B2Cs.

Getting your brand media mentions, having your leadership team quoted in major outlets, earning a column in an industry journal—all these things build trust in your company and your people, and they get your name in front of a whole new audience. That trust and awareness are what help push your company to the front of your industry.

What’s more, the number of touchpoints required to take someone from B2B prospect to customer continues to go up—according to research by Forrester in 2017. 

It was 17, but in 2021, it had risen to 27. 

The more those prospects see your brand’s name, the more likely they’ll think of you before your competitors the next time they’re looking for the product you sell. 

Improve your SEO. 

Remember how many times a prospect needs to interact with your brand before buying? By improving your website’s SEO, you’ll make it a lot easier for them to come across you online when they search for a relevant keyword.

There are many ways to go about this, from a full-scale, outsourced SEO audit to tackling small pieces at a time when your team is able to. 

But there are a few guidelines that you should follow regardless of your approach. 

First, make sure you’re targeting the right keywords. What are your customers searching for? Then, what are they clicking on? You can use a tool like Google Ads to figure out which keywords you need to prioritize. 

Creating valuable content is another often overlooked factor in improving your site’s SEO. By creating and publishing fresh, original, and engaging content on your website regularly, you can improve your search rankings over time. 

Finally, you can augment your content and B2B SEO strategy by implementing a paid ads campaign. These ads can take people to your most popular product or service pages, your most high-performing content, or landing pages where they can download your whitepapers or reports in exchange for an email address. 

Increasing your SOV should be a priority for every B2B brand out there, especially those still working toward becoming industry leaders. Want our team to get you started? Reach out any time.


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