Every agency knows the struggle of endless jobs to be done when it comes to marketing. And now, marketing teams have a greater responsibility to connect with their company’s revenue and growth than ever before. In the past, marketing teams used to fulfill these demands by using traditional tactics like advertising, public relations, or trade shows. Don’t get me wrong— those are still used in abundance today, except now it’s in addition to all the other areas that the marketing team has to focus on as well: content development, social media, experiential, guerrilla, account-based marketing, SEO, PPC …. Shall I go on?

If you looked at the “marketing pie” that lists out all the categories of marketing tactics, it is split into 15 or 20 different groupings like the ones above. How do you expect any marketing team (especially small ones) to successfully manage all of these categories at once? The answer? You can’t.

This is why you should update and implement a new “marketing pie” that only has two categories: activation and brand. Let’s take a look at each one.


Sales activation means any activity that aims to get an immediate response, usually a piece of information, an offer, or a performance claim capable of delivering a cost-effective response. Activation is a process that could last anywhere from six months to two years and should focus on short-term wins inputting warm or hot prospects into the top of the sales funnel that output new clients at the bottom.

The challenge is that the activities in the activation category can be very effective for the revenue and growth of the company but are hard to sustain due to their short-term focus. This puts pressure on marketing teams to continually refresh new incentives.


In contrast, brand-building is focused on long-term growth. Marketing efforts are aimed toward an emotional level to create longstanding memories that influence purchase decisions once the activation tactics have run. This is tougher than activation but is ultimately more effective because it leads to longer effects and the results can accumulate over time. As a result, brand-building is the main driver to long-term growth and profit.

The B2B Institute at LinkedIn’s report, The 5 Principles of Growth in B2B Marketing,” breaks down the relationship between brand and activation, which includes a chart (shown below) that perfectly depicts the value of spending budget effort on both activation and brand building.


The team at the B2B Institute determined that efficiency appears to be maximized when around 46% of the budget is allocated to brand, with around 54% allocated to activation in B2B. As you start to allocate your own yearly budget and marketing efforts, keep in mind that simplifying your goals into short-term (activation) and long-term (brand) tactics can provide your company and marketing team with the balance it needs.