In a world of finite and sometimes shrinking budgets, marketers need to know where to place their bets. How much of the annual marketing spend should be allocated toward brand building, and how much toward product launches and support?

Strong brand names are important drivers of new product adoption, according to a national research study of 500 general contractors, electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists conducted by Eric Mower + Associates Group B2B in 2011. Nearly half of all respondents rated brand “very influential” in their tool purchasing decisions. Contractors say they are less influenced by brand when purchasing building materials (27%).

While contractors chose the “results a product delivers” as their top decision driver (21%), “brand trust” ranked a close second (19%). Contractors are buying product performance, but they’re also leaning on brands they know and trust when making their selections.

Tool purchases often happen in the middle of a job — a tool breaks and must be replaced quickly or labor is idled and deadlines missed. By contrast, building materials are usually specified during the planning/bidding period. Time pressure is a factor in both purchasing scenarios, but it stands to reason that brand loyalty, familiarity and trust count for more when decisions must be made very quickly.