In our recent article “Flexible inbound marketing: 7 key elements” we cited some useful statistics taken from an SDL survey of millennials (18 to 36 year olds) as reported by Figaro Digital.

Marketing campaigns are very much alive!SDL have also used their findings for a basis of a post in Marketing Finder under the bold headline “Campaigns are Extinct.” It’s worth downloading, because it’s well structured with some useful data, but we believe that its central contention is very misguided, especially for the B2B environment.

The article claims that: “The conventional marketing funnel is now irrelevant and traditional campaigns are extinct. These days, marketing success depends on customers engaging with -and sharing - your content within their trusted social networks. No one is waiting to be wooed by elaborate campaigns.”

Our response to this would be:

  • The survey was conducted specifically with a millennials group sample (18 to 36 year olds) and it would be a mistake to presume that the findings are true for other demographic segments. It leaves an awful lot of older working or retired consumers out in the cold!

  • B2B markets require a more comprehensive use of available channels and while social media can be important, it may be unwise to make it the single most critical platform of engagement. The needs of every business, and the ways it engages with its targets, are different.

    For instance, the article cites Forrester research findings that 38% of consumers don’t trust marketing emails. Well, apart from the fact that this presumably leaves a remaining majority of 62% of consumers being positive or at least neutral about them, in the B2B context, focused email marketing campaigns to opt-in lists prove their value time and time again.

  • In putting too much emphasis on posting engaging content on social networking sites, the importance of the corporate website can become ignored. This can lead to a fragmented vision of the business and its messages, since the format and character of each social network is different and impacts significantly on the type of content that can be shared.

    For instance, Twitter is a terrific communications channel, but there is little scope for in-depth comment in a 140 character tweet! However, through the corporate website a business can comprehensively present its products & services, philosophy, resources and people to best effect. The corporate website should be the hub of inbound marketing communications.

  • Marketing campaigns are very much alive!Strategic marketing campaigns are a powerful means to put messages and information out to target audiences. So-called push campaigning has been caricatured as megaphone marketing, but you don’t have to shout to inform.

    The approach can be as engaging and entertaining as you wish, but established marketing and PR methods have a job to do in presenting a brand and what it has to offer. For a start, when someone engages in conversation with a company via social media, they’ll want to know something about who they’re talking to!

    The SDL article describes millennial consumers wishing to connect with companies via social media in order “to get discounts” (58%) and “to get free perks” (51%). Good, simple promotional stuff no doubt, but hardly the basis for a communications and engagement strategy.

In a recent Econsultancy post “What is agile marketing and why do you need it” the author Christopher Ratcliff stresses how social media has influenced the rise of tactical agile marketing activities and how “marketing teams are more readily adding it to their strategies.”  He also describes Ashley Friedlin’s 70:20:10 rule which suggests the following mix of marketing strategies:

  • 70% of marketing should be planned “marketing as usual” activity

  • 20% of marketing should be programmatic machine-driven marketing that automatically responds to various actions of the user

  • 10% of marketing should be entirely agile, reacting to news and events as they happen

This formula may not suit every business, but the important thing is that it strikes a balance. This surely offers a broader picture of how marketing can be structured than the social network exclusive model conjured up by the SDL article.

BBI Brandboost sees the corporate website as the central means of business engagement, carrying excellent, SEO rich content supported and promoted by marketing, PR and social media activities. Contact us on 01494 452600, by email or via the Live Chat function on our website, to discuss our big picture approach to B2B online marketing and communications.

By Ronnie Gunn