The Case for B2B Advertising
B2B Marcom Insider
You look around and see your competitors’ ads everywhere. “Fools,” you say. “Don’t they know social media and website search engine optimization (SEO) are today’s way to grow sales. Why are they spending marketing dollars that way,” you mutter to yourself.
They’re not fools. Matter of fact, they probably have a better bottom line.
This iconic McGraw-Hill ad from the ‘70’s spells out the value of advertising from the customers’ viewpoint.
“I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s products.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now — what was it you wanted to sell me?”
Advertising = Awareness
The goal of advertising is to create brand awareness to answer these questions before your sales people get in the door. It presells customers so your sales people can spend their time negotiating, not prospecting. Regular advertising also ensures that your messages are available to customers when the need for your product arises.
Advertising awareness also keeps existing customers sold. It solidifies their purchasing decision by dealing with a known, respected supplier that they can easily justify to others in the organization. It is also supports your sales channels by giving them a trusted brand to use with their customers.
Advertising = Inquiries
Of course, advertising creates inquires. Emails, website hits, phone calls, distributor/dealer contacts and more — customers want to know more. Inquiries can be a bone of contention for some B2B sales organizations. Why? The B2B sales cycle is typically a long process — three months to a year, or longer.
In the business/manufacturing world there are many barriers to choosing a new product or service: budget timelines must be addressed, new products need to specified and engineering drawings must be completed, compatibility with current installations and operations, approvals may be needed on several levels, dependent on new design criteria, maintenance/component inventories adjusted, and on and on, and on.
Advertising = Component of the Marketing Mix
Today’s marketing communications toolbox contains more options than ever before to reach customers and support sales channels: direct and sponsored email, SEO, QR codes, social media, mobile media, website banners and more. Remember though, these are just tactics like traditional tools: advertising, direct mail and tradeshows.
The trick is to strategically use these tactics to meet specific communications goals. Don’t get caught up with the “latest and greatest” mentality. Look at the value that individual tactics offer and how they can work in concert to provide maximum value.
Remember though, regardless of the tools used, repetition will provide maximum value. Repetition builds brand awareness and credibility so when the customers’ need arises — they will remember your company. Don’t sacrifice repetition with too many tactics.