Marketing has come a long way in the last decade. Not only are the tools of marketing evolving rapidly (social media to name just one), but our ability to measure results is evolving just as fast. And that’s excellent news for marketing, which suffers from a bad reputation. As I mentioned in a previous post, somewhere along the way marketing became about creative (‘sizzle’), not about numbers (‘science’) – and has lost its place at the boardroom table as a result.
The reason that ‘creative’ grabs the attention is clear enough. Great marketing creative often delivers sensational success. Smart creative (a combination of great design and great customer insight) underlies AdAge’s Top 100 Campaigns of all time. From Kelloggs’ “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” to Volkswagon’s “Think Small”, great creative has lead to some phenomenal successes.
But B2B marketers should be very wary of great creative. First of all, of AdAge’s Top 100, only 8 are for B2B. That alone tells us that creative rarely has a place in producing stellar results for B2B companies. The other reason B2B marketers should be wary of creative is that - by its very nature – it is difficult to manage on a consistent basis. The billion dollar advertising agency industry is all about producing great creative – and in reality they don’t do it at all consistently. The other consideration about creative for B2B - few B2B companies have billions to spend on marketing.
B2B marketers should be far more focused on the science of marketing. The numbers and the nuts and bolts analysis that will help them achieve solid ROI. Good B2B marketing is achieved through these factors:
- linking strategy to tactics (need a strategy to start with and then to choose the right marketing tools)
- focus (doing a few things well)
- good project management (getting things done)
- measurement (tracking and calculating ROI)
- recallibration (making changes based on results).
90% of the marketing effort in B2B companies should be on these factors. The last 10% can be about creative, just to keep things entertaining.
This may not be flashy, but it will be effective.