Thanks to ‘that’ virus, it’s been a shitty old time for most marketers amid declining sales and reduced budgets.
Perhaps the only silver lining of the marketing malaise is that it’s spawned a voracious discussion around whether we should be pumping resources and dollars into short-term sales or long-term brand advertising.
Like many, I’m an unabashed fan of these marketing luminaries, and their groundbreaking book The Long and the Short of It.
But I find it intriguing that the bulk of industry commentary about their work centres on paid advertising, principally TV.
But I’ll keep that thought bubble to myself.
Binet and Field’s greatest hits for B2C/B brands
Do yourself a favour and read the Marketing effectiveness in the digital era tome the dynamic duo produced for IPA Databank. Here are some of my favourite evidence-based findings:
See what I mean? It’s a marketing effectiveness thesis across myriad channels, not just TV. But I digress.
TV alone is not the panacea
One of the paper’s key findings is that paid activity works much harder when it’s integrated with owned and earned activity.
It makes the point that depending on your target audience, TV may not be the optimum paid mechanism:
“If you are selling swimming pools to wealthy people, or management consultancy to CEOs, TV advertising is unlikely to be the answer.”
It’s a bloody important point, and something we’ve been banging on about for some time.
One of our B2B clients has an extremely specific target audience, with literally about 400 ‘targets’ nationwide. Their secondary target audience pretty much work at institutional banks and management consultancies.
The qual and quant research we did showed that – unsurprisingly – this audience is generally not watching Dancing with the Stars, or similar high-reach media.
So despite TV offering the greatest reach, a big budget ATL campaign would be largely wasted because it’s not the best way to engage their target audience.
The Green Hat/AMI B2B Marketing Research Report 2020 reinforced that for many B2B marketers, TV is not the Holy Grail.
It found that only 4% of respondents are planning to invest their marketing budget into traditional media – print, radio and TV – in the next 12 months.
In contrast, the research showed that owned media would secure the bulk of the marketing budget, with 48% planning to invest in content and 43% in websites and SEO.
These findings reaffirm a really interesting takeout from Binet and Field that’s too often missed.
Unequivocally, they say you must be investing in paid to extend your reach and brand, but they don’t prescribe TV as the sole answer.
For instance, sponsoring events, amplifying owned content or investing in YouTube pre-roll may be the best approach for your brand and target audience.
Owned and earned help smash effectiveness out of the park
Done well, owned talks to all stages of the funnel and contributes to short-term activations as well as building long-term brand equity. Ditto earned, to which it’s joined at the hip.
I’ll defer to Green Hat’s research again: “Best-in-class marketers… recognise the critical role of content in enabling their future customers to find them, rather than the other way around. For most B2B marketers, inbound marketing is the strategic imperative.”
Case in point, here are some hard numbers for people who engaged with a content hub we developed (versus non visitors):
Of equal importance is the fact we optimised the corporate affairs activity for search, and trained the media team on keyword optimisation. And pretty quickly, the newsroom started to rank organically for branded and non-branded terms, and we experienced a massive uptick in journalists contacting us for positive consumer PR opportunities.
While these are fantastic results, I’m the first to acknowledge how much better they’d be if – to Binet and Field’s point – we’d been able to increase paid media budget to drive even more people to these assets, and to engage them across multiple channels.
Owned and earned can, and should, be ‘always on’, enabling you to reach more people within your target market, priming for sales and ultimately being a sales and profit multiplier.
And at the same time, they can be leveraged as part of your short-term sales activations, too.
** Note: In the second part of this article, we will deep-dive on Binet and Field truth bombs that show integrating your marketing mix boosts effectiveness significantly. And we’ll detail how to do it.
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