B-to-B Insights: Attain Success in an Integrated World
Most marketers can recite the official chief marketing officer (CMO) mantra: “Integrate all campaigns! Speak with one voice! Deliver a brand-consistent message across all channels!” This mantra is accompanied by visions of steadily growing awareness, preference for a company’s brand, along with ever increasing shareholder value.
Where mantra becomes shibboleth—for B-to-B and B-to-C marketers alike—is in its application to direct marketing. That’s because marketing organizations often don’t appreciate the subtle tactical differences between brand-building and response generation. Earnestly supporting the vision of the CMO, they routinely send their agencies on missions to create work that is fatally flawed.
Not the result you had in mind? To avoid it, let’s take a moment to examine the respective drivers of brand and direct marketing.
Building Preference vs. Generating Response
Brand advertising has evolved from public relations, a one-to-many communication method with a one-way channel from marketer to consumer. It is primarily focused on changing the way people think about a company and its products, so as to ultimately drive preference.
In pursuit of this goal, brand marketers instruct their advertising agencies to develop “big idea” creative that will make a positive impression on consumers. Then, they employ the most targeted and cost-effective vehicles to expose their target audience to the same message again and again, to ultimately influence thinking and recall. It takes a while, and it isn’t cheap, but it works.
To illustrate this point, fill in the following blank space:_______ Soup.
If you can fill in that blank without once thinking of Campbell’s, you are one exceptional individual.
What are the underlying drivers of branding? Positioning strategy, combined with unique and innovative creative execution, to attract the attention and influence the mind of the target audience.
Direct marketing, on the other hand, has evolved from sales. It is a one-to-one communication method with a two-way communication channel. It’s focused on affecting not what people think, but what they actually do. Direct marketing is about prompting action—right now. The target audience’s awareness of the product/service, or of its brand, really doesn’t matter all that much.