If you are in marketing or have been around the internet at all, then I’m sure you have heard this at one point or another in the last 3-5 years: Is Traditional marketing dead?
Traditional marketing is not dead, but it's time to combine it with digital marketing to yield better results and stay relevant.
While it is true that marketing has massively changed over the past 10 years – the “traditional” ways are not necessarily dead. Let me explain: B2C marketing has changed. We all know it, we all see it. It changed because of tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook combined with companies like Samsung and Apple who have made information readily available to all of us in the palm of our hands. We live in a world full of instant gratification. Everyone from CEO to high-school age knows how to use Amazon and can get just about anything they want on their doorstep in two days or less. Millennials, Gen-Z, Gen-X, and Baby Boomers alike have become “used to” this new way of living.
While we often look at the B2C space as “how fast can we deliver a product or service?” It is not just products, services, apps, etc... that we are used to receiving with record speed, it’s information.
We live in a world where just about anyone can find the answer to a problem through the internet – and if you can’t find a direct answer for your problem – you can more than likely find someone who can solve your problem. All within a matter of minutes or in a 'worst-case scenario,' hours. This is where most B2B companies fail. They assume because their business has been around for a hundred years, everyone already knows who they are and how to buy from them.
Therefore, they don't “need” to revitalize their marketing strategies. They have outbound sales reps hitting the streets creating awareness for them and the ‘new age’ of marketing is for the young startups, retailers, and e-commerce. It’s not for a credit union or manufacturing firm. What these large, well-established companies are forgetting is that things are and have massively changed. The C-level execs their reps are selling have become used to receiving information at lightning speeds. They don’t need your rep to come in and talk about how great your products or services are. The 19 reps that came in before them said the same thing.
Your audience needs to know your firm is different. They need to know why your credit union is better or why they should use your law firm and no it’s not because you have the lowest rates or the fastest response times. Sure, that plays a part, but that’s not going to be enough to help you massively grow in the next 5-10 years. Because remember, 'everyone' has the best rates, the fastest service, and the lowest upfront cost…you’re not 'that' different. If a c-level exec doesn’t want to buy from your firm. They run a simple Google search and BAM they have a list of 14 other companies in your area that do the exact same thing that you do.
So the question remains, how do you differentiate yourself enough to stand out from the masses? Sure, you can swap up your products and offerings but those are short-term fixes for long-time problems.
As a B2B company – you don’t have to completely throw away your traditional channels and “old-school” ways of marketing. You can continue running your TV, newspaper, and radio ads. You can continue sending direct mailers and creating eye-catching billboards. What you need to change is not so much the channel (although being active online is kind of a given in 2019), you need to focus on changing your message. You need to change the way you market yourself. You have to show them you are different not by what you offer, but because of who you are.
Being a Millennial-Focused Marketing firm – we meet with a lot of traditional, well-established businesses who are looking for ways to revamp their marketing strategies to attract younger eyes and they almost never like our plan. They assume we are going to create awesome content in Adobe and run amazing, well-targeted Facebook and YouTube ads. While this is true to an extent, it’s the message that matters. We can run a half-decent ad built in Canva pushing brand messages and get better results than a fine-tuned Photoshopped creation pushing promotional content.
We know you have the best products and services. We’ve been told that for years by you and everyone else in your space. That doesn’t catch our eyes anymore. We have the attention span of less than a freaking goldfish! Do you really think that your “lowest car loan rates” ad is really going to be enough to not only convert me but create a lifetime customer? Probably not.
What will create a lifetime customer is knowing who you are and why you do what you do. This creates an emotional connection between you and I that goes far deeper than “20% of my next visit.” When we understand why you do what we do – we feel as if we know you and that’s enough to keep us coming back. The biggest problem we face (as an agency) when selling to B2B firms is getting them to break out of their comfort zone enough to change the message. To stop pushing so much promotional content and start pushing more branding. The branding is what creates fans – true life-long fans.
Merge the old with the new. Use the billboards to connect with your community and run a Facebook ad with a one-minute video interview of your CEO telling us why he comes to work every day. Create a YouTube channel that shows your employees having fun at work and getting out to connect and give back to your community.
You want to sell more in the digital era? Become bigger, better, and stronger? Choose to be different. Take risks. Stand out. Show us why you sell what you sell and create what you create. Show us how you treat your employees and community. Show us why we should buy from you. Change is scary, there is no denying that. But change is needed for growth, especially in the ever-changing market we have today. Be different, stand out, and don't be afraid to challenge the status quo.
Jacob is a Branding Strategist, Keynote Speaker and Founder of UnderDog Social. He believes the greatest achievements are done by those that were told they couldn't. He focuses on helping entrepreneurs, founders, and 'side-hustler's' sell through the story by building a personal brand and marketing their company brand through the art of storytelling. Having a rough upbringing taught him the importance of taking responsibility, building solid relationships, and valuing a fun work environment. His content has been viewed over a million times. His hope is to empower a community of people to be better and do more than anyone thought possible.