Is a product I use daily and have come to love. Just amazing growth story.
I’m roaming through The Economist. Slack’s latest advertising campaign is popping up on the odd page. The Economist has never been a magnet for great advertising but I’m astounded this week at how bad it is.
Companies that should know better – like Slack – have lost their mojo. Meanwhile the rotation of ads from the likes of DHL, CGTN, Merck and others is just flat out terrible.
I wonder how much the death of print media is to do with the lack of creative, compelling messaging, interesting points of view and more? Where once I read Wired and the FT for ads that informed and interested me – I guess I’m weird like that – I now just shudder and how bad the messaging and presentation is.
What happened to challenger brands looking to stand out? What happened to great creative that sung and caused us to talk? What happened to ads as stimulus for demand generation? As Mossberg points out, its even worse in Digital. Advertising is actually ruining our experience. Reflecting on Cannes this past year — the seminal creative and marketing event staged annually — I can’t recall a single B2B campaign being celebrated on stage. Or a single B2B marketer speaking.
It’s easy to point the finger at dry demand-side marketers who while sweating the latest performance numbers out of Google have no concept of Brand Vibrancy and its power to fill the funnel. A deeper issue prevails. How can B2B marketers rediscover their mojo as brand builders?
While it all starts with product, brands like Uber, Xero and AirBnB are built off the back of amazing customer experiences. They are as great at making product as they are at making marketing. They understand the crucial role that marketing and advertising play as part of the product experience. I’ve watched multiple companies improve their customer sat scores by improving their brand work. Customers want to love brands – marketers must give them a reason to do so.
What are the missing elements? Simple things done well:
- Using Challenger messaging that embraces the power of framing. Great brands define compelling positions and then own them.
- Segment aggressively and speak to those segments with clarity – understand the user and “super user” difference. Grok the moments of doubt, desire and dissatisfaction you are targeting.
- Build beautiful creative – often using in-house teams completely committed to expressing the brand with continuity – but also engaging agency partners that wield creativity as a weapon.
- Expressing purpose through product and positioning.
- They entertain – they are fun. They appear to be the kind of brands you want to hang out with. What makes podcasts like those from Tim Ferris and Rich Roll pop in the noise emanating from the thousands of B2B podcasts being produced each week? Simple, they have character and personality. B2B brands can do this as GE demonstrated.
Those are a few of the magical elements that the work littering our most important publications are missing.
It’s time B2B brands got their mojo back. It’s time B2B marketers got their mojo back.
Enjoyed this post from Clement. Nailed something I’ve been harping on about for the past few years – no one lead gen model is right. Test rigorously and correlate to revenue. Different businesses perform differently.
What is crucial in assessing marketing performance – and I’d argue this could be true for nearly any industry – not just tech and SaaS – is that Organic direct matters most. Put all the effort into making that work first. As Clement points out, the reason is simple – the best performing brands put viral and word of mouth to work in driving extraordinary performance from Organic direct.
“When you look at the 3 profiles above you notice that the channel from where most of the leads seems to come is the “organic — direct” channel…. The reason is that most of the fastest growing SaaS interviewed had a viral coefficient k well above 0.”
The great marketers I’m seeing embrace efficiency as a cornerstone marketing metric. They are focused on building a marketing platform – or loop – by which scale and speed are accelerated by the market independent of and at a multiple of spend. Rather than a myopic focus on marketing attribution in one channel or part of the business, they are focused on the total performance and efficiency of the platform. They are building Growth Loops!
So, lead generation models important subsets of the marketing model in total. Focus not just on organic generation (you’d better be great at it though) but also on creating a marketing platform that fuels and fires on its own.
Again a few negative tweets are used to make a story. This time Starbucks cups get a whipping. At what point does the media feel compelled to use data to support an assertion that a brand is facing a problem?
I’m assuming Starbucks is using a sophisticated social media monitoring tool like Lexer? At what point do they retort with the facts?
Really, it’s a clever little marketing ploy that’s worked – we are talking about coffee cups.
The coffee isn’t worth talking about that’s for sure.
I’m busy updating some of the newsletters that I depend on most for updates, insights and thought-provoking ideas. Here’s what made the “keep list”.
- Kevin Rose – The Journal: Wish it was weekly.
- Tim Ferris: Five Bullet Friday – always take something useful from it
- Hiten’s SaaS Weekly – if you are into SaaS you need to read this
- PitchBook – good review of VC action and reads
- First Round Review – good reads, links and more
- Stratechery – you’ll need to pay but well worth it.
What do you recommend?
Facebook messenger could be one on the most important business messaging platforms this year. Take part in the NYT messaging experiment and you get a sense of the platforms potential for customer service and support, communicating around events, and product launches.
Until now I’ve relied on Twitter but this is interesting.