Write your own marketing "hits"

Have you fallen into the trap of repeating the same old campaign conventions of your industry? alan. MD Richard Hadler explains why it’s time to take a proactive approach to marketing.

Weddings are back on the agenda. And as I plan mine, I have got to thinking about cover bands. Destined to play other people’s songs forever more. It must be the most frustrating thing for musicians with their own creative aspirations.

The Beatles, after all, started out as a cover band. The world would have been deprived of the Fab Four had they remained playing Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly hits.

It reminds me of a common theme we often see amongst our own clients. More often than not we are presented with reactive briefs in response to a change in the marketplace or something a competitor has put out — as opposed to a proactive brief whereby the client sets the agenda.

Whether you work in B2B or B2C, marketers are inherently creative people. Yet, from my experience, marketers more often fall into the trap of “playing the hits” of their industry’s marketing playbook rather than taking a more leftfield approach — one that may reap even bigger rewards for their company and define their own careers.

Campaigns should reflect the changing habits of your customers revealed by research. Marketers, therefore, shouldn’t be thinking about the topics that mattered to their customer yesterday or even today, they should be thinking about what matters tomorrow. 

Marketers can no longer rely on post pandemic data to understand their customers’ wants and needs. Covid has transformed the landscape and now is the time to reevaluate. This is an issue our Head of Research and Insight Sarah Callaghan will be exploring in a future blog.

Budget can often be seen as a restricting factor for marketers — an issue that is only going to get worse when you consider that 71% of B2B marketers in our survey (B2B Marketing. Solved) said they are being asked to do more with less. In light of these constraints, it can be challenging for marketers to see how they can do things differently. 

It is certainly the comfortable option to follow a well-trodden path and react to something that has happened in the marketplace. But, whilst I recognise you always have to consider budget, it shouldn’t be the first thing marketers think about. It takes guts to be proactive and pioneer new marketing ideas. 

Thankfully the industry seems to agree. Some 30% of respondents to our survey (B2B Marketing. Solved) claimed the biggest change they wanted to make post Covid was to be bolder and more daring with creative and campaigns, and take more risks.

In our recent webinar The power of storytelling (watch here), Sage VP Marketing Kirsty Waller spoke about her company’s use of TikTok for its #BOSSIT2021 Challenge. This was a UK-wide campaign which invites SME owners and entrepreneurs within the TikTok community to creatively express how they are thriving this year, despite testing times.   

Consider Gartner’s Hype Cycles, which tracks the evolution of technology innovation through initial enthusiasm through disillusionment to relevance as the innovation finds a role in the market. What might be seen as a risky campaign on an untested platform for the SME market today (TikTok) could before long be a regular fixture on marketers’ plan — you just happen to be the marketer that took the risk.

Traditionally marketers don’t take enough risks due to the fear of failure. If you think about the most creative campaigns in recent years, they have been from marketing departments who were willing to take creative risks. As Kirsty says, “If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough”. 

So, stop playing someone else’s hits. Get creative with your campaigns. Take risks. Become the Beatles of B2B.

Want to take more risks with your campaigns? Call us on 020 3877 3800 or email us at contact@alan-agency.com to speak to one of our specialists about how we can help you build a content marketing strategy aligned to your business goals.

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