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The B2B campaign isn't dead

Julie Wisdom, strategy director UK/EMEA, Babcock and Jenkins, explores how the B2B campaign has changed

What a mess we marketers have made for ourselves. There is no question that technology has radically changed marketing over the last 10 years — the customer is clearly in charge. But I would argue that has as much to do with the lack of value in marketing (from the customer’s perspective) as it does the advances in technology that have made brands transparent.

In the face of such change, marketers are shifting from a brand-outbound to a customer-inbound perspective, leading many to ask, ‘Is the campaign dead?’ Simply put: No. But it has changed.

Look at it this way: Your new always-on approach is a campaign in itself, simply with no end date. It still must have a clear brief (grounded in customer insight), defined target audience(s), clear measurable goals, and a content strategy as part of a larger engagement plan.

Many successful B2B CMOs have always run a form of always-on brand campaign throughout the year, supplementing it with a series of direct campaigns targeted to specific audiences. This hasn’t changed, but the lines are blurring.  Always-on campaigns are becoming less focused on brand and more focused on inbound inquiries. And direct campaigns may now include account-based marketing (ABM), especially if you are going after the big fish.

The key to this is integration. If marketing departments attempt to plan and execute always-on and ABM campaigns separately, the customer experience will no doubt suffer. Channels (yes, including social media), audience insights, conversations and content can and should be shared between them as part of the strategy, not treated as campaigns within themselves.

So keep on with your campaigns, but make sure they are genuinely customer centric, with a strategy that allows your marketing to be proactive versus reactive. Or as Andrew Davies says, you may end up chasing your tail.