"Traditional B2B Marketing is Screwed"

This is not me saying this, this is conclusion that Catherine Coale from Telstra Purple has come to, you can find the research here.

I will bring you to that conclusion, but before we dig in, I don't want you to think this is not Catherine's or my opinion, this is purley from data from research where she has concluded this.  There are too many people on Linkedin with an opinion. 

To give you some idea of the sample, here is an extract from Catherine's blog, which details the sample.

"I studied the content published by 10 participants over 5 months

This was a pilot programme and we had a lot to learn. Everyone came to it with an open mind and a brief to write what they chose and in their own style. They all worked for Telstra Purple, and came from different disciplines:

  • 4x Account Managers
  • 3x Technical Experts (Data Specialists)
  • 2x Marketers (Community Specialists)
  • 1x Programme Lead (Me!)

This is the scope of the data I've assessed:

  • 288 posts & articles assessed
  • Published between 1st May & 30th Sept 2020
  • By 10 people from 4 different work disciplines
  • Total views achieved = 470,319
  • Total likes achieved = 5,820
  • Total comments achieved = 2,240"

She also says about the data 

"This study has been compiled entirely manually both on the part of the participants categorising and counting the data, and my 20 hour labour of love in the evenings and weekends to assess it. I am a self-confessed spreadsheet geek and have cross checked until I’m sleep deprived, but suspect there will be a few small errors and some research rules broken here. Happy to chat over my methods with anyone that really is as geeky as me."

So what did they do?

"We studied the types of content people wrote and the way people reacted to it

We broke the categorisation down into 3 core sections:

Posts and articles that were:

  1. Purely about personal / human topics
  2. About the general world of work but written from a personal perspective
  3. Purely business posts"

You can read the rest of the report and the rest of her conclusions here, but I wanted to highlight two conclusions, which are ....

"1. LinkedIn is a very social platform just like all the others

The way we use social media in our private world has significantly impacted our behaviour at work. Original and personal content is preferred and our strategy to support our ‘regular employees’* to develop their own personal brand and voice is sound.

It's worth drilling down on that.  What Catherine at Telstra Purple has found is that people on Linkedin, so you buyers, prefer, authentic, educational, insightful content created by employees ..... I sent this report to a marketer I know and she said she wholeheartedly agreed, "humanised content is always the best approach" was he comment.  What is odd is that person only posts content about her company. So while she knows that humanised content is the best approach, she doesn't follow these principles. It would seem that knowing and doing are two very different things.

It is the third conclusion I find interesting.  (you can find the the other conclusions in Catherine's report here.)

3. Traditional B2B Marketing is Screwed

Forget product centric messages. Forget gated content on social platforms. Stop broadcasting branded messages in the hope that some of it will stick. Our pilot tells us that hardly anyone is listening anymore.  

It shouldn't surprise us, none of us like product messages, none of us like being sold to, but somehow this is all forgotten when we get to our desks and create our next marketing strategy and budget.  Catherine points out that while, "marketers" like this, our buyers don't.  Let's not forget that we market for our buyers and not for ourselves. ..... but it is this final comment, where the knife finally driven into the current marketing narrative that "hardly anyone is listening anymore."

So while your marketing department may carry on creating this stuff, nobody is listening.  

I'm, sorry to say but if you carry on marketing like this, you are a cost to the business and not a profit.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing in the form of case studies, what we are doing for other businesses to transform them to digital.  No hard sell, just practical examples.

DLA Ignite is a global business and we understand that a "cookie cutter" approach to digital does not work, we have to take into account local language and cultural sensitivities.  Which is why we have built teams across the globe, that can support you by country and industry sector. 

For more information contact me here, visit our website, or visit our Linkedin company page and contact one of the DLA Ignite team members.