The San Andreas Fault of BtoB Marketing

imagesI’ve always been a staunch advocate of research that uncovers rich insights, confirms conventional wisdom or sheds new light on cutting-edge developments in our business.

Procter & Gamble’s IPR-award winning #LikeaGirl movement is a superb example of accomplishing all three objectives.

The organization’s goal was to empower girls through education during puberty, a time when their confidence is at its lowest. Their research identified “Like a Girl” as a phrase that caused real damage to young girls.

A subsequent video-driven campaign reached 76 million viewers from 150 countries and scored some 1,800 placements. More importantly, it inspired a new movement that changed the meaning of like a girl to “downright amazing.”

My firm achieved similar results when we tackled an altogether different challenge: content creation and curation.

While the words have become currency of the realm in PR circles, our first-hand observations revealed that many business-to-business marketers were struggling in their attempts to publish relevant content.

To prove our premise, we partnered with The Economist Group to field a survey in April of 2014 among 500 global business executives and 500 global marketers (note: This was a win-win partnership. No money exchanged hands).

The survey’s two-fold goal was to:

– Determine what content BtoB marketers WERE creating, and
– Pinpoint how executives evaluated the content being churned out.
– The results uncovered a yawning gap that could be likened to the San Andreas Fault of BtoB marketing.

To wit:

90 percent of marketers surveyed said they produced sales and marketing content intended to drive their organization’s bottom-line.

90 percent of global executives said they depended on corporate created and curated content to help inform their business decisions.

Talk about two ships passing in the night!

In order to share these dramatic findings quickly, and to the widest audience possible, we first created a compelling title for the research: “Missing the Mark: Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and their BtoB Audiences.”

Next, we created a microsite that housed the findings, and an analysis by Economist and Peppercomm subject matter experts.

We then initiated a multi-pronged education campaign aimed directly at marketers (93 percent of whom said they intended to maintain or increase their spending on content).

In addition to disseminating the findings in a press release, we incorporated a full array of integrated marketing tactics to spread the gospel, including:

– Use of a PowerPoint presentation at various BtoB industry conferences and panel discussions.
– An Infographic highlighting key findings.
– Producing four separate videos, each of which focused on a different survey finding.
– Leveraging Twitter, LinkedIn, Peppercomm’s RepMan blog, The Economist Group’s blog and my weekly column.
– Creating and placing Native Advertising via AdBlade.
– Co-hosting a Twitter Chat using the hashtag #ContentSurvey
– Both firms also baked the research into new business pitches, marketing collateral and speaking opportunities.

The results exceeded our wildest expectations. Our media efforts reached 15,920,925 highly targeted readers, viewers and listeners. The Twitter chat elicited 311 #ContentSurvey mentions. And, the advertising campaign resulted in 1,113 clicks to the microsite and 1,892,313 impressions.

The campaign also earned a PRSA Big Apple award in the integrated marketing category.

In fact, Missing the Mark was so well received that Peppercomm and The Economist Group are in the midst of conducting a follow-up survey of Millennial decision makers in order to compare, and contrast, findings from the original Boomer-dominated survey respondents.

Note: This column originally appeared on Monday June 30, 2015, on the Institute of PR blog.

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