The focus in our B2B marketing world on marketing technology, social media and other tools and tactics is astounding. This is not an article to poohoo the value that can deliver; this is about looking at whether or not we are losing our focus on what actually underpins everything from the sales pitch to the lead generation campaign; persuasion.
Sounds like selling to me…and it is. The most fundamental thing we still need to do is get the right people’s (many, not one) attention and demonstrate the difference we bring.
Educating or persuading?
For years now, there’s been a lot of talk sharing your knowledge freely. Oceans of content are being produced, often by dedicated content management agencies, employing former journalists, who these days are being laid off faster than they come out of University.
The core idea is sound; people crave information to make buying decisions, to a large extent so that they can rationalise their purchase decision. So if you want to be considered, you have to have a voice for those who are seeking. Nowhere more so than when they buy on behalf of a company, in Business to Business or B2B.
What’s important is not to confuse educating with marketing.
The purpose of education is to help you make better choices. The purpose of marketing is to make people choose you over someone else. So in other words, ONLY if education leads to changing someone’s preference is it a marketing activity and worth doing. You can be smart with that and play a long game, with a long lead of informative content, but it should only exist in the context of a clear marketing outcome.
In the end, it’s not about giving people more options, but fewer.