Let’s leave templated B2B marketing campaigns in 2021
But marketing agencies operate a little differently, especially B2B marketing agencies. Some might think it simply good sense to manufacture a process that works and then sell it repeatedly to deliver results for different clients.
However, this often results in the treading of very murky waters. Selling templated campaigns to multiple clients might work for a short period of time, but there’s usually a hard limit to the time for which this approach will continue being successful. Here’s why.
Account based marketing (ABM) is fast becoming one of the most important aspects of B2B marketing. For those who don’t know, or want a refresher, ABM is a focused approach to B2B marketing where teams help clients target specific accounts, to turn them into customers.
Problems arise for agencies when there’s a lack of understanding regarding what ABM really means. It’s much more valuable than simply adding a <line of personalisation> to an email that’s part of a nurture stream your writers have seen only a million times. ABM campaigns should look different every single time.
When you begin trying to create and sell a portfolio of templates, you slowly lose the ability (and possibly the desire) to create bespoke ABM campaigns. Instead, when reviewing a brief from the client, you’ll flick through your portfolio of campaigns and pick the one which aligns closest with the client’s desired outcome.
There can be exceptions to the rule, but these are few and far between, and shouldn’t be used as inspiration. Let’s say an agency exclusively works with healthcare businesses, it’s likely that most of their clients will be trying to solve similar problems – in which case, templates might work.
But it’s important to note that, even in this instance, there will be varying nuances across the challenges faced by the targeted companies. For example, will private healthcare providers have the same motivations (and be tackling the same problems) as public? Perhaps not.
Bringing home the bacon for clients is important – ultimately their goal (and therefore, our goal) is to see a return on their marketing investment. Of course, every for-profit organisation should expect revenue to be a driving force in its decision-making process. But beware: agencies should think twice before putting their own revenue growth above the want to create solid campaigns.
B2B agencies are made up of creatives, writers, strategists, designers and client teams that all come together to create content. Whether your selling point in the B2B market is your flair for creating a kicker strategy, or if it’s that you’re the best in the biz for writing a killer headline – the product you’re selling is most likely always going to be underpinned by creativity in some way or another.
Canva is a good example of this; the platform has become a useful creative tool for many businesses, but it’s at risk of becoming detrimental to the graphic design process. The overuse of (and perhaps, overfamiliarity with) Canva means that the quality of content can suffer when it’s used by someone who lacks design knowledge.
Much like how Canva is killing the creative process for designers, templated campaigns are fast becoming a problem for authentic, engaging and meaningful marketing content. Writers and designers work at B2B marketing agencies because they want to create great work that helps businesses engage with brands. But they’ll quickly lose that passion for the job when what they’re creating today is the same as yesterday, the day before, and the day before that.
B2B marketing is often described as “dry” and “loveless” but when you do it right, it can end up being pretty sexy. The main reason anyone pursues a career in marketing is because they want to create things that people want to engage with. And the main reason people hire agencies is because they want specialists to help them solve specific problems in the most appropriate way.
Making templated campaigns a priority for your marketing agency will only result in dissatisfied employees and unhappy clients. You’ll lose what makes you unique, clients don’t get the bespoke campaigns they’re after and therefore they probably won’t see the best results.
So, let’s start the new year the right way – with creativity, critical thinking and a boatload of coffee.
Get in touch if you’re ever curious to know what we might accomplish together.
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(Header photo: Amy Shamblen on Unsplash)