You may have heard this definition of stupid: doing the same thing again and again, while expecting different results.
In case you missed it, this week print advertising in the US was hit with a punishing blow. For the first time ever, US advertisers will spend more on digital marketing than on print this year. According to research company Outsell Inc, print will make up 30% of total advertising in 2010, compared with 33% for digital.
Although we could all see this coming from a long way off, the speed of the advance of digital marketing certainly takes my breath away.
This brings us to the B2B market, where print advertising has long been a staple of B2B marketers. What is B2B print publishing doing about this threat to their existence? What are these venerable marketers doing to recast their value-added and their vision?
I recently had the opportunity to meet with one of Canada’s leading B2B print publishing houses. Big company. Lots of resources. Lots of vertical B2B properties.
They were quite agitated because some of their core B2B advertisers were making noises about switching their ad budget from print advertising to implementing online lead generating strategies such as Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation. Apparently these clients demanded that print publishers produce sales leads with the same rich “intention to buy” data as is made possible with Inbound Marketing Automation. (If you want to see what these B2B marketers are so excited about, download this whitepaper how Gossamar automates sales lead generation and management)
I expected the usual blather that print advertising is more than just sales leads. That print advertising is about image and brand. That reader’s down in the mines don’t use computers, and still prefer hard-copy magazines. Blah, blah. You know the script – straight out of the 80s.
But I was surprised by their initial reaction. As a result of this market pressure, this publisher had apparently decided that they wanted “in”. They wanted to be part of this wave of change in the B2B marketing space. A leader, and not a follower. Wow, I thought, maybe these guys have vision.
So we decided to “brainstorm” how they, as B2B print publisher, could seize the incredible opportunities in this shift to Inbound Marketing Automation. I talked about how B2B print publishers own great content, that “content is king” and essential to any successful Inbound Marketing strategy. I reviewed how they could repackage this content in various ways for new sources of revenue. I talked about using Inbound Marketing strategies to turn their own websites into industry hubs, and using Marketing Automation to generate a massive database of high-quality industry prospects with rich “intention to buy” data. And I talked about using their economies of scale and scope to proactively offer very cost-effective Inbound Marketing Automation solutions to their own clients, and thereby be seen as a valued facilitator and driver of this change.
As the brainstorming session wore on, with less and less participation from the publisher and more and more blank stares, I finally asked him what seemed to be holding him back. In a burst of frustration, the publisher finally said: “Show me how all this stuff will help me sell more print advertising!!”
In the distance I can hear the band playing on the aft deck of the Titanic.