In 2007, the average person was exposed to between 3,000 and 5,000 advertising messages every day. At the time, these were astonishing numbers.
Easily double or more that number of messages. Today, we are bombarded with as many as 10,000 marketing messages every day. For many of us, that’s 10,000 messages seven days per week.
In 2007, these messages were typically delivered through television and radio advertising, magazine advertising, direct mail, email, billboards, and some digital ads. Now, it is digital advertising on all types of platforms that most significantly bombards us with marketing messages.
These marketing messages are all examples of outbound marketing, a form of more traditional advertising. The problem with traditional outbound marketing is that people are tuning out. This was happening back in 2007, but it has accelerated today.
- Surveys say more than 60 percent of TV viewers now try to download TV shows to avoid advertisements. They also are turning to streaming services to avoid any traditional advertising.
- As of the end of 2019, there were more than 70 million active users of Spotify, a no-advertising music streaming service. Their key competitor, Pandora, also has about 70 million users. At one time, most of these people listened to the radio. But as these listeners turned to these and other music services, the power of radio advertising diminished.
- When was the last time you read through all your direct mail, a polite term for “junk mail” advertising? If you are like 60 percent of us, it’s been a long time. Junk mail advertising tends to be tossed in the trashcan as soon as it arrives.
- In 2007, many of our clients were reporting success using banner ads. Banner ads were new at the time, not costly, and brought visitors to their websites, turning many of them into leads and sales. Now we see about 2,000 banner ads every month. Today, less than half of them have any impact.
- As for ads on websites, it appears most of us do not like them. This year, ad blocking software is expected to block the equivalent of more than $2 billion in ad revenue.
This pushing of messages on us is just not working anymore.
We should add, that even if people do not have ad-blocking software, they gave up looking at banner ads a long time ago.
So, if outbound marketing is no longer working, what should B2B organizations do to get their messages out to prospects and customers?
Most have been turning to different forms of inbound marketing. Originally referred to as content marketing ten years ago, inbound marketing now includes written blogs. videos, downloadable content such as white papers, case studies and reports, tip sheets, newsletters, etc.
While most marketers agree that inbound marketing is the best way to get their message out to potential customers, many do not know how the process works. The typical scenario looks something like this:
- Let’s say a B2B buyer decides they need to purchase a new alarm system for their business. They begin their journey by searching for different alarm systems and then visit the websites of companies that manufacture these products.
- After visiting a few sites, they become familiar with what is available and start to narrow their focus to a few systems manufactured by a few manufacturers.
- Now, they start doing their due diligence. Here is where inbound marketing takes over. They start reading blogs, watching videos, or downloading information about the product from these manufacturers.
- Then, something very unusual happens. They become “delighted,” as it is called in inbound marketing circles, with a specific product from a specific manufacturer. When a prospect is “delighted,” it means they found the product they want and start talking to their managers about it. In this case, our B2B buyer believes this is the perfect alarm system that best meets their company’s needs.
- The final step is engaging with the manufacturer or a supplier of the product…and making the purchase.
According to Blue Corona, an online marketing and analytics company, says most B2B buyers travel through this journey. Further, nearly 65 percent make their final purchasing decision based solely on digital content. That should delight B2B marketers actively involved with inbound marketing.