B2B ads worth spreading


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The always interesting TED announced the winners in an intriguing new competition the other day: Ads Worth Spreading. Building on the nonprofit’s overall mission, Ideas Worth Spreading, TED decided to try and make a virtue of necessity. Advertising supports the free site; why not challenge advertisers to create ads compelling enough that people actually want to watch them and tell their friends to watch them, too.


It wasn’t an original idea. Super Bowl marketers, among others, have always tried to get people to seek out and pass along their creative flourishes (Apple’s 1984 Macintosh ad is still my personal favorite). BMW made a huge splash in the ad world in 2001 by commissioning top Hollywood directors to create short, high production value films promoting the ultimate driving machines. More than 2 million people registered on the BMW film site, and an incredible 94% of them recommended the films to others. Most agencies today at least hope their productions will catch the popular imagination and go viral.

So what’s the B2B connection? For more and more B2B firms, thought leadership and educational content are the new advertisements. We’re cutting back on traditional ads and shifting resources to content marketing (white papers, expert video interviews, ebooks, blogs, and the like) in hopes of getting our customers to pay more attention, raise their hands as “interested,” and accept entry into our shiny new lead nurturing systems.

But here’s the question: Are these “ads” really worth spreading? If you pulled together a group of your customers and asked them to review your thought leadership content side-by-side with that of all your competitors, would they pick yours among the winners? Would they rush to their email, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to tell their friends and colleagues that they simply must check out your new white paper or ebook?

Am I setting the bar too high? Perhaps, but consider how often you spread the good word about ads that cross your laptop or iPhone. Not very often, right? If your educational content is not good enough for you to pass along, why should it be for your customers? And if it isn’t, how are they going to convince the myriad other people in their firm that ultimately need to agree that your solution is worth the investment?

Do you agree? Is your thought leadership worth spreading?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rob Leavitt
Rob is a Principal at Solutions Insights, a B2B consulting and training firm, and a Senior Associate of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), where he served as Vice President of Marketing and Member Advocacy from 2-27.


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