May 11, 2023
Ad Hoc B2B Marketing Doesn’t Cut It. How (and Why) to Adopt a Campaign Orientation
The partners at your professional services firm are essentially owners of their respective business units, which means the cost of your marketing initiatives comes out of their pockets. And given the pressure they’re under to hit their revenue and growth targets, they expect you to support their individual marketing needs as if those partners are your team’s top priority. That can make it tough to advance the overall business objectives for your firm.
Sure, it might be tenable if you’re only managing a handful of competing agendas. But if you answer to dozens — or even hundreds — of partners and myriad other stakeholders, chances are your audience is on the receiving end of too many messages, or diluted messages that don’t speak to their needs.
When you’re bogged down by the tyranny of the urgent — and when your firm’s partners are focused on their messages and their goals — how can you shift gears to create a cohesive and meaningful marketing strategy? Instead of disparate initiatives, you need to create a comprehensive plan organized around a focused objective.
Once that focus is in place, it’s time to switch into campaign mode: building an integrated program to reach your desired audience through paid, earned, social, and owned (PESO) media .
Here’s how to build sophisticated PESO campaigns that elevate your firm’s digital marketing — and win the buy-in and support you’ll need to bring them to life.
Building Blocks of an Integrated PESO Marketing Campaign
Your firm is not the only voice vying for your audience’s attention. To combat this information overload, lean on integrated campaigns that highlight authoritative content with a unique point of view.
What does it mean to adopt a PESO campaign orientation? You’ll leverage:
- Paid channels by buying ad space in traditional outlets and/or on Google and LinkedIn
- Earned media by reaching out to reporters and earned media outlets with quotes and snippets that demonstrate your firm’s authority
- Social channels by sharing your firm’s insights via email and social media
- Owned media by publishing articles, eBooks, white papers, and other assets to your website
Furthermore, each campaign should:
- Align to a measurable business objective (e.g. increase awareness of your firm; demonstrate your firm’s position of authority; drive revenue growth)
- Present a unique point of view on an issue that’s important to your audience (make them think “hmmm, I hadn’t heard that before”)
- Drive specific KPIs (like number of organic site visitors, downloads, audience reach, LinkedIn engagement)
Reddit used several elements of the PESO model effectively when the social media platform took out a five-second Superbowl ad that made it look like the company was hacking a car commercial. It simultaneously posted the video with a “What just happened?” caption on Twitter. From there, Reddit drove users to the site with a link to a sampling of its community forums. And in the aftermath, the platform earned positive media coverage from high-profile outlets praising its ingenuity.
As a professional services marketer, you can use creativity and drama to reach your audience, too. Your firm’s experts are writing and speaking on a variety of topics. Don’t shy away from promoting their hot takes with catchy copy and your version of a grand reveal.
How To Persuade Your Firm’s Partners To Adopt a Campaign Orientation
Talking about the value of an integrated marketing campaign to marketers is a bit like preaching to the choir. But if your firm’s partners aren’t on board with your plans, all the campaign know-how in the world won’t matter. And when you first launch an integrated campaign, you’ll undoubtedly encounter pushback from leaders who (wrongly) think you should focus on a marketing plan that is all things to all audiences.
You know the most effective marketing campaigns are targeted to a specific persona looking for help with specific questions at a particular moment in time. But how can you get your partners to buy in?
Show Partners What’s in It for Them
Partners may initially balk at investing marketing dollars into campaigns that don’t directly benefit their business unit. That’s why it’s crucial to demonstrate the value a campaign model will offer them both immediately and over time. They need to understand that:
- Rising tides lift all boats. Successful campaigns drive increased traffic to useful content on your site. And when these visitors discover relevant content that meets their business needs, they’ll be primed to learn about your firm’s partners, service offerings, and additional areas of expertise.
- Every campaign is rooted in your firm’s authority (and that of your partners). Invite partners to participate in your campaign plans by authoring bespoke content that fits in with the broader objective, whether it’s offering a unique POV that fills in “white space” in your industry, or providing insight into how your firm solves tricky client problems. Putting your partners’ expertise in the spotlight is a great way to win their support.
- Coordinated campaigns shed light on what your audience is looking for. Tracking the content that resonates with your audience and learning what drives engagement helps business development team and partners better meet your prospects’ needs. Importantly, it also demonstrates the return on investment.
- It’s an opportunity to outshine and outperform the competition. Your partners are undoubtedly paying attention to what their peers at other firms are doing. Well-crafted campaigns give your experts something worth sharing and promoting in their spheres of influence.
Start Small, Then Build on Your Campaign Success
Your PESO campaigns don’t have to be perfect to be impactful. Nor do you need to devote all your time and energy to adopting a campaign mindset. Carving out 20% of your work week to create and implement thoughtful campaigns is a great place to start.
The best campaigns tend to be recognized with awards from industry publications. Using the format of an award entry to craft your campaign is another smart way to make the case for its value. Identify the opportunities and challenges to the business, then lay out the strategy, tactical approach and measurable results. In other words, try reviewing the award entry format of an organization you respect and work backwards to structure your campaign idea.
Just remember: Useful, relevant content is what powers your digital marketing engine. If you need help identifying the types of content your audience is looking for — and honing unique points of view that will cut through the digital clutter — don’t hesitate to reach out. We know what it takes to create campaigns that drive audiences to action.