Marshall McLuhan famously declared “the medium is the message” way back in 1964. Fifty years later, we still seem to focus on questions like whether LinkedIn is a better social media platform than Twitter — Even in business-to-business marketing. Maybe that’s because it’s much harder to figure out how to craft an effective message. But the content is MUCH more important than the envelope.
Yes, we need to be open to new media, experiment, and embrace what works. But whether it’s a tweet or a letter or a video, your message will only be effective if it’s helpful and meaningful to the recipient. And these days it better be easy to tell!
If you don’t offer concrete benefits, you’ve offered nothing and you’ll get nothing. If you do this repeatedly (and it’s REALLY easy to tweet, e-mail, post, etc constantly), than all you’ve done is trained people to ignore you.
By the way: “Content marketing” is one the hottest buzzwords in the field now. Without getting into details, it mirrors my point about valuable content, but it delivers this content in a “soft sell” or completely noncommercial manner. This can be very effective in B2B and I’ve used it extensively for years. But I argue that ALL marketing communications should be based on solid, helpful content.
That’s my 3rd rule of thumb: Content is King in B2B marketing!