The massive changes in technology and consumer communication platforms mean a great many recognized truths in the world of advertising no longer hold. We work in a time when the very notion of brand advertising must make a Copernican shift…
• Ads can no longer reliably build a brand by themselves.
• The notion of ‘campaigns’ seems antiquated as consumers take far more active roles in any brand’s story.
• The conceit of media flights fails to acknowledge how brand conversations happen every hour of every day, often in ways that radically impact brand sales and reputation…
Recently, my agency filled out an RFP for a manufacturer who placed great emphasis on a potential agency’s B-to-B experience. Of course, I believe with a modicum of direction, any creative can work within established parameters for anything from the binding legaleze of pharmaceutical advertising to the conventional wisdoms of ‘car guys’ and on to the specific platform demands of viral, DRTV and web platforms. I naturally rebel against this blind reliance on specific prior experience but the evolved marketplace actually backs up my truculence. Because what do B2B agencies do aside from identifying audiences, their specific needs and hot buttons, and the specialized media they consume? Not much. That doesn’t imply they do their job poorly, just that their job pretty much resembles any agency’s job: we find an audience, surround them with relevant, engaging interactions—it’s all B2B, because B2B is a social platform.
So now that every one and their brother recognizes how various groups of consumers inevitably find like-minded others to affiliate and congregate with, every marketing agency is in the B2B business.
Whether we claim to or not.