Please Accept This Interruption

Marketing automation systems, like Eloqua and Silverpop, are becoming standard equipment among our clients. This is great for both our clients and for us. For the clients, these systems allow Sales to self-serve, and launch one-off campaigns to their prospects at just the right time in the buying cycle. For us, there are more opportunities and applications to produce great content for those campaigns.

One important facet of the B2B marketing mix that’s disappearing, though, is interrupt marketing. With Web 2.0, B2B marketing is centering more and more tightly in two places: the search magnets, and the email list. Both channels depend on the buyer to find or opt-in to content. With the buyer in control, it’s harder for B2Bs to start the conversation when they have something new to say.

The traditional channels–creative PR, big ad campaigns, and trade show launches–are going by the wayside except for the largest B2Bs. And the viral YouTube video, although a marketing “holy grail,” isn’t reliable as the cornerstone of a marketing strategy.

So what can B2Bs do to grab attention? Here are a few tactics I have seen work effectively:

  • Cold-calling: Tried and true, though not for the faint of heart. A concerted telemarketing campaign, like those developed by PointClear, backed up by useful marketing content, is a reliable way to find new prospects.
  • Clever executive gifts: Way better than a tin of popcorn, these have to be gifts a CEO will keep. A signed ball from their favorite baseball star, a rare bottle of wine, or any other high-ticket item that demonstrates your knowledge of the executive’s interests.
  • Integrated campaigns with strong creative: In the age of digital demand generation, we don’t hear much about “integrated marketing” lately. But you can still make a splash with strong, memorable creative in web and print advertising, integrated with the content pushed out by marketing automation.

Perhaps the very best interrupt marketing methods haven’t been thought up yet.

Once everybody is doing something new, it’s time to start doing something different. As marketing automation goes mainstream, watch the leaders use brilliant interrupt marketing ideas to separate themselves from the pack.

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