With the B2B landscape being more competitive than ever, marketing leaders are feeling the heat to get the most out of their efforts. Enter: a newfound obsession with quick wins and immediately visible results. This is understandable, given the allure of immediate returns of short-term marketing strategies.
But here’s the kicker. This pivot toward short-term strategies is reckless and short-sighted. Sure, these may provide immediately measurable outcomes, but blindly chasing after them without considering the long-term risks courting marketing disaster. Les Binet himself cautions against fixating on short-term “activation” strategies as they overlook brand building, cause marketers to focus on superficial metrics and ultimately hinder long-term growth.
In our article, we unravel the shift toward short-term marketing strategies and challenge the status quo, showing how this obsession with the short-term can cause marketing leaders to fail, impacting their businesses and putting their jobs at stake.
Behind the Changing Tide
Numbers don’t lie. Only a mere 4% of B2B marketers reportedly measure and monitor their campaigns beyond 6 months while 75% of marketing campaigns are considered “optimized” within just two weeks, according to The B2B Institute.
It’s crystal clear that the marketing tide has seen a shift that favors short-term campaigns and strategies.
But what’s driving these shifts towards the myopic? It all boils down to the following:
- Immediate ROI: Short-term campaigns lead to quick results in terms of ROI. In an environment where maximizing the value of everything and justifying your efforts is key, it’s easy to see why this is appealing.
- Shorter sales cycles: Shorter cycles allow marketers to respond quickly to emerging trends. This can lead to quicker results and more efficient use of resources, aking to grabbing low-hanging fruit.
- Pressure: The urgency to demonstrate tangible outcomes often stems from pressure imposed by leadership, which subsequently trickles down to marketers and, consequently, the strategies used.
Why Short-term Strategies Are Unsustainable
All that said, while short-term marketing strategies will produce results quickly, relying solely on them is a grave mistake as it will lead to:
A Lack of Brand Building
Short-term strategies pay too much attention to immediately measurable outcomes and rely on the broken promise of attribution. Consequently, other equally important areas such as brand building, which is understandably far more complicated to capture, do not receive the attention they deserve.
Because of this, brand building falls in the sights of what is ignored. Good brand building takes time and effort, spanning years through meticulously cultivating relationships with customers and establishing a solid reputation. It doesn’t help that the results of these efforts only become evident further down the line as they require initial development.
While short-term efforts can produce results in weeks and months, what happens when you start thinking about the years (i.e. the long term)? Results will diminish and this can detrimentally impact any business, as it becomes increasingly challenging to differentiate yourself from the pack.
A Shrinking Customer Pool
Focusing on short-sighted goals and creating instant demand means one thing: confining yourself to a customer pool that will eventually shrink. While these efforts may effectively target a subset of customers looking for a solution, what about everyone else? This approach risks inadvertently neglecting a broader customer base that could be tapped into.
Tapping into such a targeted pool will eventually run dry, and without fostering long-term relationships and putting in the effort to educate untapped customers, businesses risk overlooking a diverse and wide pool of prospects. It’s key to think about creating demand as opposed to capturing demand to not limit yourself.
Heard of Blackberry? Though once dominant, because they refused to adapt to shifting tastes and focused solely on satisfying their existing customer base, they’ve lost relevance.
3 Benefits of Long-Term Marketing Strategies
Focusing only on the short run is like shooting yourself in the foot. Long-term planning when done right, sets your business up to realize short-term gains in addition to long-run advantages. And here’s why:
#1 Establishes Brand Authority and Differentiation
Like good coffee, you have to let the beans do their magic and wait. But it’ll be worth the sip. And in marketing, building a solid brand requires the gradual accumulation of brand equity.
Long-term strategies allow marketers to take advantage of one invaluable resource: time. With time on their side, marketers can execute efforts that strengthen and differentiate their brands by educating readers about problems they may not have been aware of.
Efforts like this develop your brand’s voice, making yours a trusted yet authoritative source, setting you apart, and establishing your credibility. Moreover, customers tend to stick with the solutions of brands responsible for shedding light on their problems, which is yet another advantage.
#2 Increased Customer Engagement
Not all leads are equal nor are they all sales-ready, especially when those leads are generated through short-term campaigns. On their own, such leads are often under-nurtured and frequently disappointing.
Building genuine engagement and trust is a slow but crucial process that requires patience and can feel like a neverending marathon. But it’s a race worth running.
Long-term marketing strategies, executed over months through continuous engagement in always-on campaigns, will build rapport and trust and develop high-quality leads—something not easily achievable with short-term tactics that rarely result in meaningful opportunities. This is best done through high-quality content production, from blogs to webinars and other formats. Best-case scenario? When executed properly, these strategies can even turn individuals into brand advocates.
#3 Lower Acquisition Cost
Finally, let’s delve into the dollars and sense: long-term strategies pay off in the long run. This may sound repetitive and almost intuitive, but many marketers often forget this.
Long-term strategies can establish your reputation and develop a loyal set of customers if done right. This comes with another benefit: it makes your marketing efforts more cost-effective.
Loyal and satisfied customers can become advocates for your brand, referring your solution to others in their network, creating a chain reaction of word-of-mouth marketing. In other words, your customers become your most powerful marketing tool.
This can help in lead generation, ultimately decreasing marketing expenses, as it generates leads efficiently without the need for excessive resources.
Strategic Marketing Planning with Brighttail
Overall, there is no universal blueprint for B2B marketing. All strategies have their respective pros and cons. And just to clarify, we aren’t saying that long-term marketing strategies are better than short-term marketing strategies!
What we’re saying is as a marketing leader, you need to think of both and realize that long-term strategies are not “simply the adding up of short terms”. Instead, they need to be carefully balanced.
At Brighttail we fully embrace both according to the needs of our clients. To find out more about our work and how we can support your business, why not read our other pieces or contact us today?