Remember when doing business with a company meant calling information for their 800 number, calling them and they’d send you a pocket folder?
And remember BRC’s? Business Reply Cards… You’d get a direct mail package with a letter (laser personalized yet) and a “buckslip” and a BRC. If the offering was good and you wanted to learn more, you’d fill out the BRC and send it back. A week or two later, someone might call you, or send you that infamous pocket folder.
THAT was how companies did business together. It seems pretty archaic now, but there was a formalized business kabuki to the process.
When I first got to Austin back in 1994, that was life. As an ad agency, we produced a lot of pocket folders. We designed direct mail, print ads, fully-fleshed, multi-touch marketing campaigns that brought out a response and nurtured it through the mail and if you got more than 2% well hot-damn.
Then the Web came along.
Nobody really knew what to do with it at first. There weren’t many Web sites out there and they were pretty basic. As it became apparent that it could be an actual business tool, we started building Web sites for our clients. We built the first sites for many of Austin’s technology companies.
Imagine that if you will, a B2B technology company without a Web site… Hell, my CAR has a Web site now. In the 90’s, every company had a big room full of pocket folders that some poor intern had to populate with a lot of papers to explain complex technology.
So we’ve lost some things and gained some things and I’d be curious to see how my fellow marketers see this.
Because marketing B2B used to be so process intensive and slow, our communication had to be VERY good to keep a prospects attention. We’ve gained a lot of time with instant gratification but as marketers, we know our message has to still be good. If anything, there is so much more clutter and noise that we have to taylor our messaging to stand out, be memorable, be simple and be in the right place.
I’d like to pose this question to the marketing pro’s out there… What’s better and what’s worse for marketing B2B with the tools we’ve got now?