Marketers must become media companies. In B2B, where thought leadership is nearly every marketers goal, it is even more critical. But B2B marketers are responding slowly. Rather than publishing great content and developing an audience that wants to hear from you, you blast your message to the limited audience you have and rely on media to distribute your message.
Stop. The limited audience you have developed, and often mistreated, is gold. Don’t believe me? Let’s put some numbers on what marketing to your audience is worth.
This valuation is for a hypothetical mid-sized B2B technology marketer, ACME Business. ACME sends three emails a month to a database of 50,000 people. In addition to the traffic driven by emails, search and advertising, ACME has 30,000 organic visitors to its site each month and 80,000 page views.
Reaching the Audience
- Email. Email list rentals are cost prohibitive, and performance has been falling almost every year. According to Worlddata, the average enterprise B2B email list rental cost is $280 per thousand (the latest price index is available here). A list of 50,000 names, mailed three times per month, will cost approximately $500,000 a year.
- Web Traffic. Replacing 30,000 visitors a month through increased search and advertising spend will cost approximately $2.5 million per year, and these visitors will be far less engaged on average than the organic traffic was previously. ACME’s existing search program, although more cost effective than this, cannot scale to drive an additional 30,000 visitors each month.
Matching the Results
House email files, organic site traffic and promotions on your own site will consistently outperform third party promotions. The audience of a publisher like ComputerWorld doesn’t care about ACME and isn’t looking for information from ACME. To drive similar results from email campaigns, ACME will need to increase both email volume and site traffic by approximately 3x. For a mid-sized B2B marketer, a $3 million dollar budget swing is sizable. A $9 million swing starts to look more like a budget than a change in budget. This Matters. A Lot.
Your audience is yours. No, this doesn’t mean you own them and can do what you want. It means they look to you instead of you always chasing them. Audience churn will dramatically decrease, allowing more investment to go towards growing your audience. A personal example: When I joined Babcock & Jenkins, one of the first things I did was sign up again for IAB SmartBrief, a great daily information source on interactive advertising. And great content and services are shared, like I just did with SmartBrief.
Put a dollar value on the audience you have. And start serving and growing your audience. Treated well, it is a key competitive advantage and a barrier to entry for newcomers in your market. It is your marketing gold.