Creativity Versus Reality in B2B SaaS

“...can a brand campaign generate sales, increase profit and build brand? Yes. Can a direct response campaign generate sales, increase profit and build brand? Yes. Can any campaign generate sales, increase profit and build brand? Yes.”

By
Mike Geraci
|
October 6, 2023

John James is an independent strategist out of Melbourne, Australia who has worked with large CPG brands and now finds himself immersed in SaaS. The SaaS experience, as we know all too well at DRMG, challenges and is challenged by marketing conventions, perhaps none more acutely than the value and role of brands and brand campaigns.

In his latest article for Branding Mag, John whacks the hornets nest by claiming, “Brand campaigns are a scam."

The problem, he argues, is we are stuck in conventional dimensions and frameworks in an age when the delineations are blurred, to put it politely, which creates unnecessary territorial pissing matches and budget battles between digital and direct-intensive performance and more creative brand-level marketing.

He blurs the lines more precisely, “...can a brand campaign generate sales, increase profit and build brand? Yes. Can a direct response campaign generate sales, increase profit and build brand? Yes. Can any campaign generate sales, increase profit and build brand? Yes.”

Further complicating the conversations is we, both agency and client, too often model our campaigns off of mature industries and companies:“The majority of businesses in advanced economies (98% in Australia) have under 200 employees and are not corporate, publicly-listed companies. Yet, marketing commentators almost exclusively talk about the marketing efforts of large, corporate brands. From the get-go, we’re exposed to commentary based on a small, unrepresentative sample of the population.”

This is how we, both client and agency, get over our skis, in which everyone thinks creativity means some huge disruptive campaign concept that is neither proximate or realistic to the current realities, and as we wrote about last week, the cure for creative confusion is to aim for interesting.

What grounds these brand versus direct versus whatever we call it initiatives is…wait for it…strategy.

Layering whatever campaign tactics on top of the wrong or no strategy won’t work regardless of what you call your campaign.In an industry focused on doing everything at scale (Personalization at Scale, Analytics at Scale, AI at Scale, Marketing at Scale…), it is important to make sure your strategy is To Scale; a combination of potent Category Strategy and a candid accounting of available resources tied to reasonable proximate objectives to the business's current realities.

Anyway, it is well worth the read, and Part 2 drops today.

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