Are TV ads for the B2B marketers still breathing? Can TV ads offer a route for B2B marketers to achieve differentiation in a digitally dominated world?
While new technologies come in and the new-age digital advertising gaining all the traction, TV ads set a cornerstone of video consumption for years to come. It is quite debatable, whether digital marketing should take away the entire marketing budget, or should a chunk be kept aside for TV ads as well.
Marketers throughout the past years have stated that TV is dead and not worth considering as an effective marketing strategy. These opinions might not be entirely true.
Back in August 2019, Ofcom, the British media regulator, offered a detailed rebuttal of that argument, through its annual Media Nations report. The report confirms that inputs may change, but TV lives on for B2B marketers.
The report stated that while broadcast TV viewership is sulking, it is doing so slowly. Broadcast TV still by far remains the most common way to watch video content in the UK, accounting for over two-thirds (69%) of TV and video viewing in 2018. And while video streaming is increasing fast, 95% of UK households still use the TV set with broadcast programs. The figure represents a decrease of only about 1% point in the past six years- clearly indicating the TV ads still hold huge potential.
Smart TV ownership has shot up with improved functionality as 47% of households now own a smart TV, in comparison to just 5% of households back in 2012. Non-broadcast video content like YouTube is no longer limited to tablets, laptops, and smartphones. More than half 51% of total non-broadcast video content gets viewed on a TV set.
TV as a mode offers a valid route for effective B2B brand building – especially to stand out in the overcrowded marketing landscape. B2B marketing should not be limited with short-term thinking and trends – at the expense of the long-term strategies to generate growth and profit.
TV offers B2B marketers an instrumental channel for such long-term strategy, to build their brand through emotional priming and unique storytelling – and to differentiate against the competitors that are over-indexing in the short-term digital tactics.
The best example would be two top brands pursuing such digital strategy are Microsoft and SAP, both balancing very short-term sales metrics with the long-term futuristic brand building. Both giants have invested heavily in brand advertising through TV, expressing their B2B story to the broadest possible pool of prospects – seeking widespread public recognition as the essential foundation for long-term market domination.
This creates brand recognition in contrast with a host of competitors that have abandoned or reduced TV brand advertising in favor of direct solutions advertising through new media digital channels. These tactics undoubtedly drive faster, short-term sales, but with questionable long-term impact.
While a traditional TV broadcast campaigns may seem to be unrealistic for all but the most significant B2B brands, addressable and programmatic advertising offer new routes for B2B marketers to build brand image and recognition through TV. These avenues empower marketers to target specific audiences, unlike traditional content-based targeting. Plus, they have the advantage of reaching both digital viewers and traditional broadcast – with the former set to enhance significantly with the development of 5G connectivity. Bob Hoffman, the acerbic advertising veteran, famously said, “We’ll all be dead long before TV is.”
There are vast opportunities for savvy B2B marketers to embrace TV advertising, while others mostly fail to grasp this point. Well-executed campaigns running as part of a balanced strategy will stand out for years to come.