Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How B2B Marketers Can Leverage the Talent Society

Best length for online video ads and economic conditions on upswing

While David Brooks’ insightful op-ed piece in yesterday’s NY Times was not intended for B2B marketers, he hit on a number of important trends that will undoubtedly change the way connect with your target customers, clients and evangelists.

Both individuals and workers want more space to develop their individual talents, Brooks observed and they want “more flexibility to explore their own interests and develop their own identities, lifestyles and capacities. They are more impatient with situations that they find stifling.”

Over the past half century Brooks believes we have gone from a society that protected people from their frailties to a society that allows people to maximize their talents. “Today, the fast flexible and diverse networks allow the ambitious and the gifted to surf through amazing possibilities. They are able to construct richer, more varied lives. They are able to enjoy interesting information-age workplaces,” he writes.

Bottom line: People with skills can really thrive in this tenuous, networked society, said Brooks as they can develop and nurture their individual brands. But people without those advantages would be better with our traditional command and control, corporate hierarchical structure that stifled individualism and creativity but rewarded employee loyalty.

Our Take: Smart marketers have learned that you can build long-lasting and rewarding relationships with key customers that span multiple decades and multiple job changes. Being honest, creative and delivering on what you promise is what customers remember about you—not what price you quoted them or how many lunches or golf outings you treated them to.

What is the best length for my video ads?

If you’re trying to take advantage of the surge in online video advertising, be smart and think short. That’s the advice from Poll Position whose recent survey of 1,179 adults concluded that 15 seconds is how long 54 percent of respondents say is acceptable before they get turned off. Only 12 percent of Internet users said viewing a 30-second ad prior to viewing free content was acceptable to them and only 7 percent were willing to view ads of 45 seconds or longer.

Macro view

While there’s no telling what the impact on corporate profits will be if the President gets his new corporate tax planned passed, the Dow is hovering at the 13,000 point level—an altitude not seen since May of 2008. And, the S&P 500 index is approaching the cheapest level ever compared with bonds thanks to the Fed’s zero-percent interest rates. While the Euro zone debt crisis can’t be ignored, U.S. capital markets seem reasonably confident the Greek bailout plan will eventually stick. What’s more, things seem much better at home as long as you ignore the housing market. More than 240,000 real jobs were created in January and we now have the lowest unemployment rate since early 2009. Corporate balance sheets are stuffed with cash. With interest rates likely to remain low for the near future, companies should be poised to continue hiring cautiously and investing in capital equipment and IT infrastructure which bodes well for those of you in the B2B space.

Take a break from the news once in a while. Things are better than you think. Don’t let this rare opportunity to invest, hire and connect with new customers pass you by. It may not be this cheap for years to come.


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