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February 19, 2013


Marketing is not a campaign. It’s a commitment.

by Tom De Baere
Marketing is a committment

Image source : Flickr @ Saudalf the Grey

We marketers have lost a part of our commitment to our customers. We’re spending more time on campaigns than on making commitment efforts to our customers.

This blog post is about how we should turn that around.

Time sucking campaigning

When B2B marketing strategies are turned into tactics, often marketers turn their attention to running marketing campaigns. Sometimes even multiple campaigns at the same time.

Typically these campaigns are planned extensively, and can be a big time suck. They run for about 2 months, and then it’s time for the next campaign.

Campaigns seem the magic word.

Campaigns seem the only way you can bring our strategies to life. One campaign after the other is going to your customers.

Campaigns have become equal to marketing.

You wish you had a bigger “return on effort”

But deep inside of you, you wish you had a bigger “return on effort”.

I even bet that if you would ask your customer “Did you see my campaign”, the’ll hardly remember it after 3 days.

Your campaign is just a little “blimp” on their radar.

They are stunning “blimps on a radar”… an exercise

Not so long ago, I ran an exercise in which we interviewed a number of our resellers.

These interviews where done by an external agency. They asked questions about our brand, our technologies, and our campaigns. We had run some extensive campaigns around a number of new products and technologies, for about 1 year.

I was stunned by the fact that our own reseller partners hardly remembered the names of our technologies, or couldn’t recall some of our brands. I think we where just a “blimp” on their radar.

You are being campaigned to, right now

Dear blog reader, yes you, the person who’s reading this right now! You are being “campaigned to” right now. You are now, at this very moment, part of a number of marketing campaigns.

Can you please name me one single instance of what you are being “campaigned about” ?

I guess the answer is ‘I can’t name a single one’. Or if you remember one, it doesn’t mean a thing to you.

People do not want to be “campaigned”

Can you imagine what it feels like to be campaigned to? I fit in a certain segmentation profile, and as such I’ll get meaningless e-mails, prospective calls from people that don’t understand me, and mailings with crappy and cheap gadgets.

Is that what you as a company want to reflect?

Marketing is a commitment

What if you would turn all this campaign building energy into a marketing commitment to your customers, and actually giving that through your marketing efforts?

  • How many of you thank your customers on a regular basis for their business?
  • How many of you follow-up a project 6 months or 1 year after it’s finished ?
  • How many of you have a community, group or forum where people can connect with each other, ask questions, provide answers and socialize ?
  • How many of you are incentivizing loyalty, word of mouth and sales ?
  • How many of you “give” something to your customers, no strings attached ?
  • How many of you really “care” about the success of your customers ?

Forget campaigns

I am a full-time marketer myself, and I know how tempting it can be to execute your marketing plan, through lead generation campaigns and communication campaigns. And I guess some of that needs to remain part of what we are doing today.

What I am proclaiming here is that we marketers have lost a part of our commitment to our customers. The pendulum is swinging too much in the campaign direction. We’re spending more time on this than on making commitment efforts to our customers.

I say it needs to swing equally in both directions. I believe the effect of commitment will be much larger than just the little “campaign blimp” in their radar.


Forget your campaigns. Put your customers back into the centre of your marketing efforts.


What do you think ?


Thanks for reading,

Tom De Baere