Here’s the data sheet you wanted last week

It’s funny when you discover things you’ve taken for granted turn out to be viewed as quite innovative by other people. Something along these lines came my way the other day when I was discussing setting up a Google AdWords advertising campaign for a client, for the start of this month. The client was a little worried that for one particular product, the information on their website wasn’t specific enough, and didn’t make it clear enough that there was a nice ‘deliverable’, in this case a 16-page brochure. As there was no chance of getting a new or modified page onto the website in anything under several weeks (hey ho, the joys of a German head office), the client was understandably reluctant to pay to send web visitors to the page.

I reassured the client that we had an alternative. As with all the Google AdWords campaigns we manage, we’re happy to set up a specific landing page just for the campaign, on our website. We don’t charge for this. The landing page just advertises the specific offer (in this case, the brochure), and has a form which the responder can complete. The client then gets sent the lead, and the enquirer gets emailed the brochure. Pretty straightforward.

But here’s the surprising bit. The client was particularly delighted, because this system meant the enquirer received the brochure instantly and automatically – something he wasn’t able to offer at present. And it reminded me that this is still a typical situation. There’s a huge mismatch in B2B marketing at present between the enquirer and the manufacturer. As enquirers, we absolutely expect a response to any simple request in seconds. Yet many manufacturers still deal with enquiries like it’s 1989 (“well, it’s taken the magazine five days to mail us the lead, so there’s no rush to service it in less than a couple more days”). That’s not good enough. Anyone researching online expects the information to be freely available to read or download instantly, or – if they have to request it – delivered by email just as quickly. Hours or days later might be good enough for a sales call, but not for basic literature. Not any longer.

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