The historical rise of ‘get-noticed-then-sell’

In the 1960’s McGraw-Hill Magazines ran an advert advertising advertising.


“I don’t know who you are,” the copy read.

“I don’t know your company. I don’t know your product. I don’t know your values. And I don’t know your reputation. Now – what was it you wanted to sell me?”

The ad highlighted the value of building brand awareness before attempting to sell, and its final line is particularly intriguing.

Because it explains why digital marketing is yet to reach its full potential.

Get noticed first, sell second

The final line of the ad subtly implies that sales cannot be made without a two-pronged approach.

Get noticed first, sell second.

Given the media channels available in the 60’s, such thinking made sense. Sending a sales letter to cold prospects was (and remains) inefficient. And developing a full sales argument in a 30 second radio spot was nigh-on impossible.

So get-noticed-then-sell began to dominate marketing theory. And when marketing went digital conventional wisdom carried over.

But, of course, digital marketing isn’t as prohibitive as its offline counterparts. So is an either/or approach really still the best marketers can hope for?

Digital: more space to develop a complete sales message

After consideration, we’re inclined to think not – simply because the internet removes historical media restrictions and offers brands an almost-unlimited amount of space in which to develop a sales message.

And that’s whether they choose to communicate through video, audio, the written word or a combination of all three and more. No matter how brands choose to communicate, there is no longer anything preventing them from generating awareness and making sales in one fell swoop – as some of the smartest B2C brands have begun to notice.

But what about in the B2B world, where prices are higher and sales cycles are longer. Is it really possible to generate brand awareness and simultaneously sell when it comes to B2Bs?

Is digital as powerful when it comes to B2Bs?

The answer becomes obvious when you rephrase the question.

Do busy people at work research their purchases?

Of course they do. Professionals aiming to grow their profits and maximise returns happily accept marketing messages that aid their quests – as any forward-thinking B2B will gladly testify.

The trick, of course, lies in ensuring your digital marketing message is one of the few that’s accepted. How might one go about that?

Answering questions and solving problems

In all honesty, there isn’t really much trickery to it.

As Content Coms continually proclaim – and as our work with global B2B brands and technology businesses demonstrates – getting onto your prospects’ radars can be as simple as answering their questions. Closing a sale, meanwhile involves highlighting solutions to customer problems.

Both can be achieved simultaneously through good content marketing.

Does your content measure up?

If McGraw-Hill’s ad was redrafted today, it might read something like this:

“I’m pretty sure you could solve my problem.

In seconds, I can find out about your products. I can learn your values. I can verify your reputation. And, all being well, I can arrange a sales meeting.”

But that of course assumes your web content hits the mark. If it doesn’t, you may wish to refer yourself back to paragraph one.

Interested in finding out more about how we can help your business to improve its sales through great marketing and brand building?

Drop us a line and say ‘hello‘.

Content Coms
Content Coms
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