B2B MARKETING:  Is it Going to Suck to be Us?

Today's Headlines:

  • Google Analytics Declared Illegal

  • The Death of the Third Party Cookie

  • Digital Marketing and Data Privacy:  Are You Ready?

Over a decade ago I predicted that data privacy would become the major issue for businesses and their marketers; that fear would drive action and regulation, and that it would change the way we promote, sell and track.


There were some who took up the banner of privacy early on, but not much officially happened.  Before that, in 2003, CAN-SPAM set boundaries for “non-solicited pornography and marketing” but it didn’t really change the way we do business.  It just told us what Congress thought of the marketing industry by lumping us together with porn. But it was the first cannon shot from the regulatory world that had to do with data and privacy concerns.  


Moving forward, loud squeaky wheels kept reminding us that our privacy was being eroded as the internet and big tech became more closely integrated into our daily lives, using every swipe and search to record what we were doing and then selling the data.  But loud voices and campaign promises led to little change.  Big tech collected data, 2nd tier players sold it, and many used and abused it.

During this time I had more than a few conversations with marketers, and more than a few run-ins with those who seemed to ignore the ominous storm that was brewing.


Your mother should slap you into next week for being so stupid.

I warned, but had to sit by and watch, as a few business clients continued to send cold emails to massive lists, only to have one troll bring down their entire operation for months.

I’ve talked with many CMOs, business owners and even marketing agency heads about what they were going to do when marketing and tracking as we know it no longer worked.  They had no plan but to put their heads in the sand and keep doing what they’ve always done, thinking the future was far off.

And just today I talked with one technology vendor who was skirting today’s privacy laws so closely I could hear the pen scratching across the checks as they were about to pay fines.  (Too much liability vs too few brains.  I fired them as a client.)

The point to all of this is that the speed with which things are changing, tightening and becoming more restrictive is picking up speed.  It’s getting faster and bigger, like a snowball rolling downhill.  The way we market, promote and track is about to change.

  • We’re seeing more and more headlines like those above.  

  • More businesses are becoming sensitive to their customers’ data and privacy concerns.

  • Governments are beginning to step into the frey and do what they do best - create an abundance of their 3 R's - Restrictions, Rules and Regulations.

Case in point?  

Retargeting is going to become impossible without 3rd party cookies.   No longer will your display ads be able to follow your customers around on the internet as they surf from site to site.

I’ve already alluded to the old practice of sending cold emails.  Don’t do it people.  If you want horror stories get in touch with me.

And now even Google Analytics very existence is threatened?  Maybe, maybe not.  We’ll see, but we do know of the open dialogues and secret conversations going on, and the Giant is trying to figure out what their own future looks like.  Do you think they’re going to sacrifice themselves before they let marketers sink?  (So is Facebook.)

With all that is changing because of “privacy”, what is going to happen to online marketing?  Is it going to suck to be us?  

Be prepared.  Think ahead.  Look at the marketing strategies you’re employing now, and all of the tactics within them, and ask yourself, “Will what I’m counting on today be around tomorrow?”  


But if you see what is clearly coming down the road and get a jump on a new marketing strategy, you should be just fine.  Marketing efforts may not be as fast and immediate as they are today, but marketing will always work if you use best practices.


If you are not going to be proactive and come up with new tactics to replace those regulated out of existence, then yes - it will suck to be you.

But if you see what is clearly coming down the road and get a jump on a new marketing strategy, you should be just fine.  Marketing efforts may not be as fast and immediate as they are today, but marketing will always work if you use best practices.


Predictions (More like, “How to get your butt in gear.”)

Some things are going to become ultra important going forward:

SEO, for promoting our wares and services to those who are searching, will be more important than it already is. 

Think about it:  If you can’t use data for outreach to those who could be prospects - then you’re going to be relying on catching people when they search.  That’s what SEO is all about.

Content marketing is going to become imperative. 

But I’m talking about “best practice” content that catches the attention of not only your human audience but your other audiences; Google and other search engines.  

A few 500 word blogs aren’t going to get you anywhere.  (The average blog on page 1 of a SERP is 1487 words long.  What does that tell you about what Google wants to see?)  Keyword stuffing won’t help.  Proper content, proper length, with meta information and contextual keywords, will fuel SEO which ultimately fuels visits and brand awareness or sales.  

And hear this:  With somewhere around 5-7 million blogs published per day, not to mention all of the videos, white papers and ebooks created, the sooner you start the better - and keep that content production schedule aggressive and constant.

Really good lead magnets - I mean R.E.A.L.L.Y. good - are going to be worth their proverbial weight in digital gold.  Follow the logic.  

-  With the death of data, particularly purchased data, 

-  Plus the continued litany of restrictions prohibiting unsolicited intrusion into people’s inboxes, 

-  And as tracking becomes almost non-existent except for when visitors are only on our websites…

…you’re going to want to make every single visitor to your website count.  

You’re going to want to capture leads that can be nurtured, cajoled and loved by you with a permission-based email campaign.  If you don’t, most of your visitors will “one and done” - never to return again. 


Direct response copy for everything - B2B included - is going to be used more and more. 

For the same reasons as listed above, every visitor is going to have to be “wowed” with your whole story given in one sitting.  It’s time to drop our fear about long, engaging copy and bring direct response back.


Damn - we may have to go back to direct mail and dialing for dollars.  Maybe even trade shows will make a comeback.


Are you ready for what’s coming?  Need to brainstorm about how you’re going to do marketing in the new, data-restricted, privacy-protected world?  Let’s talk.

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Otherwise, it may suck to be you.