Advertising Expert Requests: Question Old Habits

“Focus on measurably improved business performance”

Marketing and social media are flooded with articles about new digital selling tools and “new role of the CMO”, but the everyday behavior in B2B-selling companies does not change overnight. We asked Ulf Hermansson-Samell, head of training and events at the Association of Swedish Advertisers, how far the marketing divisions of their 600 member companies have come with regards the new digital reality. 

– A lot has happened in recent years, which is also reflected in our educational programs. Starting this year, our traditional media committees for print, TV, DM and so forth have been replaced by expert teams for ownearned and bought media, respectively.

Own media, i.e. media that the advertiser controls, includes things like CRM and loyalty programs.Earned media, includes PR/publicity and social media, where the company uses relevant and attractive content to build the brand’s fan base. And traditional media make up the bulk of bought media.

Go against the stream – start questioning!

– This is a direct reflection of the complete change in companies’ decision-making processes, and the new insights they need to make the right decisions”, says Ulf Hermansson-Samell. One of the greatest challenges today is to focus limited resources towards concrete business goals. Particularly so in B2B-selling companies. To maintain a leading position you must dare to question old habits, and try new strategies and ideas. Go against the stream when needed, and measure the results.

Attention and need for knowledge have, to a great extent, moved from traditional towards new media. But it is not all that easy to adapt work structures to new marketing strategies and techniques. A hot topic such as account-based marketing (ABM) can, for example, relate to own as well as earned and bought media.

Highlight the positive examples

The various expert teams are led by experienced advertisers, and also include media specialists as well as research professionals and agency creators. When needed, other specialists from (for example) new digital disciplines can be called upon. Ulf Hermansson Samell, again:

– Every other month or so the expert teams meet to discuss current and prioritized issues. These discussions can, for example, result in recommendations, new courses or seminars, or themes and presentations for our various events – large or small. It can also result in new standards for presenting the efficiency of different media in a relevant and comparable way. As an example the Swedish KIA-index, for measuring website traffic, originated in one of our former media committees.

Apart from our major annual events, usually attracting some 600 people, around 100 smaller networking meetings are organized in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö every year.

– One of our main objectives is to highlight the positive, inspiring examples, says Ulf. Examples that dare you to break old habits. Some of our members lead the way, others have every reason to learn more about all the new opportunities offered. And there we, as their interest organization, obviously have an important role to play, he concludes.

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