It’s Time for B2B to Abolish Ad-Hook Thinking
“Are you planning to cover three-hole punch stationery?” I was asked earnestly by an ad sales guy on my retail mag. I couldn’t believe it, but I wasn’t too surprised. After all, almost every article we ran was expected to connect somehow with an advertiser’s product line.
In fact, ad-hook orient mentality is persistent. But coming up with stronger plugs for vendor product lines is not the answer. Today’s tight B2B editorial budgets instead demand total devotion to content that offers the highest take-away value.
Lately I’ve become more concerned about this because I detect a movement that will make the situation worse. In a period of increasingly tightened ad budgets, it’s becoming more common for sales folks to push harder than ever for “editorial support.” Yes, there is merit attached to that movement. But we must resist the urge to bend the rules beyond the point where content quality suffers.
There remain several ways for editorial and sales to cooperate effectively. The path often talked about now is having chief editors moderate vendor-sponsored webinars. It’s not the worst thing in the world as long as the editor is not required to offer an obvious pitch for the sponsor’s product.
Other acceptable ways exist for providing vendor editorial exposure. Whichever approach you use, please avoid using it in hook-like fashion.