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Ardath Albee

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Viral is Not the Game Point in Complex B2B Sales

I received an email asking me what I thought of the Van Damme Volvo video that went viral to the tune of 57M views and counting for Volvo Trucks.

It's a great stunt, dubbed The Epic Split

Volvo created the video to showcase its new precision steering feature on the big rigs.

It's a really good piece. But all anyone can talk about is the number of views and the parodies being made in imitation.

What do I think about it? Well, that depends on a couple of things I don't have the answers to:

  • Did it put any leads in the pipeline?
  • Did it even get to the right audience?

Depending on the goals that Volvo had for the video, if it was about any kind of awareness and traffic, then yes, it did beyond great. But B2B marketing can't afford to be focused on random volume. B2B marketing needs to be targeted and based on driving some type of intentional behavior from prospects. Everything else is a bonus.

I think it's a great way to catch attention. But there needs to be more. Once they've gotten their target market's attention, what will Volvo do with it?

I might have thought about how I could feature it on a web page that also showcased more information about the precision steering and how businesses are finding true value from having that feature in their fleets. At the very least, a call to action at the end of the video leading to more information would be vital for assessing how well they reached their target audience or if it was just a great stunt.

I mean, it's not often that fleet drivers will be helping some insane person do the splits, right? Wouldn't that just make a great impression on the Health and Safety folks?

So Volvo's truck division got its name out there, but what else did this very costly campaign deliver?

Viral is great, but marketers need to think about how it will connect the dots between getting random attention and getting attention of their target audiences - and most importantly - being able to redirect them to more vital information that will improve the relationships they're trying to build.

As marketers, we love the attention that going viral can bring. Most of us are more creative than scientific and we appreciate others recognizing what we do. But in B2B complex sales, the end goal can't be going viral. It does, however, make a great starting point if you're able to make sure your target audience is among the millions viewing it - and taking the next steps you incorporate to keep the story rolling.

*As a disclaimer, I don't know the inside scoop on Volvo's intentions, I'm speculating. But I hear a lot of B2B marketers talking about "going viral" and they need to think about what comes after that...

What do you think?



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More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.