B2B Magazine Advertising in the Age of the Internet [Case Study]
“Old school” marketing tactics like magazine advertising can be the forgotten bastard once-loved cousins of the more favoured and newer internet outbound & inbound marketing techniques, but it doesn’t have to always be that way, especially in B2B verticals. It’s good to always rethink, and sometimes, especially in B2B professional vertical industries like accounting, they can be a tried and trusted way to reach potential customers.
I’ve been working with Cameron Peters and the team at Trilogy Software through the company’s genesis and go-to-market launches. Hot on the heels of last tax season’s DoxCycle introduction, we announced TaxCycle in April, 2012. Fast forward to beginning of January 2013 as they just recently released TaxCycle T1 Professional Tax Software for Canadian Tax Accountants and Preparers for the first time: Go here for to try the free trial download.
Choosing magazine advertising in B2B professional vertical industries
In the fall months prior to the TaxCycle release, we ran marketing campaigns to increase awareness for TaxCycle in the Canadian professional tax software industry. Two print publications we chose for advertising are CGA Canada Magazine and the Bottom Line Magazine.
Even with the big push in social and online advertising, there is still a place for print ads in B2B magazines, especially in vertical industries like accounting and tax preparation.
We like the Bottom Line Magazine. It’s been around the industry since my and Cameron’s early days at Cantax and Greenpoint in the ’80s and ’90s. Many great contributors and shapers of the early days in Canadian accounting and tax software industry wrote for the Bottom Line; guys like Alan Salmon, Ken Gelhorn and Richard Morochove. The Bottom Line continues to have a great readership that spans all of the accounting designations and non-designated tax accounting professionals in Canada.
Likewise, the CGA Canada magazine is well read—often found on the reception area table after its rounds through the offices in the firm. Our brand and message got in front of a lot of people. Plus, buying advertising in CGA Magazine magazine is a good way for us to show our support for the association’s important work.
It’s always about the conversation with your customer
We bought three full page ads in CGA Canada Magazine, shown below. The team at TaxCycle understands the importance of talking with customers and listening to their thoughts. In our marketing, we wanted to reflect that through a conversational tone. In other words, we’re speaking with our customers, not at them. We came up with a question and answer format that we stylized in a magazine article layout.
Click on the graphic to see the full-size ad.
Good marketing is good story telling—we changed the copy in each ad as autumn progressed to reflect the progress being made polishing the software, and we had similar look and feel to provide continuity between the placements. The three ads appeared in subsequent months so they end up telling the story of the launch of TaxCycle in print.
Creating Innovation Tip “SoundBytes”
In the Bottom Line magazine, we went with a different approach as we had a smaller footprint of an ad. Like our product development, our messaging reflects our focus on innovation, of constantly seeking new and better ways to do things.
We had a less physical space in the Bottom Line ads so we really had to focus on “soundbytes” of information, and thus, “Innovation Tips” were born. The exact tips we choose were a matter of heated internal debate, since there’s so much great stuff in TaxCycle and DoxCycle.
Connecting marketing messages with key benefits that provide competitive advantage
I think the three we chose really reflects Cameron and the team’s commitment to leave no stone unturned when thinking about how to ensure a modern usability experience with TaxCycle:
- F4 is a common keystroke in pro tax software for finding and opening forms, and yet the focus on TaxCycle Fast Find’s Google-like search simplicity redefines tax return navigation.
- We chose the Data Preview feature as it shows off the integration of the tax data, a key benefit of their amazing software architecture.
- We liked the Control your Desktop feature as it reflects how TaxCycle takes advantage of the latest in Windows and hardware setups. And, more importantly, big productivity gains for tax accountants.
The Bottom Line
So, the bottom line (ha ha pun intended) is: while online and social media are where a lot of B2B marketers focus their energy, traditional print media is also very worthy of attention. In fact, it’s one of the very last types of “oldschool” marketing techniques I’ll recommend. It continues to retain readership and help put brands in front of highly targeted audiences while supporting the industry’s publications, associations and overall ecosystem.