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When Paid Media is Right for Growth vs Content Marketing

We're going to give you a peek behind our marketing curtain and describe a conversation we have at least once a month with new clients to guide this topic du jour -- when paid media is a better choice than content for growth.

Enter scene. It's a beautiful Dallas morning. Birds are chirping, the sky is big and blue, and our two parties are sitting in a landscaped courtyard while enjoying a refreshing beverage.

Client: Our CEO and CFO are numbers folks. They want to see ROI and they want to see it fast.

Creative Cave: Okay, we can certainly accomplish that Mr. or Ms. Client. So would you say your primary goal with your marketing is short-term returns?

Client: Well, not exactly. We want long-term returns, too. We can have both, right?

Creative Cave: Yes, you can have both. But it's not quite as easy as all that. We're not checking boxes like on a ballot. It's really about balancing paid media and content to find that short-term/long-term sweet spot.

Client: And that's something you can do for us?

Creative Cave: Of course. It's what we do all day, every day.

The two parties stand, both grinning, and enthusiastically shake hands, looking forward to a productive relationship.

End scene

That conversation occurs over and over again, and we absolutely understand why. Your B2B marketing exists solely to drive results. And the faster those results happen, the better, at least from the perspective of many decision-makers. However, as we said, when discussing the benefits of a sound inbound marketing strategy, a content-driven approach that gains steam over time doesn't occur overnight. Building a content library that addresses every stage of the funnel and the B2B buying process requires effort, patience, and commitment.

That's not to say, however, that paid media doesn't have a place in your strategy, even when you're focused on the sort of long-term growth that content is so well-equipped to provide. So on that note, let's take a look at the instances where paid media is a better choice for your ROI aspirations.

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Jump Start Your Content Strategy

If you're new to the wonders of inbound, a startup, or just a company that's never put much thought into your marketing, then your patience -- while still a virtue -- is likely to be tested while cranking up your content machine. Developing search equity and brand awareness is very much the tortoise racing the hare, a better choice for sustainability, but not the quickest out of the chute. In the meantime, however, there are bills to be paid, stakeholders to keep happy, and leads to generate.

Diverting some resources into a well-placed paid media campaign can give you much-needed ROI to keep your ship from running ashore.

Under those circumstances, diverting some resources into a well-placed paid media campaign can give you much-needed ROI to keep your ship from running ashore. While driving organic search results for your content is still the most cost-efficient and effective messaging strategy long-term, paid media serves a critical role in bridging the gap between planning and success.

 

Generate the Numbers

Extending the previous point -- and as our little playlet demonstrated -- your decision-makers could very well run your company almost entirely by spreadsheets. We're not saying that's good nor bad, just an increasingly common dynamic we see when discussing goals with both prospective and current clients.

Paid media excels at feeding Excel in the short-term. It's an effective approach at garnering some needed buy-in from your CEO, CFO, and stakeholders while waiting for your content strategy to show some tangible results.

If the company's leadership insists on seeing specific results -- something that a content strategy typically doesn't prioritize -- we'll use a LinkedIn paid campaign while we develop a longer-term foundation through inbound.

If the company's leadership insists on seeing specific results -- something that a content strategy typically doesn't prioritize -- we'll use a LinkedIn paid campaign while we develop a longer-term foundation through inbound. LinkedIn, as we've discussed, is especially well-suited for a precise paid media strategy thanks to its accurate, robust profile data and targeting tools.

Using this approach, we're able to show leadership actual results within the early stages -- x generated leads resulting in y conversions. The company can then take that revenue and reinvest it into a longer-term plan that allows us to devote more attention to a well-organized inbound strategy. Spreadsheets are well-fed, your C-suite is satisfied, and we can zoom-in on the bigger and better picture.

Read Next: How to Build Your B2B Target Audience on LinkedIn

The Epilogue

Ultimately, it's not about choosing between paid media and inbound. Instead, the goal is to find the ideal balance between the two, one that provides adequate returns through paid media while laying the groundwork for an organic search-driven content push. There is no right or wrong in this scenario, just a decision on how to allocate your resources, time, and attention to best achieve your goals. And that's exactly what Creative Cave is here to help you accomplish.

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