You know that expression 'Can't see the forest for the trees'? Sometimes you can work so hard on something that you start to lose perspective on it. That happens in B2B marketing. If you think your marketing isn't working, (or, it definitely isn't working), here are 6 reasons you might want to evaluate.
Have you given it enough time? Really?
One of the most universally unpopular truths of marketing is that it takes time. Every business owner wants marketing to cost less money and deliver results faster. And while there are shortcuts you can take to achieve your results, you can’t consistently rely on the shortcuts.
You can start with a short cut or two, as long as you also run long-term marketing strategies that will be in place when the short-cuts have run their course.
An example of a short cut (or a quick-win marketing campaign) is to release a special offer into the market. But be forewarned - if your company doesn't have much of an existing client base or track record, an offer may fall flat.
To manage your expectations about marketing timelines, read How Long Will It Take To See Marketing ROI
But be wary. One short-cut that companies try all the time is to skip strategy and jump to execution. This invariably means their marketing doesn't achieve good results, because the marketing ends up haphazard and unfocused. Ensuring you have the right target market, with the right message and the right approach (ie, your marketing strategy) is critical.
Do you have talented people doing it?
It’s so exciting to make a new hire. You reviewed dozens of resumes and met with several candidates to make your selection based on the perfect fit of experience and personality.
But then, nothing gets done. And you’re not sure why.
When marketing activities don't get completed on time, it’s often because the marketer doesn’t actually have the experience required to push marketing projects to completion. We hire marketers all the time and it’s hard to know where someone’s experience lies. But, when they start on the job it readily becomes apparent. They can either get things done, or they can't. And the latter can't survive for long.
Do you know your customer? Truly and deeply?
Of course you know your customer! But is that knowledge getting translated into your marketing? What's the process your customers go through to do business with you? What other options and vendors do they consider for solving their problem? Some time spent analyzing customers and their buying process is always time well spent. Why customers purchase from you, the steps they go through to make the purchase, the problems or issues they face are often not well understood.
If you haven't spent this time to deeply understand customers and made sure to translate that knowledge into your marketing means you're missing the mark. Do this and your ROI will definitely improve.
Read How to Develop Your Buyer Personas for 3 ways to get started on better customer understanding.
Do you have a compelling message or just a bunch of 'blah blah'?
Not having a strong message will negatively impact your results. The messaging on your website should reflect how you talk about your company to someone in a face-to-face conversation. Many B2B companies struggle to have consistent and compelling messaging across their company.
If the first page of your website (or more accurately, the top of the first page) doesn’t explain what you do and how you’re different from the competition, you’re going to miss potential sales. We all know the majority of people will check a website before making a purchasing decision.
Generic messaging is another lost opportunity. Excellent customer service? Great quality? Say more, or else your message will be lost.
Finally, make sure that your message is relevant to your prospective customers.
Are you trying to generate leads but you don't have awareness or credibility?
One of the biggest barriers to success in B2B marketing is lack of awareness. It's hard to get sales in B2B if no one knows you exist, or they don't trust your company because they've never heard of it.
Marketers have limited time to get the message out and now your marketer needs to have 2 messages – who you are and why it's beneficial to do business with you. Brand awareness tactics often get no budget because they're difficult to measure. Sure, you can try – or you can lump in brand awareness with your lead generation and degrade your lead generation ROI – but at the end of the day, you will never be able to attribute brand awareness activities to sales.
Brands that have awareness are better able to acquire new customers, at a lower cost. So start here and give brand awareness the budget it needs to have your lead generation succeed.
Do you have a lurking problem with low customer satisfaction?
Customers who aren't happy don't refer you to their friends or colleagues, or become advocates for your company. Do you have a formal process to check in on customer satisfaction or do you rely on gut feeling when you wrap up with a customer? If not, you might have unhappy customers that you aren’t aware you have. While they might have not shared their negative experience with you, they will likely share it with other people, which hardly seems fair given you were not able to remedy the situation. Happy customers give referrals and referrals close faster than any other kind of lead. Keep your customers happy to keep your future business alive.
All of these issues have a solution. Strategic marketing. Learn more by reading about top marketing tactics.
Find more from Mezzanine on social: