If you're not getting marketing results after 4 months, it's time to ask some questions.
Because marketing is not something with which many B2B companies — especially manufacturers and technical firms—are overly familiar, many leaders of these businesses have a lot of questions about how it all works. The first question most CEOs ask when they launch a marketing effort is, naturally, “How long does it take to get results?” But a close second is this: “How do we know if we’re marketing the right way?”
As I’ve outlined before, marketing does take time to show results, so impatience can seriously threaten success. But at the same time, you shouldn’t have to wait six months to know whether your efforts are making any progress.
And as I’ve also written before, the first 100 days are the most crucial for setting your marketing efforts on the right path. That’s when your marketing team should be creating a strategy, defining your target market and value proposition and creating collateral to help the sales team sell with confidence. A new website could fall in there too, depending on complexity of the job. If your marketer can accomplish all these tasks in the first four months of working with you, it’s safe to deduce that your firm is on the right track.
But it’s important to note that if a marketer hasn’t accomplished those things, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re failing—especially if your company has never done any real marketing before. As long as you see that progress is being made on coming to decisions and building the marketing foundation (that is, your messaging, website and collateral), you can probably stay the course.
But if after four months you have seen no tangible results at all from your marketer—no signs of a new strategy, no road map to new collateral, no talk of a new online presence—consider it a red flag. An inability to get anything accomplished in the early days is a harbinger for more of the same in the future. Either your marketer is incompetent (what many leaders tend to think), or your company is unable to make decisions. I’ve seen both. And while many CEOs like to think that their B2B companies are perfect, if you’ve had a string of marketers who haven’t been able to achieve results, you need to consider the possibility that the problem lies with you.
Looking for more help to make marketing work in your B2B company? Get proven tips in PROFITGUIDE’s Market Smart, the B2B Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers.