B2B marketing: there’s no such thing as a problem

My first Account Director said that there was no such thing as a problem – every issue was just an opportunity in disguise. I smiled, not quite sure whether to believe him, but have to confess I’ve kept it close and used it myself on several occasions.

Earlier blogs have mentioned our love of LinkedIn groups for B2B marketing insight, and we’ve spotted some great discussions recently.

The UK Marketing Network posed the question ‘what do you like or dislike about marketing’; the discussion was largely positive, mostly because marketers always view the glass as half-full, never half-empty! Also because every day is a school day – there’s always something new to learn, whether that’s from reading an article, consulting a peer, or by experience. Problems can be solved with a bit of strategic thinking.

The ‘B2B Technology Marketing Community’ group on LinkedIn has had a long-running discussion entitled ‘Can you use ONE WORD to describe the SOLUTION to the biggest B2B marketing challenges you face’? There are several key themes.

Vision

This was the answer from Andrew Mellish, Head of Marketing at Carrenza Ltd and Marketing Director at The Shoreditch Network. He said “Have a clear vision of your objectives and understand what you want to achieve. Without that it’s very hard to make marketing work the way your company needs it to.” Many also used the word ‘focus’.

Knowledge and understanding

The need to understand the problem in the first instance is key, particularly understanding the needs of customers. Simplicity has been described as the solution, and a great quote from Einstein comes to mind; “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

A deep understanding of marketing issues may involve going back to basics – some of those great tools such as SWOT, PEST and Ansoff. The need to understand segmentation, targeting and positioning are essential. ‘Differentiation’ another frequently mentioned solution.

A great point in the discussion mentioned the ability to unlearn and so meet the new demands and new ways of connecting with customers. Adapting to change is a must.

The customer experience was mentioned often, and ‘consistency’ the one word solution to meeting expectations. ‘Listen’ is another great one word solution. When it comes to social media, it’s as as much about listening as it is about broadcasting.

Integration

Digital Strategist Michael Carpentier said “Integration is key. It is the glue that holds all your B2B marketing parts together. It is the only way of ensuring that a lead captured is moved successfully to conversion into a client. Without integration your efforts just become a bunch of disparate initiatives with a hit or miss approach.” The word ‘alignment’ was also used. Our own blog about aligning sales and marketing stimulated a brilliant discussion in the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network LinkedIn group recently.

Data

The biggest surprise in this B2B Technology Marketing Community group discussion, is the small number of responses with the word ‘data’.

The answer to many B2B marketing challenges, we believe, lies in data. Whether that’s finding existing data to confirm a situational analysis (where are we now), data to identify opportunities such as market size/opportunity to increase share (where to we want to be), data to forecast (where do we want to be) or data to quantify response to activity (how will we know we have arrived).

All core elements of a B2B marketing strategy. Some do mention ‘measurement’, but in passing and in relation to financial measurement, or ‘ROI’.

In B2B marketing, the answer should be ‘yes’

This is my favourite one word solution to a B2B marketing challenge, and goes back to the half-full attitude of marketers and the belief that ‘there’s no such thing as a problem’. It’s also definitely how Modern Media would respond to a challenge!

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