Do B2B marketing better

It struck me the other day that we speak with a lot of marketers and no matter what size of budget they have, or size of organisation they are, they’re all struggling with similar issues.

Most commonly it’s lack of resource, followed by lack of specialist skills then lack of budget.

There’s a drive and desire to want to do better, smarter B2B marketing, but in most cases they’re simply hamstrung.

Quite simply, they have to focus on keeping their head above water, fighting off the sales team or corporate HQ, or managing workflow around their own organisations.

The thing that suffers is marketing (and the marketers get a bit demoralised). The minimum gets done through no fault of theirs and results of the campaigns are okay, but could always be better. That’s what I want to talk about today: making simple steps to do better marketing.

In that vein, I’m going to share three things that we see marketers do regularly and how with a little thought and time, it’s possible to improve things to really ramp things up.

The things I’m going to cover are pretty basic and virtually every marketing team in the country has to do them. They’re fundamental to any B2B marketing programme, yet, as I’ll show you, they shamelessly get overlooked.

And whilst we’re good at stating the bleeding obvious, sometimes we fall into the same traps. At Modern, we’re not perfect either. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and get the basic s**t done.

Email is a biggie

With email, whether you’re running a large enterprise or a small software business, everyone does some form of email. Out of everything, this is the area where we see most opportunity for businesses where we’re lucky enough to look under the hood.

Disclaimer: Before I get started, this is the one where we fail. If you’re on our newsletter list, you’ll know that they’re far from regular!

Every business has a database and yes, there are complexities selling internationally with the use of data and specific laws for certain countries, but for the UK, we’re able to send emails for business.

Most businesses have acquired data from some form or another, hopefully legally, but rarely do they put it to good use. The area where we see prospects and clients miss out is with nurture programmes.

There seems to be this ‘three email rule’ and then stop. No more emails, unless the contact gets put into another lead generation campaign that has email as part of it.

My thought is, hang on a minute, you’ve worked hard to get that contact to engage with you. They’ve downloaded your content or raised their hand in some way, and you’re going to stop after three emails?!

I miss sales or lead gen emails aimed at me, all the time. Doesn’t mean my interest has waned. It just means I’m busy! And have you seen how much of a fascist Outlook Clutter is? It even pushes Microsoft emails in Clutter.

Three emails suck. And if you’re going to stop emailing me completely, then you’re really missing out.

We’ve seen warm contacts act on a call to action in an email after 7 touches and as far out as 21 touches. So don’t give up after three. At least take them off that specific nurture programme, but put them into a regular communication about your products or services, so you can keep front of mind.

Going too broad with targeting

There are too many PR people getting into digital marketing and it’s resulting in digital campaigns being too focused on impressions and reach – that’s a numbers game.

It’s broad-brush advertising for everyone and their dog (and it’s expensive).

Quality over quantity every time. It produces better results and is a fraction of the price.

Plus, with the targeting available these days on social advertising, ad networks and trade publications, there is no excuse. Unless of course, you’re doing a huge brand campaign and your audience is everyone (ahem, like Microsoft or Toshiba).

Tracking: it’s still a bugbear for many

I can honestly say, every time I speak with a client-side marketer, they are struggling to demonstrate success. Yes, pretty much every time.

Their priorities are either to demonstrate:

  • To the sales team that they have contributed to the journey of a customer in some way, shape or form
  • They have delivered a certain return on investment
  • A particular channel, i.e. Twitter, is not a waste of time
  • Many marketers are struggling massively with Google Analytics, or if they’re a whizz with Google Analytics, they’re unable to demonstrate the opportunity or sales value tied back to a campaign. (The latter is a systems issue, common with marketing automation platforms).

    I’m yet to meet a client that is doing the reporting and attribution element of a campaign well. The solution, digital marketers are going to have to grip this one with two hands and get on it. There is only going to be a greater need to demonstrate success (or non-success) and that’s not going away. So that’s about skilling up, setting up systems and monitoring and tracking.

    Let’s end on a positive note though. Things are changing and marketers are embracing more things. They’re able to do things more cost effectively as the freelance market grows and technology enables faster, more efficient management of B2B marketing activity.

    The most important thing though, is getting those basics right, assessing the quality of what you’re doing and starting to do marketing better.

    What are your experiences? I’d love to hear about it, let me know on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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