B2B marketers spent $161 billion in 2016 on advertising. It’s too bad that many of those companies spent more than they needed to. Retailer John Wannamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” Today, with digital tactics we have far more accurate means of measuring. And yet, B2B marketers are still spending too much for mediocre results. Well, you can change that. Here are the top seven mistakes we see B2B companies making in their marketing.
1. They Start with Tactics
Too many B2B companies think about which tactics to employ before they have given any thought to who their target audience is, what their message should be, or what their competitors are doing.
B2B’s are often quick to start an email marketing campaign, a social media page or an SEO initiative before they have nailed down how the buyer makes their purchase decisions. If you haven’t spent time drilling down into who your buyers are and how your competitors are already messaging them, you’re going to choose either the wrong tactics or you will misuse the right tactics. Either way, you’ll waste time and money.
2. They Fail To Understand The Buyer’s Problems
You can have the greatest B2B service or product in the world, but if you can’t relate what you do to your prospects’ business challenges, those prospective buyers aren’t going to engage with you. Your target customer cares about solving their problems, they don’t care how wonderful your business is. They want to know how your offering will impact their job, their career, and their future. Stop talking exclusively about yourself in your marketing. Instead, understand what they are trying to solve, and show them how your product or service will help them.
3. They Target Too Low in the Sales Funnel
If you are always aiming your marketing at the bottom of the sales funnel, where buyers are in the last stages of decision-making, then you’re always at a competitive disadvantage. (And you’re probably spending a fortune on advertising.) Too many B2Bs focus on the last stages of the buyer’s journey. The truth is, if you can market earlier in the decision-making process, you are more likely to engage in a non-competitive sales process, and you won’t be forced to compete on price. By always targeting your marketing for the late-stages in the buyer journey, it becomes more difficult (and more expensive) to differentiate your brand.
4. They Don’t Make Their Website A Resource
A high percentage of decision makers and their influencers conduct their research online before they ever contact a company. One study found that 62% of B2B buyers say that a web search was one of the first three resources they use to learn about a solution. And Google notes that “On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site.
If your website isn’t an informative, thoughtful, and well-organized resource for the buyer during their research, you are likely not going to make it into the buyer’s conversation with the decision makers in their company. The more complex the solution is that you offer, the more you need to invest in making your site more than just a brochure.
5. They Only Target Executives and the C-Suite
Final approval on purchases may reside in the executive offices. However, there are many other folks involved in the process. Often, it’s the lower-level employees who do the initial research into solutions, so getting your brand in front of these people is key. (This also echoes back to mistake #3.) , “While 64% of the C-suite have final sign off, so do almost a quarter (24%) of the non-C-suite. What’s more, it’s the latter that has the most influence; 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions.”
The good news is you’re in a more measurable marketing era than Wannamaker was. And each of these five mistakes are simple to fix. If you need help getting more out of your B2B marketing efforts, we can help. Contact us to discuss your B2B marketing.