Like almost everything in the world today, B2B Marketing is fast-paced and constantly evolving. The marketing strategies that have worked for small business brands over the last 5-10 years or so, companies are realizing, struggle to yield the same results they once did.
More specifically, free PDF downloads and gated webinar campaigns are producing fewer and fewer web leads with fewer sales-qualified leads.
So how can small B2B brands today shift and adapt their marketing strategies to reach, attract, and engage their target audience?
Shift Your Thinking and Measure What Matters
This might sound cliche, but a simple shift in thinking is a good first step in a more effective strategy. Not just shifting your thinking to see what you want to see, but shifting your expectations and how you measure effectiveness.
The Problem with “Leads”
In a recent post titled, The Problem with “Leads” in Your B2B Marketing, one of the talking points I stress is how ambiguous the idea of a “lead” actually is. Is a web conversion for a free PDF download a sales-qualified lead, a marketing-qualified lead, or something else entirely? When people who click on links in a group email you send, does that make them a lead?
The answers to these questions are determined of course by how your organization defines and classifies leads. But the point is, measuring your marketing effectiveness based on leads alone is like counting only the first downs your team makes in a football game.
You win games by scoring points, alas touchdowns and field goals.
Begin with the End Goal in Mind
When the end goal of your “marketing campaign” is to generate sales-qualified leads, this means that your leads must go through a pre-qualification process before they are passed on to your sales department. But just because they are passed along, doesn’t mean they will result in a timely sale. The sales process must then achieve two things:
- Establish trust and build rapport
- Gather intel on what the prospect will buy
Therefore, organizations need to shift their thinking about the purpose of their marketing. If the end goal is a sale – a new or upgraded customer – then companies must shift their thinking to implement marketing strategies designed to achieve the end goal – forge solid relationships and gather intel.
The Benefits of a B2B Media Strategy
The idea of a B2B media strategy is for brands to think and act like a publisher. In other words, produce content your audience wants, not information you want them to have. If a newspaper or magazine – digital or in print – produced content only about themselves the way most companies do, nobody would read it and brands would not advertise in it.
Likewise, if all Hollywood did was make movies about the movie business, well Hollywood wouldn’t be Tinsel Town.
Small business brands that can get out of their own way and produce content for their audience and not their own business will attract more people, deliver more value, and form an ecosystem that provides a place to advertise their business.
The video below is my second installment of the B2B Marketing and Sales Hacks webcast series. It’s 20 minutes of me talking about these ideas. Have a listen and use the comments section below to chime in with your thoughts and input.