Business to business marketing can make for some waters that are difficult to navigate at best, and downright turbulent at worst. If something pays off, it usually does so in a big way, but unfortunately, the same can be said for those concepts and efforts in visibility and branding that go down like the Titanic. With increasing numbers of marketing avenues at the disposal of many companies, it becomes increasingly important to be aware of the pitfalls found in many B2B marketing practices and work to overcome them.
Here are some of the more common B2B marketing gaffes:
- Failure to establish the client base. You can have the greatest product or business solution in the world, but if nobody knows you’re there, then you plan on staying home a lot. Make yourself and your product as visible as possible, through as many channels as you can find. Invest in SEO strategies designed to move you up in the search engine rankings. And continue to cultivate and prune that e-mail and social media list, communicating with potential clients and giving them the avenue through which to communicate back with you.
- Doing the same thing you always did. There’s a well known term for people who keep doing the same thing hoping for different results….it’s called insanity. As new marketing processes become popular, it is important to be aware of them and maximize them for your company. As the searching and buying habits of companies and people change and evolve, so should the processes that your company utilizes to stay in the forefront of your particular business niche.
- Not watching your step. It isn’t enough to simply formulate a marketing plan and implement it. You have to monitor the process every step of the way, looking to see what works and what doesn’t and making the appropriate course corrections as you go. If something fails continually, eliminate it. If something is generating positive results, continue to tweak it and refine it in order to get the most mileage possible out of it.
- Not establishing a rhythm of communication. You don’t want to become a nuisance, but you don’t want clients to forget your name either. It is important to establish a solid pattern and frequency of communication, be it through social media, e-mail blasts, mailers, whatever…enough to keep your name and brand in front of the client, but not so much that they end up rolling their collective eyes every time your company banner appears in their e-mail box.
- Not seeking outside input. All too often, marketing and sales departments operate independently of each other, and this is a mistake. Both parties should collate and compare data to determine what elements of a marketing campaign are working and what areas need work. Building such bridges within departments only makes the cogs in the corporate machine run that much more smoothly.
- Focusing on numbers. Yes, you want to reach as many people as possible, so numbers are a part of the game, but you want to also concentrate on providing quality when it comes to information, as well as the product or service being offered. It doesn’t matter how many people are reached if there is not some inherent value in what you are offering. Would you rather have a small number of people singing your praises over the fantastic product you provided, or a large number of people complaining to others about the lack of substance in your offerings? Think on that one for a minute.
- Not focusing on the brand. While there are some instances where it may be advisable to play down brand name exposure in favor of the benefits of a given product, you still want to make sure your brand name gets the widest possible exposure, since after all, you want to be the go to source for this service in the future. People have to remember the name.
- Lack of timing. Too many companies overlook obvious opportunities to get their name out there, such as trade shows or other large scale events that would warrant a marketing push. Never let a high profile event go to waste…push it for all it is worth. Omitting this step can cost you opportunities that somebody else is going to snap up.
- Not providing relevant information. Clients, be they professional businesses or the guy down the street, will appreciate information that improves their situation in some way. Just hocking a product or service isn’t enough. Try to give them some information they can use without ever having to call you. In many cases, it can pay off handsomely if you don’t come to them immediately with your hand out.
- Not being aware of the environment. Find a way to partner with other media outlets and channels to stay abreast of what is happening within the industry. Doing so can only help to increase your effectiveness when it comes to proper marketing pushes and opportunities for exposure.
Make no mistake…..mistakes will happen, What becomes important is to learn from them and not make the same gaffe twice. They become progressively more difficult to recover from. By properly identifying patterns and rhythms in your company’s sales cycles, you can adjust your marketing strategies accordingly and take full advantage of every opportunity. You do not have to be a marketing guru in order to be able to execute a very effective and profitable marketing campaign.
Marketing campaigns should never be thought of as one off or stand alone events, but rather, movements that are a part of a much larger work, much like a classical music composition. Yes, they work fine on their own, but they also serve to enhance and grow the overall theme, which is in this case, your continued business growth, development, and earning a position of authority and trust in your chosen industry.