When it comes to digital marketing, b2b marketers have more responsibilities and choices than ever. With so many ever-changing options, even experienced digital marketers make mistakes. The Snapchat campaign everyone loved internally went nowhere. The new landing page with parallax scrolling failed to convert. Even with a great internal team or b2b marketing agency, sometimes things just don’t go as planned. When programs don’t yield the desired results, the learning experience can be valuable but these common mistakes can be avoided from the start.
Mistake #1. Lack of strategy and defined goals.
Don’t conduct marketing activities without first defining what you are working towards and a clear strategy for how to get there. Tie your marcom plan to business objectives and acquire the necessary buy-in from key organizational stakeholders. To track the success of a campaign or program later, it’s essential to define specific goals, actions to achieve them, and how to measure success.
Mistake #2. Taking a one-size fits all approach to audiences.
When resources are constrained and budgets are limited, b2b marketers may default to using the same messages for all audiences regardless of role, buying stage, content format, or communications channel. Don’t do it—what you save in time you will lose in effectiveness. Clearly define your personas, understand their challenges, pain points, content preferences, and information sources then tailor approaches to match. If you can’t adapt for every target audience, focus on addressing the needs of the primary one effectively rather than jeopardizing all efforts with generic approaches that don’t connect.
Mistake #3. Not embracing user-focused design.
This isn’t about mobile-first design or having a responsive website compatible across devices (but if you don’t, you need to contact us), it’s about putting the user at the center of ANY design approach or marcom activity. Marketers can get so focused on their needs that the solutions they create hinder people rather than help them. Before you produce a burdensome lead gen form with too many required fields because sales wants all of that information, think about what’s best for the user and meeting his/her needs before a CRM system’s.
Mistake #4. Impersonal, incorrect, or inconsistent communications.
Failing to modify communications based on preferences or ignoring the actions people have taken and incorrectly communicating isn’t just off-putting, it reflects poorly on how a company manages customer relationships. Take the time to segment email lists, send proper messages based on user behaviors, and tailor offerings based on preferences or risk being assigned to junk folders or written off as a company that doesn’t pay attention or cater to customers. On the flip side, there’s…
Mistake #5. Being too aggressive, spammy, or just plain creepy.
If you are monitoring behavior and prospect activity, don’t be too eager, over communicate, or reveal the details of every interaction tracked (We see you downloaded our “VR for dummies guide” you must need our help so let’s talk!). Balance reactions with the risk of driving someone away. Go slow, nurture, and wait for appropriate times to interact when you can help a prospect appropriately.
Mistake #6. Poor social skills.
Your company may be active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but are you being social or just self-broadcasting? Social media is a place for listening, learning, and engaging. Encourage two-way conversation, be responsive (Don’t delete things that are negative unless they are offensive), and use these channels to build relationships not simply push out self-promotions. Also, be sensitive to timing of posts in the context of non-marketing events. For example, posting about loyalty to employees after plant closing is inviting rebukes.
Mistake #7. Focusing on producing content and not providing answers.
Producing new content on an ongoing basis is a huge challenge for b2b marketers. In the rush to meet demands and deadlines, don’t lose sight of creating content that is tailored to what audiences need at various buying stages. If you craft content that is an answer to the question the searcher has it will improve your chances of being discovered and a part of the solution.
Mistake #8. Executing in siloes with tunnel vision.
B2b marketers have a range of responsibilities—paid search, SEO, social--and if they are divided among teams or across departments it’s easy to treat each as a separate discipline. But these tactics work best together and not looking at the big picture of how they are interrelated can result in disconnect tactics and less effective initiatives.
Mistake #9. Running on auto-pilot and assumptions: Lack of data and testing.
With so many easy and inexpensive tools, there is no excuse to not conduct tests, monitor performance, and make improvements based on data. The advantages of experimentation should outweigh any concerns about additional time. Testing allows marketers to make decisions based on data, not opinions, and improve chances for success.
Mistake #10. Not measuring results.
Whether the goal is to increase email subscriptions or form completions, smart marketers establish metrics, implement tracking and monitor progress. (A digital dashboard can make it easy for b2b marketing teams to access performance data and do something with it.) Without data, you won’t be able to show marketing’s impact on initiatives. Was the investment worth the return? You will never know if the strategy is working—or how to change what isn’t—if you aren’t tracking your efforts. Analyze, update, and improve!