Top 10 Mistakes in B2B Marketing
Not everything is simple in the marketing world, in the ever changing environment it can be difficult to keep up to date with the many aspects of the industry. Keeping up to date is one thing but ensuring you’re doing things correct is another challenge.
We’ve taken a look at some of the key pitfalls and themes that marketers have recently struggled with across all aspects of the industry. Take a look at some of our guides and toolkits that will help you create a brilliant B2B marketing strategy.
Are you guilty of any of these mistakes…?
1. Thinking that user experience is just for web and dev
Usability means making sure something works well and that a person of little experience can use it for its intended purpose without getting hopelessly frustrated.
The key fundamentals of good UX is to:
1- Identify the user needs. This comes from having a deep understand of your customers which take shape in the form of personas and customer empathy maps.
2- Understanding your business goals. You should have clear KPI's and map back to an objective first approach for all your campaigns and activities.
3- Technical constraints. Does it Better will always beat Did it First.
Set up your personas with a customer empathy map to dig deeper into your prospects and customers and do some UX testing.
B2B marketing generally has a longer process and sales cycle than you find in B2C and you must have a good understanding of your decision-making unit and how they go about finding information on your products and services.If you have a persona drawn up, use them. It’s still very common to see marketing teams that create a persona, tick a box in their head, and carry on as they did before.
To punch up your personas a notch and really embrace UX, you need to create a customer empathy map for your personas.
The empathy map has 6 different components:
1. How the customer thinks and feels
2. What the customer hears
3. What the customer sees
4. What the custmer says and does
5. The customer's pain
6. The customers gain
2. Not setting up your Analytics to correctly track your leads
This is a very deep subject, so we’ll just focused on some of the common issues seen with the B2B analytics accounts that you should be giving some attention to.
One of them is not having goals set up on your website. It’s extremely common in the industry for a high percentage of organisations to not have goals set up in their Google Analytics accounts. This is more down to not understanding how to set up analytics to create the goals. For example, if a goal for you is to submit a form, but that form does not have a destination URL, you need to set up event tracking, and with that, create an event goal - “you don’t know what you don’t know” so don’t kick yourself. Just learn it, and fix it.
You cannot expect anyone to put value on our marketing efforts if you are not able to track and attribute what you are doing, this is a vital part of marketing.
A way to do this is to map out the flow of the business through the funnel, from top to bottom, and check what tracking solution is need (based on the website configuration). This is a worthy exercise to do as you may find that you’re not tracking everything correctly for you to understand and find a solution to the questions you are trying to answer.
For example, you have a lot of video content assets and you want to know if they help people convert for a free trial, therefore a micro goal would be ‘watched a video’. So, in your analytics audit you need to check and set up event tracking on your website to see this data.
3. Not testing improvements
When you have FREE tools like Google’s Optimize, Convert.com or Optimizely for your website, and nearly all campaign programs from Adwords to email have FREE options to test, and people are STILL not doing it. A few small changes is all it can take to make your marketing efforts go further. We all have a leaky bucket, wouldn't it be nice to understand what is stopping people from converting?
AB testing is not just for ecommerce testing to see if a man holding the shoe gets more people to convert that a woman holding the shoe. You should be testing everything, all the time. Make it a company culture.
4. Buying technology and not knowing how you will use it
Sales using one CRM, Marketing using a Marketing Automation tool, both not talking to each other and thinking that some new tech-tool is the magic wand to make things better. It isn’t. You need processes, you need procedures, you need data and content in place for it to work.
There are loads of cool tech solutions to make our marketing pop. However, if you jump in and buy the technology before you know how you will use it, and how it will fit into your current ecosystem, you can waste money, and actually hinder your sales. The tech works but with no data, it is just an expensive place to hold your mailing list.
5. Content Mapping: Aligning content assets to the Sales Funnel
Content is a meaty subject, and needs to have a defined strategy, you NEED content! It feeds your website, your email programs, your social comms, everything. After you have defined your personas, and worked on your pain points, content themes, and objectives with clear and solid KPIs, always do an audit.
Many marketing teams have an editorial calendar and they think that that is their content strategy. You need to audit your content to the funnel. Why? See what you are missing. Often organisations have too much at the front or back, and they never repurpose. That white paper you want people to download on twitter. That should be an intro to a blog post and a click to email the pdf to your desk which is a better UX and makes your content efforts go further.
6. Using social media as a billboard
Social Media is supposed to be Social! There are a lot of brands, that see social media as a channel to broadcast their marketing messages. We have become a little jaded and don’t ‘trust’ brands and their social content, and some brands struggle to have a unified and authentic brand voice on social media.
If a brand is using social as a broadcast channel, then that brand voice will never be heard. You need to understand your audience, how they use social media, and max this out with empathy. This is hard to do as you may need to let go of some of the control and be media neutral putting yourself in the shoes of your customers.
7. Not cleaning your database
It is not the most glam of all marketing tasks, but your data is the blood that runs through your marketing body, and your blood may be a little toxic. Having a data strategy and process of how you manage data will keep your blood flow moving in the right direction.
You have all heard the phrase that B2B data decays faster than B2C, around 25% of your data, on average, will be dead in a year, job moves and changes, that sort of thing, yet you will still meet businesses that have NEVER cleaned their data.
Data is just a proxy for people and the truth is, you can not do email, CRM, Direct Marketing campaigns to your prospects and customers if your data is poor.
Crap in, crap out.
The term dirty data was created for a reason, and you should be scared by it. But what to do? The first step to recovery is to define a data strategy.
Step 1- Do an audit
Step 2- De dupe
Step 3 – Check and honor preferences
Step 4- Enrich your dataset.
Step 5 -Write as formal document
Step 8 - Not following best practices in Organic or Paid Search
Search is a high intent channel, people head over to Google and are actively looking for information, you may have the best product, super smart website, but if no one can find you, you don’t catch any fish and will go hungry.
PPC - Do an audit and tweak your ads also check for ad extensions and sitelinks, You can use site links to drive people to different pages on your website, you can use call out extensions for specific value proposition messages, you can have all localization extensions to show where your business is located, what time you open till etc.
Remarketing - You can build very clever bespoke remarketing lists based on the actions of your users on your website by creating segments and using these to build your remarketing lists.
Organic - As long as you adhering to Google best practice guidelines in creating and setting up your web site and you're producing valuable relevant content that people want to read and the people want to link to, then you're all good. There is a tool called Screaming Frog which is free to use and it will pull all of your web pages, the title tags, alt tags, meta descriptions, keywords for you to export as an Excel document for you to audit and tidy up your house.
9. Care sales copy
Yes, it is b2b, but that does not equal boring, b2b is personable there is a human emotional element as well as rational. You can have fun, you can improve your writing with storytelling, you can make better use of your email campaigns without making it all about the sale.
The problem with this is that your customers really don't want to listen to all the wonderful features and benefits of your products and services they just don't care enough. You need to bring storytelling to the table and inspire people to behave differently.
10. Not aligning Sales and Marketing
Small or large , there is always some silo behaviour between work streams, but for us all to get along and achieve the same company wide objectives you need to work together. Sales and marketing need to align, agree on what a MQL is and when to hand over to sales, what is the user flow for that.
Could you have a service level agreement between the two departments and work together to master the technology you are using to manage your prospects and customers.
Could you have a service level agreement between the two departments and work together to master the technology you are using to manage your prospects and customers?
Your SLA document aims at providing mutual accountability by agreeing project plans and responsibilities together at the start of any marketing programs or campaigns through to what sales intend to do with leads when they get their hands on them.