Today I will be on a panel moderated by Craig Rosenberg from Focus including Lisa Horner from Citrix and Gregg Holzrichter from Virsto Software. The topic is B2B Tactics That Work (And Those That Don’t).
I am often asked “what is the best tactic in B2B Marketing for driving leads, pipeline or new sales?” While the answer is often that it really depends on your business, I think the bottom line is that most companies are not focused on solving the right problem.
To me the real answer lies within our company culture, marketing perspective and customer frame of mind . . .
The Hottest Topics in B2B Marketing
What’s hot in B2B Marketing? Everyone is talking about the shift to digital or Social, Local and Mobile (aka “SoLoMo”).
Augmented Reality? QR codes? Crowd-sourced creative design? Yeah man, that stuff is hot too.
But I believe that in many cases these are symptoms, not the causes of the massive shift in consumer control we have all witnessed in the just the past decade. Consumers increasingly ( if not completely) control what media and entertainment they consume and when they consume it.
These hotly-debated and widely-discussed tactics need to be considered but within the context of what they are: the evolution of consumer choice. And it is for this reason that some say the differences between B2C and B2B marketing has disappeared completely.
What B2B Marketing Tactics Work Today?
Inbound marketing tactics will consistently deliver the best return on marketing investment. But this is now a foundational activity. It simply must be done for companies to survive in today’s customer-driven world. We must have effective websites that are easy to navigate and provide ample opportunity for customer contact and calls to action.
And this only works on the back of an effective content marketing strategy that puts our customer needs at the center. And then defines the delivery model for all the needs, from all the customers, in all the places our buyers will seek information when they have a problem.
Some of this content will need to be created. Some will need to be found and curated. And some will simply need to be syndicated.
Email, Social, Mobile, Local, SEO, Paid Search, Direct Mail…none of these tactics are an effective answer to the question because they all rely on an effective content strategy.
In my view, if you are looking to be effective in B2B marketing, look at your content and ask if it meets the needs of your customers when they are seeking solutions.
9 Steps You Can Take Today To Be More Effective
- Understand first that Marketing’s goal is to get and keep more customers and to do so more effectively than our competition.
- Realize that, especially in B2B, we need to help our sales people sell stuff.
- Help your organization to the conclusion that the best way to do this: focus on customers’ needs.
- Orchestrate a company-wide content strategy that delivers valuable content that our customers want in all the places they go.
- Set clear goals for all marketing activity that is mapped to business outcomes.
- Create an integrated annual marketing plan mapped to buyers journeys and media consumption patterns.
- Work closely with partners on a pay-for-performance basis.
- Drive customer-centric content into all channels and test out as many variables as possible.
- Focus on optimizing your plans not on tactics and execution.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Photo is The Little Spinner, by Lewis W. Hine, 1908 from Library of Congress