The Biggest Mistake Marketers Make

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Are you wondering why your B2B Marketing ideas aren’t gaining the traction you hoped for? Or maybe your campaigns just aren’t producing as well as you thought? Does your content languish on the shelves? How about your relationship with sales?

These are questions all B2B Marketers ask at some point but too often the answer is the same… The biggest mistake marketers make is that we make it all about us. We have to stop talking about ourselves. Ultimately, it is a matter of perspective. And like any transformation, it is not easy to change.

Recently, I heard a great story that helped to really bring home this point. I was participating in a panel discussion with the great folks at the Philadelphia BMA. The topic was sales and marketing alignment – a popular topic lately. After the session I was speaking to one of the few sales people at the event. He said he does both marketing and sales for his small printing business. Nothing too surprising there as many small business people play many roles.

But then he told me that as a board member of the BMA, he was calling marketers to try and understand what the best time of the day would be to hold events. He’s trying to grow his membership and wanted to reach out and conduct a mini research project.

Now here’s the punch line: every single marketer he called either took his call or called him back on the same day. He said these are the same people that ignore his calls when he is representing his printing business. They called him back because he was interested in them and their opinions.

The moral of the story: Make It All About Your Customers.

If you have marketing ideas that are being ignored, maybe your concept starts with the natural desire to talk about yourself and your product

If your campaigns aren’t achieving the response rates you thought, maybe your campaign spews details about your product or company.

If your content isn’t being used, maybe it doesn’t address the needs of your customers. (If you missed it, catch my post on How To Create Killer Content: Speak To A Customer.)

Looking for a good example? Well I don’t normally like to talk about my company, but SAP really understands this concept. In my opinion our ad campaign released last year called “Run Better” uses our customers to tell the story about how we help them become best run businesses. It shows how we help to make the best businesses do what they do best, even better.

We’re making it all about them!

How can you build this in to your marketing approach? Ask yourself if you are helping your customer. Better yet, ask them. Use their words. You’ll be surprised how many of them will be happy to talk to you. And the strategies, campaigns and content you create will work much better than you could have ever imagined.

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Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.

8 thoughts on “The Biggest Mistake Marketers Make

  1. Nice that you acknowledge the importance of this. The only thing I would add is; make sure what you are doing — in whatever social arena you’re involved in, aligns with your soul purpose. In other words, are you doing it because you “love” it or because of the potential to make good money?

  2. I’m so glad you are emphasizing a brand having a face. I keep telling my clients this but they are so hung up on their logos. In in Social Media people want to do business with people a face not logos – I’m seeing some companies Best Buy Twelpforce for instance – where a tweeter’s profile picture (person you can see their face) holding he Twelpforce logo.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    Vibrating positive energy…what are you vibrating

  3. I still struggle with the line between promotion and opinion but not as it pertains to governance. I find myself second-guessing sometimes whether I should mention a blog I wrote or re-tweet something I find interesting. Will people take it seriously since I work for SAP? Or will I just come across as another shill for the company? Sometimes, there’s no way to avoid appearing sales-y no matter how sincere the social media gesture might be.

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