Some of the most successful companies in the B2B technology marketplace owe a great deal of their success to effective marketing. The explosive growth in the high-tech marketing tools space (from about 150 vendors in 2011 to over 3,500 in 2017) is strong evidence to support this. Companies like Salesforce.com, IBM, Apple and Intuit are frequently credited for their effective marketing campaigns, which have generated both mindshare and marketshare over the years.
Though there are many success stories, digital agency creatives and marketing teams are sitting behind their desks right now, about to make common errors based on instinct, previous blind luck or bad advice. If you know this person, forward them this article before it’s too late. Friends don’t let friends do bad marketing.
Here are five common errors B2B tech marketing professionals are messing up royally:
1. Prioritizing quantity (traffic, leads, social media followers) over quality
If you’ve ever looked at the Twitter or LinkedIn followers of some of your competitors, you’ll realize that a large audience doesn’t mean you should rely on social media as the only channel to distribute your marketing messages. The same goes for internet traffic to your website. Glancing at Google Analytics and relying on the volume of impressions isn’t a reliable indicator that your content marketing efforts are bearing fruit. It could mean:
● You aren’t optimizing for the right keywords – are you meeting your conversion rates? What pages on your website are generating the most traffic? Are they pages which are important to your business goals?
● Your website may be generating traffic, but is it suitable for your target audience?
According a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, (CMI) 78 percent of B2B marketers measure the success of their marketing campaigns based on website traffic. Only 50 percent use sales as a metric, and 33 percent use qualitative feedback from customers. When these same marketers were asked what metrics provide truly measureable results, all of the metrics in the survey dropped, and almost 10 percent said no marketing metrics are truly measurable.
2. They don’t trust their data, or don’t have the right tools to make data trustworthy
So lots of technology marketers say that none of the metrics they use provide truly measurable results. Yet there are 3,500 marketing applications, and many of them are purpose-built to measure the results of marketing results. It could be that these marketers aren’t measuring their campaign effectiveness at all, they don’t have effective tools in place to measure it, or they don’t trust the results.
In industries like agriculture, or maybe legal, it might be more forgivable for marketers not to trust their campaign metrics or data. In B2B technology though? Tech marketers need to find ways to better understand their marketing results, or follow industry thought leaders and understand how to do so.
3. Neglecting the bottom of the buyer’s journey funnel
You would naturally understand that technology marketers are highly focused on filling the top of the funnel, generating leads and building audience awareness. Further, ikt makes sense that they would be motivated to measure the results of content marketing campaigns for the Awareness and Consideration stages of the Buyer’s Journey.
The CMI survey found that 49% of marketers are measuring Awareness stage prospect activities and 44% measure the bottom of the “cone” of the funnel (Decision) stage. But only 22% of marketers are measuring the results of content marketing efforts designed to retain clients, upsell them, and create champions, or evangelists. Customer loyalty campaigns are neglected by almost 80 percent of marketers. 28% don’t measure content marketing ROI at all.
Leads are important to companies, but as any CEO will tell you, you need to protect your client base. You have to know how your content marketing campaigns are resonating with your audience, even if they are targeted at your existing customers.
4. Insufficient and ineffective use of case studies
Remember those evangelists or champions from about seven lines up the article? Satisfied customers willing to have their names and experiences published as a success story are very valuable for B2B technology marketers. References who are willing to talk to their peers are equally valuable, but a published success story can often take the place of a reference call.
Marketers spend a lot of time writing about best practices, lessons learned and thought leadership. A case study or success story is one of the best ways to demonstrate, as Open Text Chairman, Tom Jenkins often says “Follow me, I know where I’m going. I’ve been down this road before.
Many marketers are able to generate case studies, and they usually end up in datasheets on their company’s website.The B2B Technology Marketing Group surveyed 600 B2B marketers on the state of content marketing. The survey found that case studies are the most effective B2B content marketing tool. Yet they found that the best place for case studies isn’t only on the corporate website, but it should be used in multiple places in the physical and digital realms, including:
● Event handouts
● Sales brochures
● Social media channels
● YouTube, Vimeo or Vidyard videos
● Slideshare presentations and LinkedIn
● Review websites like Clutch or GetApp
● Press release/PR platforms like Cision and PRNewswire
Squirreling your success stories is like “hiding your light under a bushel”. Let them out into the “wild” of the internet so more people can find them.
5. Setting sales teams up to fail
Digital transformation has changed how and when customers engage sales representatives. A recent TechTarget ebook points out that sales reps should be briefed as each marketing campaign goes out, so they aren’t caught flat-footed when customers respond to the messaging in that campaign. Many customers take a lot of time to research a product or service until they are 60% of the way through the buying journey.
If a sales professional isn’t aware of a new product offering, sales promotion or feature enhancement when they meet a customer, it can be a serious blow to their credibility. Sales and marketing alignment is vital.
Are you a B2B technology marketer that has made a mistake, and have “lessons learned” to share? Are there other common mistakes that we should be aware of? Tell us about them in the comments section below.