Bad thoughts that block B2B marketing success.

Blogs are mostly written from the experience of the individual blogger. This post is no exception — it came to mind when I heard a prospective client repeat one of the following statements, which I had already heard dozens of times. It occurred to me then that it might be time to share this list of bad thoughts so that other B2B marketers might see the possible error of their ways.

“Our target is IT. They won’t respond to direct mail marketing. They do everything online.”
Tell that to SAP, Citrix, VeriSign, Novell, Sage, Epicor, Cisco Systems, Adobe, PeopleSoft, Avaya, Proxima, McAfee, Corel, Broderbund, BEA, Symantec and hundreds of others. All of these companies have used — and continue to use — direct mail marketing to reach their target markets, including IT, because it cost-effectively generates leads and sales.

“I’m reaching everyone I need to reach with email.”
Frankly, that’s impossible. The very best B2B email lists available today are lists of subscribers to specific industry publications. These lists usually require their subscribers to fill out a profile form to get and renew their subscriptions. With lists like this these, marketers know that they are getting full opt-in. These lists also allow marketers to select titles and other profile details on their prospects. Comparing email lists to direct mail lists in the same category, however, consistently reveals that email lists average only 30% of the target universe available from direct mail lists. B2B marketing only using email is, therefore, missing two-thirds of available prospects. With the delivery loss from spam filters, the missing number is likely to be even larger.

“Social media is the only way to go today.”
Yikes! Social media has great value as an extension of any lead generation and nurturing effort. It is also a powerful support for positioning a company as a trusted thought leader. But no single channel can ever deliver all the elements necessary for an effective B2B marketing program.

“We tried that and it didn’t work.”
Regardless of what the “it” refers to, my response is, “Give me the details. Tell me the target, the Web site, the response device, the list, the sample size, the copy, the offer, the design, the tracking, and the measurement used.” Once I hear the answers, I’m likely to find not just one, but dozens of bad marketing practices used in the campaign.

Not every channel works or is a smart approach for every business. But trying an approach once, without following best practices, should never be a reason for a marketer to eliminate that channel from a strategic integrated B2B marketing campaign.

The best tool a B2B marketer can have when building a strategy and seeking success is this — an open mind.

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4 Comments

  • By Gillian, September 2, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

    I agree with you .. I have clients who are convinced that they have to have a social media strategy but this is not always the best way to reach the target client and even if it is you need the time to implement the strategy and manage it on a daily basis.

  • By Jude Fischer, September 8, 2010 @ 7:53 am

    Love it, Susan, especially “we tried it and it didn’t work.” Would a parent accept a child telling them, “I’m not studying for my test tomorrow because last time I studied and only got a C-plus.”
    Another one I love, “We don’t need SEO — we optimized our site last year.”

Other Links to this Post

  1. Tweets that mention Bad thoughts that block B2B marketing success. | B2BMarketingSmarts -- Topsy.com — July 27, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  2. Social media marketing isn’t everything. | Liz Craig, Writer — September 8, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

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