The Chronic State of B2B Marketing in 2012

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I was just having a bumble round the web, turned left and suddenly came across a report by Meclabs blocking the road. It’s basically research of 1,745 b2b marketing people, to find out how things are going with their marketing strategy and delivery.

Now I have to say that at KnowledgeBank, we work with many blue chip companies in the UK and have done for nearly 18 years now. This means we have insight into how marketing is being delivered and how strategy is being developed in these companies.

Based on that experience, we have some good news for smaller companies out there. Those who maybe haven’t the time, resources or cash to get a full blown marketing automation platform into their business.

Plenty of large companies aren’t doing this very well either!

In fact, some of the biggest companies you know, don’t do any of this. Funnily enough, that’s what this report says too.

Remarkably, according to this research, even the most effective B2B marketing tactics of recent years, such as website design, SEO and email marketing saw up to a 50% decline in overall effectiveness from the previous year. Yes, read it again. 50% DECLINE.

So why is this the case and what can you do about it in your company?

Well, there could be a multitude of reasons for this, the economy, etc. But realistically shareholders and management don’t care about them. They want results, growth and profits in order for us to keep our jobs. On that basis, here’s a few reasons for, and solutions to, the challenge:-

1. CHALLENGE: FRAGMENTATION – WE HAVE TO COVER MORE CHANNELS. Your audience is no longer reading your emails, they don’t read your business magazine and they aren’t at your exhibition. They are getting their b2b marketing recommendations from peers and thought leaders. You can’t cover all these channels without help and understanding of where to put the effort.

SOLUTION: Get acquainted with Social Media for Business, digital marketing, data driven marketing and the plethora of other channels you haven’t tried yet.

2. CHALLENGE: WE FOCUS TOO MUCH INVESTMENT ONLINE. Google paid for some research you can read about here – it says that the western online economies will double in size by 2016. How can this be? Well, because they are still tiny compared to the offline economy, but they have the LOUDEST VOICES. The total web economy is around 4% of total GDP! Many companies have forgotten that their best asset is their existing customer base. If we can only email 25% of them, who in their right mind would buy stamps to mail the rest. Well, if you aren’t doing that, you better start again quick.

SOLUTION: Rediscover the ways to directly contact your customers and prospects. Analyse your data. Clean up your records so you can communicate with them effectively and build some profiles of your targets. They might not know you exist any more.

3. CHALLENGE: WE FORGOT HOW TO NURTURE A RELATIONSHIP During the boom years, we all got used to plenty of money flying around. We all grew by literally being in business. This has changed for good. We are all fighting for a smaller part of a smaller pot. This means we need to do more activity to the remaining prospects and to our customers. NOT LESS. Sometimes we forget that our customers are actually the prospects of our revenue starved competitors.We need to make sure that wherever our prospects are looking for our product, we are there. Pay per click will eventually be so competitive that companies with lower margins and bigger cashpiles/debt to burn will own it. Eventually, Pay per click for many things will trend towards zero margin businesses. You also can’t create a need using pay per click, only fulfil a percentage of existing needs.

SOLUTION: Start looking at the ways you can engage with our customers and prospects and romance them into purchasing from you. Make sure you have your reputation available for prospects to find easily and share it with them by whatever means you can.

I won’t summarise the whole report, but one thing it says to me is that you need to spread your bets to find out which marketing channels work for you and measure the results.

We can help you with that.

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About the Author:

KnowledgeBank work with Companies to develop their data driven marketing solutions to generate profitable new customer relationships. We also deliver social media training, consultancy and strategy to hundreds of businesses across the UK. If you would like further information about how you can develop your own marketing activity or social media, please contact us on 01772 978 101.