While it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security, B2B marketing is nuanced, ever-changing and increasingly reliant on the fastest growing technologies. B2B customers have access to more branded content than ever before and use it to make their decisions, which directly impact their customer journeys. But let’s have the facts speak for themselves.
- 67% of B2B customers don’t even speak with a prospective seller before deciding to make a purchase. They solely research online.
- B2B businesses that have a blog see 2x more email traffic.
- B2B customer journeys, which were always longer than B2C, are now taking even more time.
With over three decades of experience helping businesses grow, we know exactly what a successful B2B marketing plan needs today and in the future. To create a comprehensive, ROI-driven plan, first, guarantee that your business isn’t making any of these four common mistakes.
1. Not Knowing or Misidentifying Your Competitive Differentiator
What makes your business unique among your competitors? Answering this question and then leveraging this data will ensure your business stands out. But can you put a finger on this differentiator today? If your team doesn’t have one quick and easy answer for your competitive differentiator, then it’s time to take a step back. Perform an audit and conduct research to better understand your niche in the market. The time spent finding this data is worthwhile because it will keep your business from spending unnecessary dollars on the wrong audiences or tactics. If you know your competitive differentiator off the top of your head, ask yourself when it was identified. Is your differentiator still relevant or have industry changes moved beyond what your business previously stood out for? If it’s time to evaluate the messaging around your differentiator, do so. Even the most effective marketing plans aren’t relevant if the message is incorrect or speaking to the wrong audience.
2. Forgetting to Plan for Lifetime Customer Value
The time in which it takes your prospective customer to ultimately choose your business can be lengthy. It’s the long game. While B2C purchasing decisions generally take a shorter amount of time, B2B decision making can stretch to weeks or even months. It’s important to account for this elongated timeframe in any marketing plan. Any strategic plan will be sure to include how short-term tactics ultimately increase lifetime customer value. It can be tempting to get wrapped up in exciting new tactics as innovative technologies emerge and your industry changes. But guaranteeing the fundamentals that will continue to grow lifetime customer value is paramount. What message does your business need to share to increase lifetime customer value for your current and potential customers? It’s important that this message is continued in any short-term tactics. Strategic marketers, and marketing plans, must walk and chew gum at the same time. They must both address the pressing challenges of the moment while also sharing long-standing messaging to create lifelong customers.
3. Not Including an Honest Assessment of Potential Challenges
Realizing a strategic marketing plan is an exciting time. But today, more than ever, it’s critical to create realistic, concrete key performance indicators and address the potential challenges within your plan. Every thoroughly researched science experiment will present the limits of scope and potential pitfalls of the experiment. Innovative marketing plans should be aware of their limits as well. To understand and document potential challenges beforehand involves fully understanding the plan during its formulation. While it may initially seem negative to address what areas could be challenging, it actually shows it has been well thought out and well researched. Your team would have taken the time to think through these challenges and then can address them in the plan if they should arise. This preparedness keeps your budget and ROI as safe as it can during a tumultuous time for so many businesses.
4. Missing the Concept
Let’s face it. Digital marketplaces are packed, and traditional ones are too. What will it really take for your brand to rise above the rest and engage potential customers? Your business can be considerate of budget restraints while still dreaming big. Enter the creative concept. Has your team taken the time to create a truly impactful concept for your audience? Even if and when you’re able to get right in front of your ideal customers, the perfect concept must still directly speak to their need. It’s easier than you’d think to get bogged down in tactics and research and not stop to ask: “What do we want our audience to feel?” It might seem that B2B purchases are devoid of emotion but that’s just not possible. We’re human. And ultimately, we are persuaded in part through feeling. Your business can make prospective customers feel confident that they’ve made a sound financial decision. Your business can allow customers to feel relieved that they’ve been able to find a solution to a challenge that’s been looming over their heads. To discount the power of emotion in marketing is to discount a great pillar of our industry. For that reason, successful marketing plans prioritize the need for creative concepting that engages and captivates target audiences.
B2B marketing will continue to change throughout the upcoming decades. But if your team creates comprehensive, data-driven, purposeful and impactful marketing plans, the success of your efforts won’t change. We’ve been partnering with B2B clients for over thirty years to help them do just this. And will continue to be a thought leader in the field far into the future.
Does your team need help creating a ROI-driven B2B marketing campaign for your business? Let’s talk.
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