It is the start of the workday. Your VP of sales walks in with a look of glee and determination on her face — she has just seen an awesome virtual reality-driven campaign for the new “Star Wars” movie. She believes it is the future of marketing, and she wants your department to start investing in VR—fast.
The pressure for marketers is real. A survey found that a majority of B2B marketers feel like they are under significant pressure to generate additional leads through marketing efforts.
Many great companies are stalled in the race to start using shiny new marketing techniques, desperate to nudge the needle higher on their marketing ROI. But returns are elusive — it can be difficult to identify tactics that you can tangibly track.
Business leaders see that other brands are churning out videos and created content, and they assume they will get the same results if they pour in enough money.
But not every cool, cutting-edge marketing technique will work for every company, especially in the B2B space. Often, consumer brands like Coca-Cola excel at risky campaigns because they have huge budgets for testing new tactics. These budgets have room for tests that end up failing to meet company objectives. Plus, these big brands are often speaking directly to consumers who are early adopters, if they are their target.
B2B companies have to be wiser when it comes to identifying the right allocation of their marketing budget. To achieve the right marketing mix, B2B companies need to invest in experiences that reinforce the value that they can deliver rather than get distracted by shiny new tactics.
Here are three trends you might need to drop from your marketing strategy:
Everyone is raving about utilizing video as the latest marketing tool. Video can often explain a concept or provoke an emotion in a more direct and tangible way than text or an image can. It is a viral medium — and who doesn’t want to go viral? According to HubSpot, nearly 52 percent of marketing professionals think video is the type of content they should be using to move their stagnant ROI needle.
Video can be a great tool for a B2B company’s inside sales — especially when it can use the magic of video to demonstrate its product. But for field sales, watching a video might not be a part of how your customer makes buying decisions. He is not surfing YouTube at work; he is reading whitepapers, attending conferences, and engaging with colleagues.
Instead, try investing more of your budget into developing thought leadership content marketingand PR opportunities. A feature that highlights your unique expertise can easily spread your voice across multiple channels and engage buyers more deeply while they are open-minded.
2- Facebook and Snapchat
It can be tempting to invest heavily in these social platforms, especially if it seems like that is where your target audience resides.
But there is a crucial difference between being a B2B firm and a B2C company on these networks. Most people on Facebook and Snapchat are not there in a professional capacity. They are browsing through photos and chatting with friends; they are not on the lookout for the next great software solution for their company.
Facebook and Snapchat can work for B2B companies if your target audience is narrow enough that you can talk directly to your audience. If your customers are microcompanies, social networks can be fertile ground for grabbing business. But B2B customer bases are often a little more varied. Instead, try to view Facebook and Snapchat as touchpoints and focus more on other tactics.
Invest more in B2B hotbeds like LinkedIn. If your target consumers are on social media during business hours, they are probably on LinkedIn. For now, professionals have a longer attention span on the site and are often already looking for potential business solutions.
3- Content Marketing for the Sake of Content
Content marketing works wonders when it is targeted and unique. It engages, and over time, it can translate into a strong, thought-led brand identity.
But content for content’s sake is nothing but a time suck. If you are going to spend time and money writing posts, they must be original and packed with insights that the reader can only get from you. Not many companies actually know how to do this — which might be why 70 percent of B2B companies complain that their marketing efforts are ineffective.
A lot of smart business owners will go to a content marketing agency and say, “I need a whitepaper.” But they are often unable to specify what they want this piece of content to illustrate. It is essential to focus on discovering what sets your company apart from the crowd and build a content strategy using that information.
Try investing your budget in attending a handful of strategic events throughout the year. Meeting potential buyers on the ground and joining them in a unique experience will generate more leads in an hour than a month’s worth of a content marketing campaign will. Plus, hosting or attending an industry event will give you original expertise you can then use to create your own original content.
The next time your VP comes into the office wearing 3D glasses and telling you to start making a movie, tell her you are busy creating an impact unique to your company. Start investing your budget in deeper, longer-lasting experiences like events and thought leadership to maximize your success.