Mini-quiz on how to avoid a B2B marketing iceberg.

It’s a sad piece of history we are remembering this week with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912. When there are public tragedies, there’s an immediate call for who or what to blame. In the case of the Titanic, however, there was only one cause — human hubris, the “overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities.”

Hubris is a dangerous state of mind in any walk of life. B2B marketing is no exception. Hubris in marketing is not likely to cause the death of 1514 souls, but it can cost the job of a CEO, CMO, marketing VP, director or manager, product manager, or other player. In the case of a private B2B company, even the owner is hurt, as poor marketing decisions can reduce market share and the bottom line.

I’ve formulated this simple 10-question mini-quiz to help B2B marketers determine whether they may be suffering from the kind of hubris that would mean a bad outcome of their marketing, and possibly their future. Any “yes” answers are a sign that there may be an iceberg in their path.

1. We do not track cost per lead and cost per sale on every campaign.

2. We don’t believe in testing — we know what our customers want.

3. I personally like what we’re doing, so it must be good.

4. I personally don’t like what we’re doing, so it must be bad.

5. Our competition is doing it, so we need to do it, too.

6. As long as my boss likes what we’re doing, my job is safe.

7. We don’t need a strong offer — the product will sell itself.

8. The message makes sense to me, so our customers will understand it.

9. Nobody reads long copy anymore.

10. Direct mail is dead. Everything we need to do can be done online.

11. Everyone’s talking about social media, so we should dedicate a lot of resources to it.

4 replies
  1. Eric Wittlake
    Eric Wittlake says:

    Oops. I see the hubris of a few of these attitudes regularly, particularly number 2. While it isn’t stated this directly, bounds are put on testing because of what people think they KNOW, and then testing is focused on smaller items that don’t have the potential for the return that an unleashed approach to testing has.

    Also, #5, #8, #9, #10 and #11. Nailed it.

    — @wittlake

  2. Nick Stamoulis
    Nick Stamoulis says:

    These are very common B2B marketing errors, especially “the message makes sense to me, so our customers will understand it”. It’s important to speak a language that target audience members will understand. Just because you “get it” doesn’t mean that they will which is why you need to educate them.


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    Mini-quiz on how to avoid a B2B marketing iceberg….

    Read this quick 10-question B2B marketing mini-quiz to find out if your marketing practices might heading you toward an iceberg….

  2. […] Mini-quiz on how to avoid a B2B marketing iceberg. B2BMARKETINGSMARTS | MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2012 […]

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