It’s 4:00, time to start thinking about what to fix for dinner. I have a closetful of recipe books to assure me that, if I follow them faithfully, I can create dishes that do what they are supposed to do — taste delicious and satisfy those at my dining table. Unlike gourmet cooks or professional chefs, I don’t have time to experiment with recipes and risk failure.
B2B marketing is a lot like cooking. Most B2B marketers don’t have the time, the budget or a large enough universe of prospects to test new marketing ideas.
Testing is, of course, the most essential element in direct marketing — that is, marketing that’s designed to generate a response.
Offline marketers can test such things as offers, packages, mailing lists or print media. However, the typical B2B prospect universe is small, often under 10,000 companies. This small universe makes it difficult to get the response quantities large enough for statistically valid response rates.
Online testing is much easier to do. As Bob Frady of DM Central nicely explains in “Why Aren’t You Testing?” it’s critical and easier in today’s digital marketing to test such things as subject lines, landing pages, SEM ad messages and more.
Big companies with large budgets can test fresh, new marketing approaches for the opportunity to achieve breakthrough results. That’s where marketing innovation comes from. Most B2B marketers, however, are not big. They don’t have huge budgets or the time to test everything they do.
What should they do? Follow the recipe. All B2B marketers have to do is to learn what’s working by reading case studies, white papers, industry surveys, even blogs like this one. Best practices are based on measured results from marketing approaches that have been tested by the big guys and proven to work time and time again.
Following B2B marketing best practices is the most assured and least risky path to success. After all, people care only how the food tastes, not whether it was cooked by following a recipe.