The Business Marketing Institute’s Tuesday Marketing Notes email this week featured a post by Doug Kessler of Velocity, a London-based B2B marketing agency. He reports on an interesting response to a question his company recently asked on the download page of their Marketing Manifesto campaign.
The question was: “Your biggest marketing challenge is __________?”
It was a surprise to them, but not to me. Regular readers of this blog know that, very recently, I wrote a post entitled “Today’s 3 Biggest B2B Marketing Success Barriers are Human” addressing this challenge.
Reading Kessler’s post, however, made me think about this issue further. To help keep the CEO, sales manager, or product manager happy, many of my clients compromise the practices they use their B2B marketing programs.
I recognize that it’s important for companies to promote an environment in which everyone feels like they are part of a team working together toward a common goal. Unfortunately, to support this policy, too many companies let too many people provide input on all aspects of marketing — channels, offers, copy, calls to action… you name it.
Compromising marketing practices may keep internal people happy, but it is not in the best interest of the company or its bottom line. We all know the trite old phrase, “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”
To prevent B2B marketing camels, marketing must, unfortunately, add a new target group to its marketing programs — the internal titles that are in a position to influence the final marketing product.
In my earlier blog, I suggested bringing in an outside expert, preparing an educational presentation covering what’s best and why, and testing the marketing approach against the approach being promoted by the sales manager, product manager, or CEO.
But since Velocity has shown that this is such a pervasive problem, I realized that those solutions, although successful in many cases, may not be enough. I went searching for more ideas and found these two to add to the above list:
1. Survey Customers
Anna Barcelos and Beth Harte provide a good analysis in “Getting Management Buy-In for Integrated Marketing & Communications” on The Harte of Marketing blog. It basically addresses the differences between a sales-oriented and market-oriented organization. But in this presentation, they present another smart marketing tactic for getting buy-in.
Their suggestion is: “Survey/talk to customers for the best insight on what works with them and what doesn’t.” (“How can we be better?” “Where do you want to find information?”) Management is always interested in seeing the results of these efforts.” Armed with direct customer feedback, marketing has the leverage it needs to do the right thing.
2. Talk Numbers
A colleague suggested the following tactic that he always uses when trying to convince his clients to use best B2B marketing practices.
Tap your own tracked results (if you have them), search blogs, white papers, marketing industry books and Webinar and seminar info for the numbers that demonstrate how using best practices pays off on the bottom line. It’s hard for those sticking their nose into marketing decisions to argue with numbers.
Finding practical ways to reduce or eliminate unhealthy compromises on the use of marketing best practices without offending associates or superiors is a huge task. But in terms of marketing performance, it’s well worth the effort.