What is the one thing you can do to guarantee success from your B2B marketing efforts?
I work with a number of small businesses who are either starting their marketing efforts for the first time, or say things like ‘oh we’ve done marketing before, and it didn’t work’.
And I spend a lot of time explaining the one, critical success factor for marketing activity to them. Without this, they will only get limited, and certainly not long term, success.
So what is this critical factor – what tactic are millions of small B2B businesses missing out on?
It’s relatively simple – relentless focus. Keeping a consistent and coherent approach over a sustained period of time is the only way to guarantee that marketing will generate leads for your business.
And this is where businesses fail. Because for smaller businesses, it’s hard to focus consistently on that one thing when there are so many other demands on their time. How does a founder of a start-up think constantly about ‘fluffy’ marketing when there are bills to be paid, staff to be recruited, invoices to chase and projects to be delivered?
I get that, I really do – I’m a small business owner myself. But the thing is, it is only with that relentless and consistent focus on your marketing efforts over a sustained period of time that will deliver the results your business needs.
A big part of my job when I go into companies is explaining, particular in the world of B2B software and technology where I spend much of my time, that to get a steady stream of new business leads coming through the door takes time. That timeframe varies according to tactics, but you are not going to get a sustained pipeline overnight.
You need to focus over a period of months, on building your online presence, tweaking your website for search and customer relevance, understand buying behaviours and building awareness over time through a wide variety of tactics. And consistently publishing good quality content across a multitude of channels.
I often use the much over-quoted statement ‘I know 50% of my advertising is wasted, the trouble is, I don’t know which 50%’– as it relates just as equally to marketing. Whilst I would say that it’s unlikely that 50% of your marketing budget is actually wasted, the sentiment remains true. It’s often difficult to pinpoint which activities are the ones truly delivering the most value – but’s important that you cover as many marketing channels as you can – because consistency will deliver results.
B2B marketing is not something you can dip in and out off – at least not if you want the best ROI. It’s not a tap that can be turned on or off – it needs constant attention. And that’s where small businesses fall down. Because there is so much else to think about. So do consider getting a dedicated resource to help you – whether that’s a consultant like me who can bring experience at a reasonable cost to the business, or a permanent member of staff. Without that relentless focus on marketing, you are not going to get results – it’s an investment worth making.