B2B buying cycles are getting longer and more complex. The more time you spend in the funnel, the more likely it is to go wrong that could destroy your marketing budget.
Many companies fall victim to frequent mistakes, so making one isn’t the end of the world. However, if you want to secure your budget, the first thing you need to do is identify the most common pitfalls.
This article describes seven steps you can take to avoid these common pitfalls and to protect your marketing budget.
1. Address only top level executives
If you’re only marketing to C-suite or executive managers, reassess your strategy. Although 64% of C-suite executives have the final say, according to a Google study, 24% of those who also play a role in purchasing decisions are not in the C-suite.
You cannot downplay the role of non-C applicants in influencing opt-out. If you only spend your marketing budget on the C-suite, you run the risk of not reaching other key decision makers in a company.
For example, if you’re marketing to a manufacturing company with different locations in the region and want to get their attention, tailor your messages to the manager of each plant location, not just the CEO.
By including non-C-suite decision makers in your marketing strategy, you get a broader, yet more targeted reach and maximize your opportunities.
2. Ignoring the Millennial Audience
According to Google, millennials now make up 46% of all B2B buyers – almost half. In addition, 18- to 34-year-olds make up almost half of B2B researchers.
(Source: Think With Google)
With more millennials joining B2B companies and influencing purchasing decisions, it is a big mistake not to take them into account when crafting your marketing strategy. Allocate some of your funds to research the content and media channels that different age groups use.
3. Focus solely on generating new leads
Actively growing your customer base is critical to keeping your business going. This means that you are gaining leads. But sometimes companies just focus their marketing efforts on generating leads and forget about other goals – lead encouragement, for example.
If your only focus is on lead generation, what do you do when those leads are in your pocket? You risk losing it. Not all interested parties are ready to convert. Generating new leads is only half the battle.
In the B2B world, where the sales cycle is longer, it pays to take a more comprehensive approach with multiple goals: brand awareness, reputation management, lead generation, lead nurturing, and customer loyalty.
4. No adaptive strategy
Change is inevitable. Technologies come and go. Trends emerge and fade. Data is getting out of date. If you want to get the most out of your marketing budget, you’ll need to adapt to these changes.
For example, the COVID-19 crisis has challenged the status quo for millions of companies worldwide. The economy is extremely volatile and it is uncertain what the future will look like. If a similar event is rocking your marketing budget, you will have to adjust if you are to survive.
A good marketing plan is agile. Evaluate your budget changes quarterly and be open to increasing or decreasing the budget for specific tactics.
5. Do not perform A / B testing
It is a costly mistake to overlook A / B testing or split testing, which is an integral part of marketing. Without testing variables in your campaigns, it’s impossible to determine what actually works. By spending only 5% of your budget on split testing, you protect your marketing budget from wasted tactics and audiences who don’t convert.
See how that single A / B test resulted in a 336% increase in conversion.
As you try out new strategies or marketing tactics, regularly A / B tests to distinguish between working and budget-guzzling tactics. You will be surprised how effective your campaigns are.
6. Forget the “social” in “social media”
Some B2B companies use social media as a billboard to broadcast their offers. This is a mistake. Social media is not just an advertising channel.
Imagine yourself talking to someone who is only talking about themselves. So it is when you only use your social network for advertising. Potential customers may see your brand in a negative light, which is counterproductive for your marketing budget.
Instead, think of social media as a two-way medium. You need to bring value to the table if you are to maximize your profit from the medium.
The aim is to understand your customers and their use of social media. Educate, engage, entertain and inspire so that you can offer your customers added value. Only then can you make your company voice heard.
7. Don’t measure results
52% of marketers admit that their companies underperform or are unable to measure and analyze the impact of their marketing efforts.
This is common in both B2B and B2C: a company spends a significant budget on marketing without developing a system to measure results. However, if you do not analyze the results of your strategy, you run the risk of wasting your budget and courting.
If you can’t measure it, as Peter Drucker puts it, you can’t improve it. To measure the effectiveness of your strategy, determine the metrics that apply to your campaigns: ROI, traffic, leads, engagement rate, time spent on the page, and click rate.
When you do results analysis combined with split testing, you can use all of this data to improve your results and get the most out of your marketing budget in 2020 and beyond.