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Viewpoint: B2B Marketing – Evolving or Stuck in the Mud?

B2B Marketing is at a more innovative stage than has ever been possible before; but there are a few things bugging me

There are a few things bugging me that I'd like to air out.

Over the last few months, I've seen and experienced some things that make me wonder if B2B marketing is evolving or stuck in the mud and applying old thinking that no longer works in a new context.

Here are some examples:

  1. Marketing speakers who still lead with a 5 minute "About my company and products" intro. Snooze.

  2. "Experts" who have presented the same framework for years but talk about how the market environment is continuously changing. Disconnect.

  3. Contests to gain followers or Likes. Is the guy who wants the Kindle Fire really a potential customer for a B2B complex sale? Wrong goal.

  4. Exhibitors more focused on scanning badges than engaging people. Does it make more sense to try and build engagement later via email, or while the person is standing in front of you? Missing the point.

  5. Presentations that mention the buyer once or twice but are predicated on the concept of customer centricity. Misdirect.

  6. Survey reports with responses that contradict the responses to other questions in the survey. One example I can think of is a report I saw where the majority of marketers said they understand their buyers very well but responded that their top challenge is targeting the right people at the right company. Seriously?

  7. Speakers who say outloud - "I'm not sure how I got here." Credibility.

  8. Debating the labels and placing more importance on them than on the concepts and processes they represent. Distracting.

  9. Fake personalization in emails that start off with statements such as, "I viewed your website and see that you would be interested in X" - when that's obviously bogus since X doesn't align with anything related to your website content. Fail.

  10. Presenting takeaways that can help prospects take action. Too few.

  11. Follow-up calls to white paper downloads as if responding to a qualified lead. Time sink.

  12. Answering attendee questions with what you want to talk about rather than providing a direct and useful answer. Frustrating.

  13. Compiling thought leadership from others and branding it as yours with a page at the beginning or end that thanks a list of contributors without indicating which ideas came from whom. Misappropriating.

  14. Rehashing the same topics in blog posts again, and again, and again without adding anything new. Boring.

  15. Jumping on the latest shiny tool, app, widget, network without taking the time to listen and evaluate the value it may (or may not) add as a component of your marketing mix. Irrational.

Here's what I'm rooting for to power B2B marketing evolution:

  • New ideas
  • Possibilities
  • Excitement
  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Focus on the attendees, prospects, customers, whoever your audience is - as long as its not you, your company.

B2B Marketing is at a more innovative stage than has ever been possible before. Marketers have the opportunity to impact the buying experience from end-to-end. It's time to develop new skills and commit to learning what it takes to walk the talk. Success is well within reach if marketers want to go after it. That's why I get fired up about this stuff. Endless opportunities exist around every corner.

There. I've aired it out. Thanks for listening. What do you think? What gets you fired up about marketing?

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

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