We spend a lot of time talking to companies about how to get more from their B2B Marketing engine. Everyone one of them—regardless of size—are different and have various complexities. Yet, they are also often very similar, and the cause of their under-performance can be generally traced back to eight points of failure:
- A Clear Vision. Seems too obvious to be a problem, but lack of clearly-articulated business strategy is the biggest cause of marketing underperformance. Are your BUs arguing with corporate over messaging? Is your content and creative all over the map? This lack of organizational clarity can be devastating, and result in an order-taking marketing function that drifts with the wind, wasting dollars, hours and careers along the way.
- A Differentiated Brand. A deliberate, client-centric brand is the foundation of lasting sales differentiation. It’s what elevates you above feature and price competition in the trenches. Yet, too many corporate executives still confuse logos with brands, leaving little attention or resources available to define and steer the brand. Everyone’s brand means something in 2018, it’s a question of who is steering the ship.
- Customer Intimacy. Digital transformation is changing everything – every industry, every sales cycle, every communication channel. Is the sales organization providing intel on new personas in the sales process? When’s the last time someone in marketing talked to a customer? Do we really know where our clients go to for information? If you’re not in the jungle keeping a pulse on the tiger, you’re going to lose the trail pretty quickly.
- A Compelling Story. Is everyone telling the same story, and does it resonate? Everyone and everything that touches your customer is telling some part of your story. What does it add up to? How much influence does Marketing have over the story?
- Great Content. Content remains king in 2018 and the number of content formats (voice, animation, video, AR/VR) and channels are exploding. And the walls between B2B and B2C are eroding – meaning that B2Bs have to up their content game. Is your organization betting the farm on events, sponsorships and ads while starving content production?
- A Scalable Stack. Martech is exploding, and the technology and tools available to engage your audiences and link interactions to sales are almost too impressive. Is your organization taking a thoughtful approach to the development of its marketing platforms? Are decisions about CRM, CMS and marketing automation and other tools aligned to the business strategy and rapidly-evolving customer dynamic?
- A Clean Handoff. Unfortunately, software hasn’t found a way to automate effective collaboration between Marketing and Sales. Marketing data are worthless if Sales won’t agree on their impact to nurturing and closing deals. Brand positioning, messaging and content are worthless if Sales doesn’t believe it will resonate with the customer.
- A Way to Keep Score. The following are facts: 1) CMOs are under intense scrutiny to demonstrate Marketing’s impact to Sales and 2) the amount of available data far exceeds what is necessary to make the case. As a result, some Marketing organizations are still holding up the growth of their Twitter followers as justification of a contribution to the top line. Despite all the science, effective marketing measurement is still an art. Has your organization agreed on the metrics that will define Marketing success?
Apply this eight-point checkup to your organization and have an honest dialogue with yourself and your team about how you’re doing, and what are the opportunities for improvement in each of these areas. And of course, please share your feedback with us.