Kathy Floam-Greenspan is the President of Pomerantz Marketing, a full-service B2B agency supporting regional, national and global SMBs.
In today’s crowded online ecosystem, highly effective, breakthrough B2B marketing is more difficult to achieve than ever before. There is so much noise — so much content — that it takes sustained effort to break through.
Like trying to attract attention in a crowded room, gaining recognition, generating leads and increasing sales don’t happen by accident. As a result, effective B2B marketing campaigns take longer and are more involved than we often expect or believe.
That’s not to say that B2B marketing is ineffective. According to one report, 60% of always-on, sustained marketing programs are successful. Instead, we need to reorient our thinking about B2B marketing. Embracing the right mindset and pursuing the right outcomes can make marketing campaigns a success.
Breaking Through The Noise
Especially amid a pandemic, people are overwhelmed and tired, and many may not have the emotional or intellectual space to accommodate even the most compelling content. Yet the expectations for B2B marketing are still incredibly intense. Many marketing managers have probably heard the same familiar refrain: “Let’s grow our visibility in a month, make us a top hit on Google and increase sales yesterday.”
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to achieve marketing success. Effective marketing is the product of consistent, sustained effort from all angles. Before seeing results and patterns emerge from a marketing campaign, expect to spend at least four to six months on a persistent market strategy.
To break through the noise, you’ll need to be patient and stay the course so you can assess, analyze and refine results as needed. When coupled with realistic expectations, you can expect your B2B marketing campaigns to pay excellent dividends.
Today’s crowded and noisy online spaces also present an incredible opportunity for startups as they have the potential to reach an expansive audience. Startups can make the biggest impact when they have a compelling offer that speaks to their audience. This allows them to get their foot in the door. That’s why startups might need to deviate from their intrinsic desire for immediate and astounding resonance. Rather, they should reassess their objectives to ensure maximum impact.
Brand Salience Is The Ultimate Objective
B2B marketing isn’t inherently about creating demand. It’s about creating brand salience that drives sales when the time is right.
To achieve this critical outcome, marketing campaigns need to speak to the customer and provide interesting, insightful and usable content that’s memorable and worth their time and intellectual investment.
In other words, marketing content needs to be significantly less self-focused (developed to satiate internal teams) and more consumer-focused (built to serve potential consumers’ needs).
At the same time, marketing campaigns work best when aligned with sales team objectives and initiatives, making alignment a critical, if often overlooked, priority. Marketing doesn’t determine demand; customers do. That’s why, rather than trying to generate artificial interest, marketing campaigns should strive to achieve brand salience, the invaluable recognition that can create sales when the time is right.
Simply put, the ultimate objective of a B2B marketing campaign should be brand salience — ensuring that your company is top of mind when a potential lead is ready to make a buying decision. And since such a decision may not be made right away, effective B2B marketing can’t be measured exclusively by clicks and short-term leads.
Today’s Priorities Are Tomorrow’s Outcomes
If your company has big year-end marketing plans, it’s time to reassess your priorities to ensure that outcomes and timelines are realistic and purposeful. B2B marketing should make brands authoritative, memorable and prepared to receive new customers — but only when those customers are ready.
When it comes to highly effective marketing that pays real and long-lasting dividends, everything takes time, persistence and incessant follow-up. When you get this right, your marketing efforts can truly flourish.
This article first appeared in www.forbes.com/sites
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