Struggling with B2B Marketing? Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong

B2B marketing report from the Content Marketing Institute reveals something quite worrying about the state of many businesses today – a whopping 59% of B2B organisations don’t have a clear idea as to what successful content marketing looks like.

41% of B2B marketers say they know what a successful content marketing campaign looks like.

(Image source: contentmarketinginstitute.com)

And that’s not all. Of equal concern for any inbound marketing agency worth its salt is the revelation that 37% of the B2B marketing professionals interviewed said that their organisation was only “somewhat committed”, “not very committed” or “not committed at all” to content marketing.

commitment to content marketing

True, just over two-thirds (67%) of B2B marketers stated that their organisation was either “very” or “extremely” committed to content marketing. But this is 2017, and that figure really should be much closer to 100% by now.

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Why Organisations Struggle with B2B Marketing

B2B marketing is not always an easy thing to get to grips with in today’s world. B2C has embraced inbound marketing in no uncertain terms – none of us can fire up the internet these days without being bombarded from all angles by all sorts of content offers from consumer brands.

B2B is catching up, but there’s still a fair way to travel for a lot of companies, particularly when it comes to refining strategies and driving positive results.

There are a couple more statistics from the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B marketing report that we want to draw your attention to. First is the fact that a massive 88% of B2B marketers agreed with the following statement: “Content marketing is an important component of our organization’s program.”

88% of B2B marketers believe that content marketing is an important component of their company's marketing.

As an inbound marketing agency, we find that relieving – even if commitment is somewhat lower than what it should be.

The second is a graph showing some of the precise factors B2B marketing teams struggle with – factors that indeed have led to a decrease in marketing success.

B2B marketers want to spend more time on content marketing.

Time. Content creation. Management. Strategy. Commitment. Budget.

Those are the top six factors that organisations have stated that they are struggling with from a B2B marketing perspective.

You may indeed find that your organisation is having difficulty with the same things. However, as an inbound marketing agency, we know that B2B marketing struggles are often caused by more specific factors that perhaps serve to amplify what the Content Marketing Institute has flagged up here.

We don’t want you to make those same mistakes. So today we’re sticking a big bright flag in three of the most common ones, so you know what to avoid.

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3 B2B Marketing Blunders to Avoid

1. Not Using Inbound Marketing Personas

What’s an inbound marketing persona?

Quite simply a semi-fictionalised representation of your ideal customer.

Inbound marketing personas help you identify exactly who it is all of your B2B marketing efforts will be aimed at.

In the B2B realm, you will have developed a highly-specialised solution to solve a highly-specific problem for a very particular type of business. However, when you engage in B2B marketing, it’s not the business itself that you’re trying to attract the attention of, but rather the real-life people who work at that business and have buying power.

Creating inbound marketing personas helps you identify precisely who those people are, and from there you can start creating content that will catch their attention.

Far too many B2B marketing teams make the mistake of forgoing inbound marketing personas – to their peril.

Here’s a great little infographic you can use to start creating your personas today, and read our previous post ‘How to Develop Inbound Marketing Personas’ to learn more.  

 Effective B2B marketing requires personas.  

(Image source: luismaram.com)

2. Focussing on the Wrong Platforms

It’s important for all organisations today to build a robust presence on social media. However, not all platforms are created equal, and there’s very little point in piling resources into Facebook marketing when the majority of your prospects are more likely to be found on Twitter.

All B2B marketing efforts need to be focussed on generating the highest returns possible. If you’ve spent some time formulating strong inbound marketing personas, then you should know whether it’s on LinkedIn, Instagram or anywhere else that these returns are likely to be made.

A good rule of thumb is to not spread yourself too thinly. Although it may appear desirable to have a presence everywhere from Pinterest to Reddit, focussing on just one or two high-performing platforms makes much more sense than spreading out over seven or eight, many of which will generate nothing no matter how long you stick at it.

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3. Your Strategy Doesn’t Move Prospects Along the Path to Purchase

We’ve seen that 59% of B2B organisations don’t know what successful B2B marketing looks like. So let’s elucidate the issue.

Successful B2B marketing means attracting strangers to your website, converting those visitors into leads, those leads into customers, and those customers into returning customers.

 inbound-marketing-closes-more-leads-and-sales

(Image source: hubspot.com)

As you can see from the infographic above, different types of content are used at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

A content strategy specifically designed to move prospects along the path to purchase is what successful B2B marketing looks like (provided it works, of course – but refining and optimising the strategy over time is all part of the process).

When B2B marketers don’t have a clearly defined strategy, they can often mistake engagement – such as a high number of social shares of a blog post, for instance – for “success”, and then scratch their heads wondering why more sales aren’t being made.

See our previous post to find out ‘How to Use Content to Move Leads Through Your Sales Funnel’.

Back to You

These are just three of the most common B2B marketing mistakes that we see a lot of as an inbound marketing agency. Others include optimising the wrong metrics, trouble with marketing automation, poor customer retention strategies, failure to use personalisation, and many more besides.

We don’t want you to make those mistakes, so if you need help with your B2B marketing tactics, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the inbound marketing experts here at Incisive Edge today.