By Mark Choueke on 29th May 2019
So much of B2B marketing isn’t worth the money paid for it.
I’m talking unashamedly as cofounder of an agency that loves and exclusively produces B2B marketing and PR.
B2B marketing plans often focus purely on channels and tactics rather than story, mission or a strong, emotive stance on an issue.
This approach renders your marketing virtually invisible and means your brand – the very thing a marketer is there to protect and promote – is expressed in the blandest, colourless terms. You’re inviting customers to disregard you.
On the rare occasions empty tactics do manage to place your brand or product in the direct eye-line of your targets, without any kind of emotional hook or unifying story, your prospects are left with precious little to remember you by.
As a consequence, if you choose not to trouble yourself with identifying something you can talk to your market about with authority or humour – you’re choosing to rinse your budget while achieving nothing.
Ironically, marketers and CEOs that end up in this unhappy situation often believed they were being frugal when briefing their agency or designing their marketing strategies.
Yes, they probably began those processes with bold marketing outcomes in mind. Gradually though, the closer these marketers got to signing off on a new campaign, the more they forgot what they needed their marketing and PR to achieve.
Their perspective shrank; they ended up building marketing strategies around cost rather than outcomes, cutting investment to a point where their marketing programme felt relatively risk-free. Unfortunately, that’s often the point at which a marketing plan won’t achieve anything even vaguely useful.
Worse for an agency hell-bent on delivering impact, the client is by then often so bored by his or her own marketing plan that he or she stops caring about marketing altogether.
Progress meetings start getting postponed or missed; marketing tactics and activities become blurred as desperate demands from struggling sales teams get louder and more influential; updates with agencies become fixated upon stagnant spreadsheets and 'WIP' lists despised by everyone involved.
The goal is no longer business transformation as it was before; now it’s merely the watered-down case study or the chase for some PR coverage of "that blog".
This lack of ambition is troubling. If your marketing plan is little other than an ebook series, a thought leadership white paper and some webinars and you can't talk in a breathlessly excited voice about the story behind all that content and how it speaks uniquely to your brand - well you don’t have much. You’ve got some stuff that nobody, including yourself, gives a shit about.
So we got a crowd of B2B marketers together earlier this year to talk about an approach that’s been wildly successful for our clients called ‘Bravery as a Strategy’.
Bravery delivers visibility and volume and is a force multiplier for marketing success. There’s no scientific formula with which you can forecast the effects of being braver with your marketing – there’s only the Steve Jobs “connecting the dots looking backwards” quote to offer as encouragement until you’ve experienced the effects for yourself.
We invited ‘Be More Pirate’ author Sam Conniff Allende to speak to our audience about ignoring broken systems and rules and writing and creating their own.
Here are eight tips we've learned that can restore the 'lost' column on the spreadsheet that is (was) your 2019 marketing plan – the column that tracks impact and ROI.
Want a quick chat about how we might transform your marketing, PR or content strategy? Email us at: email@example.com