For BtoB companies, marketing is an underperforming cost center. Not that it is the marketing teams fault, rather they are making the best of a tough situation. In consumer marketing, brand awareness and product reputation can go a long way in generating sales. In BtoB, the channels to reach buyers are increasingly becoming choked with noise. We built this chart to explain what we are seeing in the world of BtoB marketing:
Add to the challenge of the noise, think about the inherent variables related to introducing new business technologies. Most companies in the BtoB world face these challenges:
- Large market ecosystem
- Complex sale / education
- Solution is customized based upon use cases
- Strategic “committee” decision
- Market is segmented based upon scenarios
- 80% of market uneducated on solution offering / value
So, it is no wonder that marketing struggles to reach the majority of the market. Business development is your customization engine for the market. Marketing is then reduced to broad brand and solution awareness. That works well when you have a new innovative channel to reach buyers, but when the novelty of the channel wears off, so does the attention. Then on to the next channel, etc. I know as I have lived this cycle for much of the last 20 years.
What different? In short – social media. But, not in the way that marketers are using it today. As a broadcast channel, it is becoming saturated just like every other channel. Shiny penny uniqueness is wearing off. As an insight channel into buyer behavior, it is really starting to hit its stride.
As a platform for filtering market noise and aiding in streamlining a buyer’s purchase process, creating marketplaces, and allowing vendors to streamline their behavioral targeting; well, I think we are just seeing the beginnings of something wonderful. As a buyer, it can’t come soon enough.
As a marketer, I am seeing the value today. We are living it now. I see the value in the process of aiding a buyer’s decision process. I also see a path to a hard ROI whereby we can drive direct revenue results from using social media as the beginning of a targeting process, not the end.
It is not a holy grail of marketing. It is actually much harder than traditional marketing. But, like in the early days of the web, those who understood the medium and adjusted their approach to live in that medium fully, they reaped the return. I, for one, do not miss the boom and bust cycles of marketing. I would rather have boring, staid, predictable, and consistency.
I joke while others are creative, we are merely methodical. Who knew that marketing would actually be following our example.