We all know the saying, “Don’t throw good money after bad.” Businesses live by the rule and are constantly challenging their expenses, looking for ways to cut costs and streamline processes. Business strategies and tactics can be far more ambiguous to diagnose.
Over the years, I’ve served as a consultant for thousands of marketing organizations, and my first objective is to always understand and challenge the status quo. We always start with the question, “What are we doing and why?”
As we explore the answers together, I’m listening for 3 key markers that indicate it’s time to reevaluate what we are doing.
1. Do we understand the target audience
2. Is our marketing tailored to this understanding?
3. Does the data support our assumptions?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it’s definitely time to make a change. I’ll unpack in detail here.
Do we understand the target audience?
So often, businesses assume the answer to this question is “yes.” Commonly, company leaders will share the types of businesses or roles they are targeting. However, the reality is that any B2B decision likely involves 6 different people in various parts of the organization, and all 6 of them will have different priorities and viewpoints. Truly identifying who these people are, why they are involved in the purchase decision, and how to target them with our marketing message is critical to success.
So ask yourself these questions:
“If I were sitting in a room at Company X, who else would be in the room as part of the discussion?”
“Why are they in the room?”
“What are we going to talk about?”
If these questions are difficult to answer, then we have found a critical gap in our marketing strategy.
(For more on target audiences: https://www.tacticalma.com/do-you-know-who-youre-talking-to/)
Is our marketing tailored to this understanding?
As we think about the marketing priorities uncovered with these questions, we equip ourselves to evaluate our B2B marketing content. Content assessment takes honesty and courage, a willingness to critique assets you have likely spent thousands of dollars creating. With each piece of content, be it a web page, ebook, whitepaper, blog post, landing page, or email, we are asking ourselves the following questions:
“Who is this asset intended for?”
“Based on who they are, will it resonate with their priorities?”
“What are they supposed to do after (or while) they read it?”
It’s extremely common to find gaps here. Most B2B marketing departments are so focused on building sales collateral they forget the fundamental core of marketing, “Right message, to the right person, at the right time.” We get ahead of ourselves in our own marketing funnels, and lead gen content gets replaced by sales enablement content.
If you know your buyer, but realize your content is off track, don’t think “rewrite,” think “revise.”
Little changes can have big impacts.
Does the data support our assumptions?
Many times, marketers have gone through these exercises, and are confident they have the buyer and the content right. Campaigns are launched and disappointing data is returned. What do we do?
Remember the rule, “Don’t throw good money after bad?” It applies to our time as well!
Disappointing data is always caused by one of two things. It’s either a tech failure or a messaging failure.
Tech is easier to assess than messaging, so the first actions should always be focused on technical evaluation. If these were web assets, were the URLs correct. If it’s paid, was it configured correctly? If its email, were deliverability and inbox factors considered (DKIM, SPF, IPs, domains)?
If we know the tech is right, then it’s the messaging. Marketers are not psychics, and there is no way to know how a campaign will perform ahead of time. By staying honest, we can look at each stage of the marketing funnel, each microtransaction in the process, and troubleshoot the breakdown.
Current psychology teaches us that it’s very difficult for humans to have this type of critical self-review on their own. If you are looking to conduct this type of exercise, it’s often very beneficial to have an outside party to help with the content or process assessment. If you have a marketing consultant or agency that you work with, this is a great time to bring them in.
If you don’t, well… I know a guy. Feel free to get in touch to discuss how Tactical can help.