5 B2B Marketing Mistakes That Are Hard To Avoid

Marketing Mistakes: But it looked like a good decision!The hardest mistakes to avoid are the ones that initially look like the right decision.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes you can see them coming, other times you only see them in hindsight unless you already know what to look for.

What mistakes should you see coming? Here are five mistakes that often don’t look like mistakes until after all is said and done, pulling from my own (regrettable) experiences.

1. Chasing Random Acts of Marketing

It should be easy to avoid a random act of marketing but it is extremely difficult to pass up a great marketing opportunity. Sometimes telling the difference is hard.

Here is an easy litmus test you can use.

  1. Will this improve other elements of your marketing?
  2. Do other ongoing marketing activities improve this specific opportunity?

If you can’t answer yes to both questions, it’s clearly a random act of marketing, not part of your integrated plan.

2. Focusing on Your Campaign Idea Over Your Customer

You know not to use your own internal corporate speak in your marketing, make certain you don’t make up a new marketing language either.

You see this when creative taglines or campaign ideas become core to your marketing program, leaving your audience scratching their head to figure out what you are trying to say (or more likely, just ignoring you).

Yes, your campaign idea is excellent, but it was meant to be a way to connect you with your audience. It was never the reason to connect with them.

3. Trying to Control Your Customer

As marketers, we have all heard how more jam options actually decreased jam sales. However, the popular study didn’t investigate giving people just one, take it or leave it, choice!

As consumers, having choices is one of our subliminal trust cues. As marketers, we need to give our prospects choices. We can shape the experience but they must be in control.

How do you provide choice? Always provide more than one option; don’t make the only alternative “No.” This applies to emails, landing pages, links within your content and more.

4. Catering to a Vocal Minority

Do you listen to feedback? Do you incorporate feedback into your marketing and your product?

Hopefully, the answer is yes. But what are you doing to ensure that feedback represents the needs of your entire audience, not just the most vocal minority?

5. Just Doing What You Know Works

The business environment, buyer behavior and competitive landscapes are changing rapidly. Business is more competitive and the bar for “good enough” keeps rising.

If you’re marketing is not continuing to evolve, if you are still comfortable relying on your traditional marketing practices, you are slowly falling farther and farther behind.

Your Turn

That’s the first five on my list. What’s on your list? Share the top mistakes you see B2B marketers making today in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake). I’ll roll up additions from you along with the rest of my list in a post next week!

Update: Six more B2B marketing mistakes, including your additions.

Photo credit: zenera via Flickr cc

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  • Great article. Nice common sense…which, unfortunately is not so common. I tried dealing with the problem from another angle: htttp://www.colemanmgt.com/the-law-of-unintended-consequences/

  • I would add talking to customers/potential customers. And not focus groups…actual conversations with the people you are trying to sell to. I think marketers get caught up in what THEY think customers want to hear instead of actually taking the time to find out. My head explodes every time I see marketers leave trade shows after the first hour or two the show is open. There are thousands of their “target market” wandering around in one big room…it’s a gold mine people!

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