6 B2B Marketing Mistakes That Are Easy To Make

Do Not Enter SignThe hardest mistakes to avoid are the ones that don’t look like mistakes at all.

Last week we shared 5 B2B marketing mistakes that are hard to avoid, and asked for your contributions to complete the list.

Below are six more mistakes, including your contributions, that are deceptively easy to make in B2B marketing.

1. Assuming Your Audience is Just Like You

Mistake contributed by Dara Schulenberg and Traci Browne
They aren’t. Study your audience, talk to them, ask them questions, strive to understand them. Then test marketing that is created for your audience, not for you.

If you are a creative marketer working on a campaign to reach Linux developers, I would venture there is a very good chance that you won’t even like the creative and marketing ideas that end up working best!

This is why the most dangerous opinion in marketing is your opinion.

2. Not Starting From Your Revenue Strategy

Mistake contributed by Maureen Blandford
Sales needs leads in order to deliver revenue. So you focus on delivering leads and ensuring sales has what they need to close. Logical, right?

Wrong. Your marketing needs to be mapped against all revenue drivers in your business plan. How much of your revenue will come from renewals? How much will come from expanding current relationships? How do you expect revenue to map across key accounts, regions, sectors, etc? What does marketing need to do to ensure sales, account teams and other groups responsible for each revenue segment will deliver?

If you have expectations in your sales and revenue forecasts and your marketing isn’t being built to support those expectations, you are not supporting your business plan!

3. Focusing On The Mythical Decision Dictator

There is no solitary decision maker. In today’s enterprises, there are catalysts, influencers and buying processes. Today’s decision maker uses his or her authority as a veto, not a dictate.

Yes, the traditional decision maker is still influential, but focusing your efforts on a mythical decision dictator means you are ignoring the vast majority of the individuals involved in the ultimate decision.

4. Focusing on Your Competition

Start by focusing on your prospective customer. Once you understand your potential customers, look to understand the competitive environment.

If your competition is your primary focus, you will miss your best opportunities.

5. Following Best Practice Advice

Best practices reflect what everyone is already doing, not even just the leaders.

If you are a challenger, you can’t afford to follow best practices. You need to step beyond the standard practice and be unique. Even if your strategy is to be a fast follower, you can’t afford to wait for best practices. At that point even your average competitors are on board and you are way behind the curve.

6. Catering To The Average Prospect

Average is misleading. It makes you see your audience as a single undifferentiated monolithic block. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Getting to know your audience means understanding the distinct segments within your audience such that you can meet the needs of each segment.

I still believe Waiting For Your Cat To Bark is one of the best books on getting to know your audience in a way that is actionable in your marketing.

Your Turn

What other easy to make mistakes would you add to the list? Share yours in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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  • Very well written and upto the point……..

    Best practices make things perfect

  • Jason Ball

    Good list.

    One thing, while over-focusing on the competition can lead to missed opportunities, over the years I’ve seen too many companies simply ignoring the competition. In doing so, they tend to assume their products are unique and fail to spend the time differentiating themselves in the market. The result? They fall into a sea of sameness and can’t understand why their customers aren’t paying them any attention.

    One I’d add: the biggest mistake I see B2B companies make is assuming their customers care. For the most part, they don’t. There’s a common perception that customers spend all their time thinking about a new ERP system or logistics contract or toner refills. If these customers spend a fraction of their busy days thinking about any of these things, you’re lucky. So companies need to try to expand this time and ensure they are in the picture for the moments that count.

    • Jason, you’re addition is spot on! That’s part of why it is so important for marketers to get out of pushing product. Often, no one cares about your product or product category until they have a need. This is where I believe it is so important to select topics your market really does care about and become a meaningful contributor and part of the conversation around those topics.

      Thanks for the great addition!

  • Most importantly, at what cost? If only teams would have a deeper understanding that this kind of stuff leads to a significant leaks in the bottom line.

    • What do these mistakes cost a business, in lost opportunity? Yeah, it hurts to just think about it. Nevermind the lost overarching economic efficiency from buyers purchasing the wrong solution.

      Thanks Maureen!

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