Ever feel like your B2B marketing results are headed for disaster? One of the best ways to avoid failure is to learn from those who have already made a gazillion mistakes but have lived to tell the tale. As a freelance writer and B2B marketing strategist, I enjoy taking a break from my regular routine to find out what’s new in the world of digital and content marketing. So, last week I spent the day at the Toronto stop on the Unbounce North American Conversion Road Trip tour.
I was especially inspired by April Dunford‘s presentation entitled “Marketing Strategy Hacks: What to do when all your marketing results are complete crap.” I completely identified with her explanation that sometimes the strategies and tactics that you develop just don’t pay off. And it can be extremely frustrating if you’ve seen those same strategies work out with other companies or clients that you’ve worked with in the past. So, it was refreshing to hear her recommendations on what to investigate first when you discover that your results are tanking, despite your best efforts. I’ve provided a summary of her tips below. Enjoy!
Dunford suggests that there are two ways to hack your marketing strategy when things go sideways:
1) The easy way is to look at your target “buyers”
2) A more advanced approach is to look at your market
1. Have you been targeting the wrong customers all along?
Dunford told the audience that she once had a huge ephiphany when investigating why her hyper-optimized and targeted B2B marketing campaigns just weren’t working. She decided to look at every channel to figure out where things had gone wrong.
One day, she spent a morning with the inside sales team and discovered that one of the sales reps was calling prospects and asking to speak with the head of sales, rather than the Chief Information Officer (CIO) – who they thought were the ideal customers for purchasing CRM software. She soon found out that Sales executives were far more interested in learning more about the product that the CIOs they had been targeting. It was at that moment that she realized her team had been spending millions of dollars to reach the wrong buyer. That revelation helped to get her team’s campaigns back on track and convert more leads into customers.
2. Your target market will change over time
Dunford explained that marketers can expect your target market to shift as the market shifts.
In order to determine your ideal target market and positioning, she recommends that businesses consider the following:
1. Who does your value proposition resonate with the most?
2. Who is the easiest target market to reach?
3. Who influences the purchase the most? In some cases, this person is the better target – even if they are not the end-buyer.
4. Are your competitors underserving an untapped market?
To demonstrate that sometimes businesses simply target the wrong market, Dunford showed a photo of a sandwich board outside of the restaurant“Eggspectation” in Toronto which read “Try our burgers.” She pointed out the irony of the sign and the fact that if she wanted a burger, there are lots of burger joints in the city. She said she’d never “eggspect” a burger at a restaurant that specializes in making eggs. Cue the laugh track ;)
How to test your market positioning
1. To determine if your prospects “get what you do,” Dunford suggests to test if your messaging sets you apart versus a similar but competitive product.
2. Concerned that your value proposition is week? Dunford recommends to conduct interviews or surveys to ask your customers why they love your product? You can then compare their answers against your current messaging. If it’s way off, then you can make tweaks to tell the right story.
3. To avoid the dreadful “me too” messaging/product trap, you can interview prospects and current customers to ask them what sets you apart from competitors. Dunford was once told by a prospect (whom she was pitching) that her database software was more of a “data warehouse.” This helped her company to re-position their product in a much less competitive market.
4. Finally, if you’re concerned that your competitors are eating your lunch, you can interview/survey your customers post-purchase to find out why they bought from you. Perhaps there is a different market that would be more likely to buy from you based on their answers.
Do you have a tip to help save sinking B2B marketing campaigns? Please share in the comments section below.
Image: By USN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons