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Tuesday 2¢: The ART of B2B Marketing

Tuesday 2¢: The ART of B2B Marketing

Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week, Ian Truscott introduces us to a more simplistic way of preparing your marketing strategy for 2018.


I don’t know about you, but at this time of year many marketers (including me) are planning for 2018 (certainly if you work for a well organized German company like I do!). Some of you will be juggling a marketing wish list, considering which ball (or flaming baton) needs to be dropped.

In this article, I’d like to make a suggestion to help this decision making process along. As I’ve shared in this series of articles , folks seem to want to make marketing sound complicated, we put all sorts of words in front of the word “marketing”, such as digital, social, content or agile, as well as creating complex metrics, silos and working practices to go with them. Sprinkle in the vested interests of those around us and these decisions can soon become a little foggy.

In addition, we marketers today have all the metrics, dashboards, data points we could ever want at our fingertips – there are lakes, pools and oceans of the stuff. It’s easy to swan dive in, to indulge our inner data geek and bath in it until we are wrinkled. But I propose some simpler criteria for B2B marketing: ART – Awareness, Revenue and Trust.

  • Awareness - It sounds old school I know, along the lines of all super bowl ads, billboards, advertising and media packages, but of course your marketing needs to spread your reach or deepen your engagement with your audience.

  • Revenue - As a consultant, I was always encouraging marketers to tie their own metrics into those of the business, particularly those of the C suite. It’s really easy to get carried away with vanity metrics, like web hits and social mentions, and then let this dictate and drive your marketing behavior and content strategy. But the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. It’s important in the consideration of marketing investment, that any marketing activity can be tied to the business objective, that those lovely vanity metrics can be attributed to business value.

  • Trust - Both revenue and awareness are built on trust. If you are trusted, you’ll build a loyal tribe of advocates who will share your good news and of course, people buy from those who they trust. Which is, of course, why software salesmen have complained for decades about the guys from the big vendor who sell PowerPoint not product and where the often-heard lament of “nobody got fired for buying (insert dominant player du-jour here)” comes from. It’s about trust.

Also, trust could be what keeps your marketing human, what stops you from doing silly and cheap instant results crap, and instead makes you think about the long term, the audience experience, and about being useful to your audience – something which we talk about a lot in content marketing.

My suggestion is that everything you are planning for 2018 needs to encompass these three objectives. Depending on the activity, some things will lean more toward one objective or the other, but it’s critical that everything is evaluated against these three goals and contributes to them.

Of course, when making it simple, it all seems a bit bloody obvious and maybe terribly basic, but sometimes it does you good to stop overthinking, clean the whiteboard and pare it back down to some easily defendable criteria.

Whether an executive wants you to create a Pinterest page or attend a big vanity event, you want to invest in a video series or someone wonders why you don’t follow them around on Facebook with re-marketing (scratch that, nobody wonders that), whatever it is, you can point to ART and ensure that it’s the right bet for your limited marketing chips.

It could be that you’re a new business and awareness is going to form the bias of your marketing, but whatever marketing strategy you are going to follow it’s a good idea to consider future revenue and the trust of your brand before you sponsor a streaker to interrupt a sports match, or you get sued by the Vatican, or suggest that you spike your co-worker’s eggnog (you can read about the last two here on the BBC News website). Yes, awareness may go through the roof, but what about the other criteria?

And these criteria are not just for now, for deciding what’s in and what’s out on your business' wish list, but should also form the basis for your metrics so that you can then track against that decision.

Simple, or maybe slightly simplistic, but I’d be delighted to hear from you (or comment below) if you think these three objectives can’t be applied to your B2B marketing, or indeed if you have any other thoughts on the topic.

Let’s create some ART for 2018.

Ian Truscott Ian Truscott

Ian Truscott has the unofficial and honory title of the “Träger des Firmen-Megaphons” for censhare, bringing 20 years of B2B software experience to our company (surely starting as a child) to lead marketing here. Luckily for us in the Munich office, he’s found the kettle and some tea bags – look at him, he’s happy.

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