A New Class is in Session: 7 Lessons Professors are not Teaching about B2B Marketing
With the advancement of Marketing Automation and Revenue Performance Management, B2B marketers are now being taken into a new world of marketing that relies on customer driven, interactive, and cutting-edge practices that your professor probably never mentioned to you in Marketing 101. In fact, if your marketing courses were anything like mine, your marketing professors largely overlooked the whole notion of B2B marketing, and simply focused on B2C.
If you have been in B2B marketing for a while the items below are likely just a summary of the work you are currently doing. But if you have recently been emerged into the world of B2B marketing because you have finished college (like me) these are 7 marketing lessons you may have missed out on:
- Create More Content: Customers are not responding as well to direct or traditional forms of marketing that appeal to their emotions. Using content can educate your customer about the product but also why they should have it. To make sure you are creating enough content, try creating content out of projects you already have like presentations, blog posts, or webinars.
- Be Social: Social media is growing and changing at top speed, and for some marketers, it can be hard to keep up. For now, evaluate your company and pick a short list of social networks that fits your target demographic. Using every new social network out there can be confusing and spread you too thin. Utilizing a few networks to the fullest is much more effective.
- Build a Community: On your company website, create a space for existing customers or prospects to express their opinions about your content, products, and company. At Marketo, we created a community on our website specifically for customers to express their successes and concerns. Encouraging customers to join the conversation, both creates a sense of connection, and leverages your best sales asset: customer testimonials.
- Segment it: When sending out marketing emails, use segmentation instead of just blasting out the same message to everyone. For example, if you have one piece of content you would like to send out, such as a demo or invitation to an event, craft three messages instead of one, each specifically targeting a segment such as sales, marketing, or executives. Tailoring your emails like this, has been proven time and time again to increase email marketing success.
- Be a Revenue focused Marketer: It’s no longer enough for marketers to only be good at messaging. With the invention of tools such as Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Analytics, marketers now have the power to take more control over the revenue process and predict dollars that will be generated from today’s campaigns quarters into the future. To become a revenue marketer you have to think like your friends over in sales. When dollars spent on marketing activities translate into revenue, those friends of yours in sales will thank you for it. Being a revenue marketer can also help you when convincing your CEO and CFO for a bigger marketing budget.
- Test and Analyze: With some companies, developing marketing campaigns may seem like throwing darts while blind folded. Marketers are executing campaigns over and over without taking the time to test them first, or analyze them after. Testing your marketing activities can be very scary, especially if they perform poorly. However, being able to evaluate your team’s campaigns will help in the long run. First, start by testing different emails, using A/B testing. This is a great exercise to get you warmed up. After awhile, make testing a habit, whether it is different landing pages, a new subject line in an email, or even a whole nurturing campaign itself. It will definitely help you in the future.
- Be the Best: It is very easy to say you are the leader, but it is more important to act like it. No matter how much of a marketing budget you have, make it a habit of implementing best practices that have proven to be effective. Analyzing existing benchmarks, forecasts, and marketing trends is a great way to measure and predict what marketing activities you want to adopt. Being knowledgeable about your competitors and the overall market will also give you that drive to create exciting and innovative campaigns based on time tested ideas.
All of this makes sense, right? But how do you learn what class didn’t teach? This is where blogs, webinars, and events come in handy. I use RSS feeds to keep track of what thought leaders are writing, have signed up to receive emails from B2B media companies like BtoB Online and DemandGen Report, and watch webinars put out by analyst firms and companies that sell products to B2B marketers. Finally, local meet-ups that I find online via LinkedIn Groups, through Twitter, or on Meetup.com have been a great way for me to learn about areas of marketing that my education didn’t cover.
That’s the end of my list, but class isn’t out just yet. There is always more to learn. What is a lesson you wish your college professors covered in your marketing classes?