I have a confession to make. I love talking with B2B marketers and clients, but there is one question I get occasionally that really makes me crazy. (And you will hear an earful if you are unfortunate enough to ask it.)
“Laura, which B2B marketing tactic works the best?”
And I’m thinking, “Do I look like the Lone Ranger?”
(Silver bullets? Get it?)
To be fair, when marketers ask me "What works best?" I don’t really think they are looking for a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem. Most just want to validate their current choices and ensure they haven't overlooked other viable approaches. But when 87% of B2B marketers say they struggle to develop compelling content, no amount of messing around with the mix will create a significant improvement in results.
Last week I provided the first of five guiding principles for technology marketers, based on over 100,000 tech buyer interviews and countless client interactions. Now it’s time for the second guiding principle.
Guiding Principle Number Two: Marketing Vehicles
Forrester tracks the relative importance of 38 different marketing vehicles across awareness, consideration, and purchase (i.e., email, tradeshows, search, display ads, etc. I’ve included a picture of these 38 vehicles below.) It’s the tech marketer’s job, and a difficult one at that, to decide how many are actually necessary. That’s where the second guiding principle comes in: On average, 7.6 of these 38 marketing vehicles are used by a technology buyer/influencer. For example, an IT manager who is evaluating a new technology purchase will use between seven and eight different sources as he/she becomes aware of the solution, considers the solution, and makes/influences a purchase decision. Similarly, a line-of-business professional involved in the same purchase will also use between seven and eight sources. Since these two individuals are involved in the same purchasing decision, the sophisticated marketer should also look to determine which vehicles (sources) are shared, thus providing an opportunity for reuse and bridging the two influencers together.
Reviewing this year's survey results I was surprised that, while B2B marketers experimented enthusiastically with social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn) and microblogging (Twitter), social media have yet to create budgetary or business impacts on the marketing mix. (Note: this research looks at firms of 50 employees or more only. The data set includes results from smaller firms as well. Tim Harmon will likely publish on this data.) In fact, most digital media fair equally, and unremarkably, poorly on the list of "what works?" in the marketing mix.