Rather than my usual practice of writing some in-depth content about a specific subject area, I thought I would share some quick thoughts on some important subjects related to B2B marketing and sales. Sometimes there's just too much going on for a single-topic post!
A guy named John Wanamaker, who was a pioneer of advertising in the early part of the 20th century, made the famous observation, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." Too many modern B2B marketers are operating under the same constraints, and this is a shame because of the many ways we now have to monitor (and improve) performance.
Growth in Technology
On a related subject, I just read an article about how Ashu Garg, a VC with Foundation Capital, is predicting a 10x growth in the market for marketing technology in the next 10 years. I'm usually skeptical about such wildly optimistic predictions, so I looked up Ashu's background. He is the real deal, with an impressive career spanning technology, marketing and finance. Ashu backs up his claim with data and credible observations. And regardless of whether you agree with Ashu's conclusions, the article and related eBook are worth reading. You can get both here.
Always Be Testing
As applied to marketing, the principle of not putting all your eggs in one basket means that you shouldn't take for granted that what is working today will continue to work tomorrow. Even if you are getting great results, continue to slice off a small part of your budget to test new media and methods. As an example, we had a client that was blissfully generating quality leads for their enterprise software (average sales price over $100K) at a cost of under $100 each. Because of new competition, the CPL jumped to over $160. Fortunately, we had been testing several new media, including other pay-per-click and pay-per-lead sources, and were able to quickly bring the CPL down to an acceptable range.
The Best Gurus Can't Predict Test Results
Speaking of testing, I was just on a webcast about landing page conversions with noted copywriter Bob Bly. Bob is as good as it gets when it comes to driving response, whether for lead generation or direct sales. At several points, he showed examples of how he had done multivariate or A/B testing on items such as headlines, layout, colors and other factors. Bob was gracious enough to admit that he was not always right when it came to predicting the winner. When you think about it, if he (or any of us) was always correct, why test at all? It's no coincidence that the best B2B marketers are the ones who test the most.
Don't Do It for the Money
I hope you are in a position to make your career about more than money. I have had a very interesting and fulfilling career in B2B marketing, but there are a few career inflection points that I would have handled differently - mostly in the area where I opted for more money instead of job satisfaction. Most often, if you are in a career that you love and are good at, plenty of money will follow. And if you happen to be a starving artist type and are enthralled with what you do every day despite the lack of remuneration, you may be happier than the person with a large bank account who hates his or her job. The point is, you don't want to be a "Thank God it's Friday" type. Instead, when you enjoy your work you can say Happy Monday, Happy Wednesday and Happy Friday.
Enthusiasm Is Good, But Not Too Much
Enthusiasm is a big accelerator in marketing and sales success. You can tell when someone really appreciates their product or service. But the caveat is that some marketers and sales people can be over the top when it comes to enthusiasm (have you ever attended a time share sales pitch?). Of course it is important for you to promote your products or services with confidence, but the fact is, every one of your features is not superior to every other product on the market. Such over-the-top claims can scare prospects and rapidly diminish your credibility.
Happy to hear your thoughts about these subjects.