Show up to play

b2b marketing and sand lot baseballI generally eschew sports analogies.  They are too trite for my tastes.  So with some trepidation, today I’m going to violate my own rule.

Often when I speak with B2B manufacturing companies about their revenue and growth trajectory I find them discouraged.  But as often noted here, they are almost always unsure what to do differently.  They tend to push harder on what used to work – cold calls, yellow pages and journal ads.  Oh yeah – then they add a ‘catalog’ type website into the mix.

But they never really show up to play.  Today’s game has moved from the neighborhood vacant lot or little league practice field to an irrigated, illuminated, concessionized stadium.  But even companies that are on the cutting edge of manufacturing process and research and development still hang around the empty lot looking for a game of pickup.

That’s the most common failure of B2B Sales & Marketing – the failure to even join the game according to today’s rules & norms.

“Run it out!”

My earliest memory of ‘coaching’ was when, still back in the empty field days, I grounded to second and stopped a few steps down the first base line.  You know what happened next – of course an errant throw to first.  But I was already well on my way to the collection of gear on the 3rd base line that was ‘the bench.’

In the none to gentle way of young boys, a number of my teammates offered their opinions on my failure to follow one of the first rules – to run the ball out.

And that’s the same mistake that most of the rest of the B2B manufacturers make.  Of those that start (show up to play) effective, modern B2B marketing, most quit running to first.

It takes patience and determination – and a willingness to accept baseball style odds.  Content marketing takes a long time, and a lot of failure (kind of like batting .250 and being thrilled to do so.)

Rand Fishkin (@RandFish) of recently discussed this issue in one of his Whiteboard Friday sessions.

Appealing to the manufacturing mindset

So you’ve got a long slog ahead of you….but there’s good news too.  The more value your product creates, and the more complex your sale is, the more potential inbound marketing has to really deliver for you.

And perhaps more importantly to process driven, analytical manufacturing types, inbound marketing offers real and measurable progress and results.  Gone are the days of marketing budgets based on absurdities like impressions.  Today you can graph it, chart it, measure it and manage it.

This is inbound marketing made to order for manufacturers.

image – todd snyder