Over the years, I’ve seen more bad marketing blow up great products or services than I care to actually count up.
What’s really depressing about this is that most of the products, services, or people that are being marketed have a lot of value to create in the market, but they never do a good job of expressing that value in a way that the audience they are trying to reach will take notice.
As I reflected on this recently, I realized that you can put these challenges into 3 buckets and if you are diligent about overcoming these 3 challenges, your marketing will go much further.
Let’s take a look:
To focused on you not the buyer:
I’ve written in any number of places about the idea that your strategy revolves around 3 simple questions:
- What’s the value we want to create for our market?
- Who can benefit and buy the value?
- How do we reach them?
Unfortunately, too many organizations are focused entirely on what they think should be important to the buyer and don’t spend nearly enough time on the value that they create.
I live in Washington, DC, and you will see that in statements like:
- “Applications designed to efficiently and smoothly collect, archive, display, transform, and process large structured and unstructured volumes of data.”
What does this even mean? Its pointless.
Here’s another one:
- “…the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for government contractors, professional services firms and other project-based businesses. For decades, we have delivered actionable insight that empowers our customers to unlock their business potential.”
Again, doesn’t really mean much.
Both examples are a lot of words and a lot of corporate buzz speak that really, truly should just be the minimum barrier to entry at this point in time. Because with the accumulation of web based tools and technical knowledge, efficiency and processing data isn’t a key differentiator. Nor is the idea of “actionable insight” because I have tons of insights, but if they don’t deliver results: what difference does it make.
To beat this back, you really have to begin focusing on the person on the other end.
If you are in the IT services field, what do you do that creates value for your customers? How do you make them money? How do you save them time? How do you make their businesses grow?
That’s where the focus needs to be, on them…not on you.
If I were going to rewrite one of the examples above:
I’d start by reframing the talking points to reflect how the collection of and processing of data more effectively helped the organization save time, make better insights, or take better actions and what that resulted in.
In the second example, I’d talk about how much improvement unlocking “potential” created in time, revenue, and profits.
Focus on where the client will be looking, not where you are looking.
Poor positioning in the market:
Everyone needs to be positioned in the market.
For too many B2B marketers, I see them trying to be everything to everyone. Unfortunately, that has never worked and is less likely to work going forward.
Your position in the market is vital to your success and/or your failure.
Poor positioning leaves people confused about what you are really up to.
In positioning your brand, you have two choices that you can make.
You can either go wide or deep.
By deep, I mean that you are really, really special and focused on one niche. Digging as deep and as much as you possibly can.
By wide, I mean that you have defined your focus and the area you dig into and you own that territory. Take me for example, if you talk to “The Revenue Architect” you kind of go in understanding that we are going to be talking about revenue.
Which is it going to be for you?
Are you going to pick a narrow topic and drill down and down and down?
Take for example my friend, Troy Kirby, he is known as the Tao of Sports. He digs deeply into everything sports related and is known as the go-to resource for sports sales and sports business topics.
Or, you could pick someone like Seth Godin. He is known as the go-to guy for marketing and entrepreneurship in the modern world. His work touches a number of different areas and organizations.
But make sure there is some specificity attached to it.
You can’t just be everything to everyone.
Not targeting the right people with the right message:
There are a lot of buzz words being thrown around right now:
On and on and on.
All of these words in some way mean, simply, opportunity generation.
The challenge for all of us with all of this noise in the world is figuring out how to target the right people with the right message at the right time.
This isn’t as easy as we all like to think it is either.
Often, we find ourselves only targeting the C suite. Or, a purchasing manager. Or, the person that will talk to us.
And, in that same vein, if we aren’t careful, what about the message that we are sending out.
Is it just general, wasteful, irrelevant messages?
Is it targeted to specific buyers?
Does it create value?
Is there a call to action?
On and on.
Here’s the thing. To make your marketing and opportunity-generating activities successful, you need to absolutely be focused on the right buyer with the right message.
This means that the article or blog post you write for a CEO is going to be a bit different than the piece that you might write for a VP of Marketing or Sales.
That’s cool too.
You want to make sure you are offering up ideas and solutions that are powerful to any number of stakeholders, but you want to offer those ideas up with consistency and focus. Or, you are going to get jammed up and find yourself failing.
In the end, if you can focus on the person on the other end of your efforts, get your offerings positioning right, and going after the right buyers with the right message, your marketing efforts are going to be much more successful. Guaranteed!
What other challenges have you seen in your own B2B marketing efforts?