Do Not Enter SignThe hardest mistakes to avoid are the ones that don’t look like mistakes at all.

Last week we shared 5 B2B marketing mistakes that are hard to avoid, and asked for your contributions to complete the list.

Below are six more mistakes, including your contributions, that are deceptively easy to make in B2B marketing.

1. Assuming Your Audience is Just Like You

Mistake contributed by Dara Schulenberg and Traci Browne
They aren’t. Study your audience, talk to them, ask them questions, strive to understand them. Then test marketing that is created for your audience, not for you.

If you are a creative marketer working on a campaign to reach Linux developers, I would venture there is a very good chance that you won’t even like the creative and marketing ideas that end up working best!

This is why the most dangerous opinion in marketing is your opinion.

2. Not Starting From Your Revenue Strategy

Mistake contributed by Maureen Blandford
Sales needs leads in order to deliver revenue. So you focus on delivering leads and ensuring sales has what they need to close. Logical, right?

Wrong. Your marketing needs to be mapped against all revenue drivers in your business plan. How much of your revenue will come from renewals? How much will come from expanding current relationships? How do you expect revenue to map across key accounts, regions, sectors, etc? What does marketing need to do to ensure sales, account teams and other groups responsible for each revenue segment will deliver?

If you have expectations in your sales and revenue forecasts and your marketing isn’t being built to support those expectations, you are not supporting your business plan!

3. Focusing On The Mythical Decision Dictator

There is no solitary decision maker. In today’s enterprises, there are catalysts, influencers and buying processes. Today’s decision maker uses his or her authority as a veto, not a dictate.

Yes, the traditional decision maker is still influential, but focusing your efforts on a mythical decision dictator means you are ignoring the vast majority of the individuals involved in the ultimate decision.

4. Focusing on Your Competition

Start by focusing on your prospective customer. Once you understand your potential customers, look to understand the competitive environment.

If your competition is your primary focus, you will miss your best opportunities.

5. Following Best Practice Advice

Best practices reflect what everyone is already doing, not even just the leaders.

If you are a challenger, you can’t afford to follow best practices. You need to step beyond the standard practice and be unique. Even if your strategy is to be a fast follower, you can’t afford to wait for best practices. At that point even your average competitors are on board and you are way behind the curve.

6. Catering To The Average Prospect

Average is misleading. It makes you see your audience as a single undifferentiated monolithic block. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Getting to know your audience means understanding the distinct segments within your audience such that you can meet the needs of each segment.

I still believe Waiting For Your Cat To Bark is one of the best books on getting to know your audience in a way that is actionable in your marketing.

Your Turn

What other easy to make mistakes would you add to the list? Share yours in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Photo Credit: HPUPhotogStudent via Flickr cc