If you could do your job more effectively, would you? Of course! So even if you pick up just a handful of these habits, you will be on your way to becoming a more effective B2B marketer, as well as better prepared for future career success.

First, what is a habit? ‘Habits’ can be defined as behaviors that are repeated on a regular basis to the point where they are almost involuntary. Usually this term is used to refer to things in a negative context: smoking, swearing, comfort eating, maxing your credit cards, biting your nails, road rage, reality TV, etc. But habits can (and should) be positive and constructive. And once these habits are formed (science shows it takes about 66 days!), they are hard to break.

What makes a marketer great?

Below are some must-have qualities.

1) Having clearly defined objectives

How can you execute a marketing strategy without knowing what you are working toward? First, identify what you want to achieve in the next 30 days, the next 6 months, and the next year. Then determine how you will measure success. Is it website traffic? Meetings? Sales lead quality? Social engagement? Revenue? Number of new customers? Conversion rates? SEO ranking? Subscriber growth?

2) Embracing an agile marketing plan

Technology and customer behavior can now change seemingly in the blink of an eye. A plan (and a clear understanding of your objectives) will help you develop short-term goals to hit those long-term objectives. A plan can also be used in forecasting, scheduling blog posts and content, and organizing. Together, the plan and objectives will help you to make informed decisions about which marketing activities to execute and when. Highly effective marketers will have agility to adjust their plan to adapt to constant changes and new trends to deliver the best customer experience.

In agile marketing, the following are core values:

  • Ability to respond to changes rather than strictly abiding by plans
  • Emphasis on data-driven decisions instead of opinion- and convention-based decisions
  • Rapid reactions rather than big-bang campaigns
  • Smaller studies instead of a few large experiments
  • Collaboration and regular stand-ups between teams colleagues

3) Understanding the target audience

Author Philip Kotler contends, “The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous; the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or services fits and sells itself.” On that note, who exactly is your audience? Use information such as demographics, geographics, and psychographics to develop personas. From there, consider the following questions:

  • What are your audience’s pain points and challenges?
  • What sorts of content and topics do they want? (Keep in mind that just as the selling space is always changing, so are the needs and expectations of your prospects and customers.)
  • What marketing channels do they prefer: email, social media, mobile messaging, web, direct mail, events?
  • How can you best help your audience? What problem are you solving, and how can you add value?

4) Knowing the competition

Continuously staying informed on your competitors is a crucial part of your business. A competitive analysis is your opportunity to take a deep dive into the market space and assess the competition. Answer these questions:

  • Who is your competition? What do they do? Where are they? Who are their customers?
  • What are the points of parity and points of differentiation between you and your competitors?
  • How do consumers perceive your brand and you competitor’s brand?
  • What is your unique value proposition?
  • What can you learn from the successes and mistakes of your competitors?

Again, because the market is in constant flux, continuously re-assess your competition. Together with the knowledge about your audience, this information should drive your branding, messaging, and product strategy.

5) Taking the time to do research

What are the hot topics in your industry? Look at Google Trends, social media trending topics, and popular blogs to see what conversations are being had. Explore Buzzsumo to analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. What are industry experts talking about? Let this information guide your content creation process, ensuring your collateral is relevant and meaningful.

6) Considering new ideas and embracing creativity

Doing the same thing all the time opens the doors for burnout. Maybe you are in a content creation rut, or you are exhausting yourself as you crank out thousands of words. Consider fresh topics, try different types of content, experiment with new marketing channels! Just because you are a B2B marketer, it doesn’t mean your marketing efforts have to be flat and dry. Be willing to think outside the box. Those ideas that lean more on the side of creativity will help break through the noise of content overload. Creativity lends itself to innovative thinking, effective problem solving, out-of-the-box ideas, and fresh strategies. Never stop learning, listening, and questioning. With the proliferation of digital marketing in today’s B2B marketing space, there’s no room for staying stagnant – ‘the way you’ve always done things’ just won’t cut it anymore.

7) Paying attention to detail

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. That is as true in life as it is in marketing. Paying attention to detail is important. Have you tested on multiple devices? You don’t want potential buyers or customers e-mailing you about a broken link, images or CTA.

8) Building customer relationships

It costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to sell additional services to an existing customer, stressing the importance of building and maintaining customer relationships. Relationship marketing forms a mutually beneficial relationship between the customer and the organization. For the customer, it’s less risky to do business with a familiar organization. For the company, loyal customers have a greater likelihood of future business, and satisfied customers will tell their friends about the positive experience.

9) Collaborating with both Sales and Marketing

Collaboration promotes trust and credibility, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from other teams and get their perspective to make your marketing campaign as successful as possible. Marketing and Sales teams should collaborate as much as possible, from acquiring and nurturing leads to closing them and driving customer success and advocacy. In other words, highly effective marketers will collaborate throughout the entire buyer’s journey.

10) Storytelling

Today’s buyers are aware they are constantly being marketed to, and many prefer to avoid the hard sell. They instead prefer to be educated, entertained and inspired. Highly effective marketers are good at storytelling, which makes their campaigns feel more genuine. It’s important to use emotional connections in storytelling to deliver value and make a lasting impact so buyers and customers won’t forget your brand. Good storytelling is highly effective in all types of marketing, from product marketing, demand generation to content marketing and everything in between.

11) Harnessing data and knowing your metrics and KPIs

Don’t underestimate the power of analytics. A recent CMO study reveals that 94% of CMOs believe “advanced analytics will play a significant role in helping them reach their goals,” yet 82% indicate that their companies are “under-prepared to capitalize on this data explosion.” These stats validate the importance of data for B2B marketers. Your marketing activities should be an ongoing cycle of testing, measuring, and improving. Look at what works and what doesn’t and then adjust your plan accordingly.

12) Using time and technology wisely

The use of technology can be a significant differentiator between effective and ineffective B2B marketers. But with thousands of tools available, how do you ever choose? A sales enablement tool can integrate with marketing automation, allowing marketing teams to bring the value of content marketing to sales. Highly effective markers use their time wisely. By utilizing a sales automation platform, marketers spend less time locating content and creating custom sales materials. Salespeople can discover and use winning marketing content for any given sales situation; and any prospect or customer engaging with that content can automatically be scored accordingly. As a result, marketers know the ROI of their marketing content and marketing campaigns. The analytics in a sales enablement tool offer insight into what content is most effective at progressing the deal and generates the highest ROI, helping sales reps provide the right content at the right time.