Research suggests that approximately 50 per cent of marketing spend in B2B is wasted on unsuccessful and wrongly targeted campaigns

Top four marketing mistakes that most B2Bs make

SEO and link building consultant, Gina Hutchings, shares the four key marketing mistakes that most B2Bs make, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

As consumers get more media savvy, outbound marketing is increasingly becoming littered with noise.

Traditional marketing methods are failing, and in turn those equipped with the right digital marketing super-powers are turning over a pretty penny.

Are you ready to make your budget work harder for a better ROI?

Check out Gina’s website here.

1. Bad data

A company database can be a huge asset – but only if it is relevant, current and includes all the details you need.

Your database is always evolving and never actually complete. Merging, purging and deduplication are maintenance tasks that should be done regularly. As well as this you need to ensure your data is as complete as possible. As a more tech savvy nation we are becoming less forgiving of email blunders such as an incorrect name or title.

A big mistake for many companies is to flood their database with irreverent mail shots and offers. Ensure you database is segmented, allowing you to target e-shots to the relevant contacts. Targeting offers can make contacts feel that you understand their needs and requirements and tuned in to their business.

A great example is in the marketing of 4x4s. The likes of Land Rover will target prospects based on age, location, practical requirements (transporting people / goods), occupation (farmer, construction), location (terrain) and average spend on a car.

Embrace your database, invest your time into it.

2. Not knowing your target audience

Do you know your target audience? Can you describe an ideal customer? Do you know what motivates them to make a purchase or get in touch? Without in depth understanding of your audience how will you gain their attention and ultimately their custom?

Split your audience into segments via location, age, sex, interests, dislikes, and so on. Use your database to gather this information and keep track. From this build targeted messages and content to appeal to each of your audience segments.

If you don’t allocate sufficient resource to do this you risk putting potential customers off because they’ll feel that your business’ products and services aren’t relevant to them.

To achieve better targeted messaging, it may be that you need to split-test. This is when content like a web page is designed to appeal to two markets and success is tracked. Perhaps a colour is changed on the ‘buy’ button or the images used on the page are different. Analyse which performs better with your target market. A common mistake is that companies stick to what they think works best and what they know and fail to try new tactics.

For example, a case study detailing a conversion rate variation test between colours of a buy button showed that click rates on “add to cart” for a premium watch retailer increased by 344 per cent simply by changing the buy button to a purple colour:

Don’t be afraid to shake up your marketing! The smallest change could yield massive results. 

2. Failing to track success

Marketing professionals understand the pressures of demonstrating ROI. Over time this has become easier and you can now track a campaign’s success from start to finish.

Most companies have a means of tracking visits to their websites, clicks on digital adverts and email success. We can see the size of our audience, the number who have engaged but do you know the stage each prospect is at in the sales funnel?

Research suggests that prospects need approximately nine touches (interactions) before they make a commitment to call, email or buy. Using specific technology you can track each and every one of your prospects on the route to purchase.

Technology that tracks phone calls, for example, demonstrates expert closed loop marketing. Simply add a small piece of code to your site to generate a unique telephone number for every web visitor , or perhaps print a unique telephone number on your offline marketing literature such as flyers, street advertising and even printed press.

This type of practice is known as website call tracking, or simply call tracking software. Applying it to your marketing enables you to track a prospect’s activity on your site up until they call you, as well as capturing information about your offline marketing which has previously been impossible to do.

The type of data you’ll collect will show which campaigns are actually generating enquiries and leading to conversions. And it’s a great way of reassessing spend to get the most ROI (return on investment). You might find that rather than spending a large proportion of your budget on a nationwide catalogue print, your PPC ads might be generating more leads and sales.

What’s more, call tracking helps you to evaluate what your customers are looking at in terms of content, and what they are interested in. This will help you to determine if your marketing channels can provide viable leads or just tyre-kickers.

Call tracking goes beyond targeting your perfect customers and straight to those ready to make a purchase and engage.

3. Underinvestment in Social Media

Social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is over ten years old but still marketers do not treat it as equal to other media in the marketing mix. Less than ten per cent of marketing spend is allocated to social media and although globally we are investing more in social tools. Our spend on social media; in comparison to other printed or digital media is nowhere near the same level.

Social media is a great tool for brand advocacy and building strong relations with your customers. It also allows you to learn so much more from your target audience. One common mistake is to spread your marketing too thinly over all the social media channels.

Concentrate on the media which represents your audience; perhaps your users are proficient tweeters or they may want to see demo videos on YouTube. Use consumer insights, like those collected from your call tracking software and analytics tools, to deliver relevant content (right channel, content, and messaging) to each segment you’re targeting.

A great example of using Social Media to raise a brand’s profile is the Old Spice campaign in 2010. After launching a series of online adverts via YouTube social activity went into a frenzy and sales of shower gel increased by 107 per cent. The campaign went viral and received over 103 million views far more than terrestrial television could capture.

The tips outlined are low cost but provide a great ROI for your marketing efforts. Use the tools available to you like technology for call tracking and social media to get the most from your marketing spend.

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