The Big 4 (Reasons Why B2B Executives Call Us In)
Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of B2B clients across many industries.
We’ve seen and done it all – from providing complete marketing and rebranding services to smaller projects focused on a particular asset. Given this variety, you might think that the reasons why we get called in would vary just as much. They don’t. There are really only four scenarios that we encounter. These situations – which I call “The Big 4” – are critical moments in the life of a brand. These are the points when partnering with a B2B branding and marketing expert can significantly elevate your brand, improve customer perception, increase sales and propel the company to new levels of growth. If any of these Big 4 concerns sound familiar, now may be the time to consider changing your marketing strategy.
1. We’re Unhappy with Our Current Marketing Firm.
The challenge is understanding what makes a B2B truly “happy” or “unhappy” with their marketing firm. Though many factors contribute, this measure is usually driven by their most recent experience. You probably remember the baseball adage, “You’re only as good as your last time at bat.” The same is true in marketing and branding. If a marketing firm continuously innovates, hitting “home runs” for its client, that client remains happy, and the relationship continues. But once that firm misses the mark on a project or starts “striking out,” the customer becomes unhappy. This prompts the client to start looking elsewhere.
Specific situations that lead to an unhappy client include:
- The marketing firm is reactive rather than proactive. Simply stated, they’re not generating original thinking and creative ideas that align with the company’s goals and drive the business forward.
- The current firm has not invested enough time to fully understand all facets of the business and the industries it serves. This often occurs when a B2B company elects to work with a consumer-oriented (B2C) marketing firm. A B2C marketing firm lacks the understanding to properly market a B2B company. This is because their customers work in sectors that require specific industry knowledge.
- The customer feels there’s an overall lack of time and attention given to their account. A firm may have a great track record and reputation, but problems ensue if the client does not feel like a top priority. B2Bs want – and need – a responsive marketing partner that gets things done and aligns with their pace. No matter their budget or project scope, a customer should never feel that they are a “second-tier” client who has to wait their turn.
2. Forget about Quantity. We Need Quality Leads.
The “quantity versus quality” debate is of particular concern for B2B customers who need to grow their client base, and ultimately sales. Action does not equal progress. Unlike a consumer-centric business that casts a wide net, seeking as many leads as possible, successful B2Bs focus on finding fewer, quality leads. The reality is that busy B2B sales and marketing executives don’t have the business development time to pursue dead ends or cultivate prospects that aren’t ready to close a deal.
A B2B-focused marketing firm understands this, providing a targeted approach to quality lead generation. In other words, they will help clients find and focus on the games they can win, rather than trying to compete in every game.
3. Our Inside Marketing Team Does Not Have the Bandwidth for All of Our Marketing Needs.
B2Bs often start with a single internal marketing person. This sounds like a smart organizational move. Surely, having in-house staff execute the company’s marketing initiatives will produce high volumes of results-driven work. Not so fast. Over time, the department and marketing responsibilities grow, adding many organizational levels. While this appears to increase marketing capabilities and bandwidth, the time required to navigate this complex system significantly draws from the creative process.
As a result, marketing efforts may struggle, and projects stall or fail. Creativity is stifled, mainly because marketing is part of the “machine” responsible for sales and other essential operations. The team also lacks objectivity, making it difficult to maintain customer perspective.
This usually prompts the B2B to consider whether it still makes sense to keep marketing in-house. Sometimes companies start using creative agencies on an “ad hoc” basis. Unfortunately, these quick fixes do not solve the main issue: no internal creative process. The better solution is to find a B2B marketing firm that can help the in-house team return to its creative roots, while designing a marketing strategy that showcases the brand and supports the sales effort.
4. Our Brand Image is Holding Us Back.
Some B2B companies have an established brand, but consistently rank second or third to competitors. Despite longevity, capabilities and expertise, the brand has little visibility beyond its core customer base. The B2B is not viewed as a top choice or in any leadership capacity within their industry. Although there is some brand awareness, audience perception is neutral at best, and the brand is not helping the sales team succeed.
Clearly, a distinctive brand that makes a powerful impression is needed. Working with a B2B expert who excels at brand development can change this trajectory, creating a company that:
- Outpaces its Competitors
- Increases Market Share
- Successfully Launches New Products and Services
- Realizes Higher Margins
- Wows its Clients and Prospects
If you relate to any of The Big 4, you may be ready to partner with a marketing firm that specializes in B2B marketing and branding. The good news is that, whatever goals you may have, a knowledgeable firm can get your company on track to and avoid these problems altogether.
Remember: a well-designed and executed B2B marketing strategy has the potential to significantly elevate your reputation, improve customer perception, increase sales, all while growing your business – and elevating your brand.
Ready to begin implementing a marketing and branding strategy that works for your B2B? Give me a call and I’ll be happy to help you grow.