3 New Year’s Resolutions for B2B Marketers

As B2B marketing organizations embark upon another year, it is time where we can reset our expectations, establish new goals, put in place new practices and take another step in making marketing a strategic growth engine within our organizations. As we begin the year, there are a few New Year’s resolutions that I hope every B2B marketer will adopt for better results in 2016.

shutterstock_357108575Resolution #1 – Stop Creating More Content
I have written about this before, but believe it needs to be taken to heart for every B2B marketer. More and more organizations are increasing their spend on content marketing, but only 30% can demonstrate the ROI from this spend according to the recent Content Marketing Institute Benchmark Study.

If marketing is going to be a strategic part of any business, this trend cannot continue. Rather than just create more content, B2B marketers need to develop more strategic and relevant content that aligns to their buyers, speaks to their pain points and challenges and addresses each buyer that is part of the buying committee.

According to CEB, there are more than five people in a typical buying committee. So simply cranking out content in an assembly-line  fashion is not going to drive better results. This year, resolve to make the change that is much-needed it may mean less content, but it will be better, more relevant content.

Resolution #2 – Get To Know Your Buyers
In speaking with a marketing director at a recent conference, a he was telling me about the work they had done to create buyer personas. Like many organizations to develop the personas they held an internal workshop with marketing, sales and some other internal departments to detail the characteristics of each of their key buyers.

While interviewing internal stakeholders as a way to tap into their knowledge about buyers is a good step in developing buyer insights, it cannot be the only step. However, many organizations use this approach, and in so doing, miss gaining a complete view of their buyers.

In order to gain true insights into their buyers, B2B marketers need to go beyond the internal-only view and speak directly to their buyers. Ask them who is involved with their purchases, the steps they take to purchase, what events pushed them into a purchase process, what are their unique pain points and challenges? The answers to these questions will provide incredible insights that internal company resources, no matter how well they might know the customer, cannot provide.

Additionally, conducting research to understand potential market trends and influencing events that may impact a purchase will provide another level of knowledge that can be applied to understanding buyers and how they purchase.

Taking a full view into your buyers and their approach to a purchase is essential and will provide better intelligence for content development. In 2016, resolve to gain better buyer insights, and as a result, create better content (see Resolution #1).

Resolution #3 – Determine to Make Necessary Changes to Ensure Success
Over the last number of years I have met with numerous chief marketing officers and vice presidents of marketing who are looking to improve their approach to marketing and more specifically, their demand generation. Words like change, transformation and an need to drive better results are common in these conversations. However, when the discussion turns to the solution of change management, of needing to revise old processes and establish new ones and implementing new strategies, the conversation often dies. There are a variety of reasons for this, but most common are the time it takes to drive this type of change, the work needed to transform an organization and the discomfort that change management can cause.

However, as B2B buyers become more sophisticated and their needs more complex, the need for change will only become more apparent and necessary. While many organizations are making incremental changes in an attempt to improve their results, the commitment to truly change and transform seems to fall short. It is full-scale transformation that is generally needed to truly succeed to have marketing begin to drive revenue.

As we head into the New Year, make concrete resolutions that will enable marketing to have a greater impact on the business than the year before. Resolve to be a change agent and do the things that are necessary to adapt to the ever-changing world of the B2B buyer.

Author: Carlos Hidalgo @cahidalgo is CEO/Principal of ANNUITAS