Those of us responsible for designing and executing marketing campaigns for a living know that the pristine, glossy world of marketing as portrayed in analyst reports and vendor case studies doesn’t always align with the authentic (sometimes ugly) day-to-day challenges.
As Spear’s Jon Emminizer wrote earlier this month on LinkedIn, there are few absolute truths in marketing, no matter what you read in white papers and on social media (this blog being no exception.) Reproduced with permission, here’s Jon’s take on the B2B marketing realities that will ring most familiar to those of us “in the trenches.” (Follow Jon on LinkedIn for more great tips on demand gen and B2B.)
1. Everyone aspires to be data-driven, but data is backward-looking and you have to make choices facing forward. Learn what you can from the data, but recognize market conditions are always changing and the ground is often shifting under your feet.
2. Marketing decisions are often dictated or indirectly forced based on internal organizational pressures, by people who aren’t even directly involved with marketing. Navigating internal org challenges is an under-appreciated pillar of great marketing.
3. Great marketing requires taking risks. Great marketing happens with one foot in the known and one foot in the unknown. One foot in order, the other in chaos. To leave mediocrity behind necessitates leaving the comfort zone behind.
4. You might know what actions leads are taking, but you usually don’t know why they are taking them. Someone with real buying intent might download an ebook, someone else might fill out the demo request form only because they need to check a procurement box and they’ve already decided on a competitor.
5. There’s often a herd mentality where everyone (or most everyone) tries to adopt the trendiest new tactic or ‘playbook’. This is problematic because, once everyone starts doing it, it’s no longer a differentiator (except for those executing with noticeably higher quality).
6. Budget and resource constraints are painful, but they often breed creativity and apply the pressure under which marketing greatness is forged.
7. Most people don’t trust the claims they see in marketing materials. Yet marketers often write messaging with the assumption that there’s a foundation of trust, when, really, they should assume there’s a mindset of skepticism.
8. It often doesn’t take a ton of touches to engage decision makers if your messaging is sharp. Prospecting with mediocre messaging is like cutting a tree down with a hammer.
9. It’s trendy to oversimplify marketing (marketing = one simple thing, etc.), but that’s detached from reality. Marketing is comprised of dozens of hard skills and soft skills, art and science.
10. You can do a perfect job at marketing, but if the sales team drops the ball, success is largely taken out of your hands. As much as it feels good to say “Success is completely in your control”, that’s only partially true.
11. (Bonus!) Each member of your target audience is a unique individual with a unique context. Yes, you can learn from averages, patterns, and trends, but aggregated data rarely represents the individual with precision.