B2B Digital Marketing’s Only Rule: There Are No Rules


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We often get asked about the right way to do certain things. ‘What needs to be included in a good email marketing campaign?’ or ‘what rules are there for creating blog posts?’ Of course we answer these questions based on best practice guidelines and our experience, but that’s not always the correct answer. There have been occasions where we have advised clients to follow a set structure and the results have ben disappointing. That’s a sad fact of life, not every idea will be a winner.

We’ve also found ourselves on the other end of that conversation. We regularly discuss the right way to explain a client product or service. Which inevitably leads to occasions where we have to tweak what we’ve written to meet the clients guidelines.

In each case, a set of ‘rules’ is laid down. ‘This must be done this way’, ‘that must be done that way’, etc. While this can be an effective way of communicating and identifying what’s ‘wrong’ it can also be a little limiting. And limits are something B2B digital marketing should always try to avoid.

In B2B Digital Marketing Everything Is Open To Interpretation

The problem really, is that there are no rules in digital marketing. There are plenty of best practices and guidelines that tell you which social networks and marketing channels you should use or which types of content are successful. Those guidelines are usually based on detailed research into cross-industry trends. They can ‘guide’ you on the best thing to do, (hence the name) but they aren’t always ‘right’.

Online trends are difficult to pin down; they vary by location, demographic, day of the week, wind direction and phases of the moon. I may have made one or two of those up, but there are a near-infinite number of variables that affect online activity. And both activity and statistics change on a daily basis. The only data that really matters is the online business analytics that comes from your market or, ideally, your website. Everything else is just (sometimes educated) guesswork.

Once you step into that online world, you are totally at the mercy of the client. Their activity and their needs are what should guide your every move. And the online client is often different from the clients you meet through other channels. Online, people are greedy. They don’t just want to find out about your business and your services, they want it presented in a way that pleases and makes sense to them. Of course, that’s just my opinion based on experience not a hard and fast rule.

Finding A Balance

And the same goes for how you communicate online. We often talk to clients about B2B blogging and how it differs from writing business documents. We tell them grammar is less important, links are vital and that users will expect a certain style from their blog. Meanwhile they will tell us that, while they understand those factors, there are minimum rules for every blog. Usually that leads to a happy medium. You can’t expect every blog to cover all aspects of a topic or to avoid the odd minor exclusion. But you can’t expect businesses to promote content that doesn’t fully reflect their message. Where that happy medium lies will depend on the users.

That’s the beauty of B2B digital marketing; it’s finding a balance between the needs of the online community and the priorities of the business. That challenge requires compromise, experimentation and the odd bit of guesswork. What it can do without is rules. Because no matter how stringently someone tells you what you should do, they might be wrong by tomorrow. Depending on how the winds blowing.

While there are no definitive rules in B2B digital markeitng strategy, it is worth asking a few questions. Read our 5 Marketing Strategy Questions to see where you might be going wrong.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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