blog post | marketing

The top five mistakes B2B marketers make

Are you a B2B marketer wondering why your marketing efforts are falling short? If you’re B2B like us, you know how quickly the landscape is evolving and changing.

In this article, we reveal the top 5 B2B marketing mistakes and what you can do to course-correct.

(Note: These insights come from Drew Neisser, a 40+ year veteran of the B2B brand marketing world. You can listen to episode 22 of our podcast to get his full take on the “State of the Union” of B2B marketing for 2022 and beyond.)

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Mistake #1: The peanut butter effect

B2B marketers are trying to do too much. Too many targeted personas, too many channels, too many messages. They believe this micro-messaging will work, but research shows it’s doing the opposite. 

“Our research shows that only 40% of CMOs can describe their brand in eight words or less,” Neisser says. The trick to fighting the peanut butter effect is to tell a simple story 18 different ways to your customers, prospects, and employees. 

Mistake #2: Backwards targets

When it comes to targets, most marketers think of prospects, customers, and employees in that order when they should be thinking the opposite. Make your employees your number one target, then your customers and prospects.

If your employees don’t buy into the brand story, you’re dead in the water. But if they do, they become your greatest ambassadors. The same is true with customers. When your employees are proud of the company they work for and your customers feel like they’re part of the community, you know you got it right.

Mistake #3: Rebranding without changing the product or service

“This one really drives me crazy”, Neisser says. “A new CMO comes in and says, ‘Hey, we need a new logo, a new color, and a new website’ and they don’t do anything. There’s no material change to the product or service, so all they’re really doing is putting a coat of paint on an old barn.”

You can change the promise, but you also need to change the service behind it and educate your employees on how to deliver on the new promise. Great marketing is not about fluff, it’s about service and selling through service. 

Mistake #4: Spending too much on MarTech

“Too much tech, not enough staff, not enough marketing,” Neisser says. “There’s confusion out there. MarTech is not marketing, it’s just tools.” Automate attentively and get your MarTech spend under 10% of your total budget. And don’t just keep adding tools. For every piece of tech you add, think about what you can remove.

Mistake #5: Retreating during a crisis

During the pandemic, many CMOs gave back budget and furloughed staff. Now they’re scrambling. Others recognized it as an opportunity to shine by prioritizing their customer relationships and proving why they’re essential.

“A big thing that happened in this crisis, you could prove you were essential,” Neisser says. “If you proved that you were essential, you really stepped up. And one of the things that came out of the crisis for us was CMO Huddles. We founded it during the pandemic because it was a way of helping our customers. It’s now a business.”

Want more B2B insights like this?

We’ve got you covered. Check out all the episodes of our 3-Minute-Marketing podcast here to hear from B2B marketing experts just like Drew. And, if you’re looking for an agency to help you reach your marketing goals, give us a shout and we’ll be happy to help. 

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