Recently, we shared 4 tips for auditing a B2B marketing strategy to provide guidance to marketers looking to evaluate the strategic direction of their marketing plan.
In this post, we’ll dig a little deeper into deciding what to cut and maintain in a marketing strategy as part of the assessment.
When deciding what to keep or remove from your B2B marketing strategy, it’s important to take a holistic view. It’s not as simple as “this works” or “this doesn’t work”. What can be viewed as “working” or “not working” can vary widely depending on goals / objectives or even departmental incentives.
Short term and long term goals
Instead, it is important to rephrase the question: Which channels / activities lead to the desired results? In order for this to be effective, it is crucial to have clearly defined goals or objectives. These should include short and long term goals.
For example, a shorter-term goal might be to increase organic traffic by 24% year over year and convert 3-5 website leads per month. A longer term goal may be to increase annual website traffic by 45% year over year, increase leads to 30 leads per quarter, and increase market share in a given market by 10% in 2 years.
Give him enough time
A strong B2B marketing strategy involves a good mix of tactics that produce results quickly and over the long term. It is important to give a particular tactic or approach the appropriate time to implement, monitor, track, and evaluate. It depends on things like budget, number of B2B website visitors per month, tracking capabilities, etc.
For example, we often recommend strategies that involve a mix of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. We want PPC ads to start driving traffic and leads asap as we work on building a website’s SEO to drive targeted searches to the website. Stopping a PPC campaign after 2 weeks of data would be a bad choice, just as stopping SEO after a month would be counterproductive.
Don’t look at results in a vacuum
Rarely does one metric tell the whole story. For example, when it comes to driving traffic and driving to your B2B website, you need to look at a variety of metrics in context to determine if a particular channel is delivering results.
As an example, let’s look at paid display ad traffic. Display ads often generate significant amounts of traffic, often 4,000 to 5,000 website sessions per month. However, if we look at the quality of the traffic directed by display ads to a B2B website, it becomes clear that those website visits have a very high bounce rate and low average time spent on the website and no forms filled out or instructions downloaded. Based on this information, the display ads are not delivering positive results and should be removed from the marketing strategy.
Show me the money … No, really, show the money
Track your leads and the actual and potential sales revenues associated with them. This is one of the most powerful metrics we believe should be followed for a B2B marketing strategy. Why? Because it’s easy for sales reps to anecdotally say, “Leads are good” or “Leads weren’t good,” but if you show them each lead and ask them to provide sales data / quote amounts for each lead, you can calculate the opportunities for yours Marketing efforts. The most successful salespeople keep a close eye on all of this data and willingly share it with marketing to get more of this great offer.
Tracking leads and opportunities should include the source of the lead as well, even if it’s just last minute attribution. This gives marketers the data to determine if certain channels start the conversation but other channels bring it in close. In addition, they can decide which channels generate the best leads.
For example, we find that organic search leads and PPC leads tend to be the best leads. Why? Often both types of website visitors are actively looking for the product or service for the company.
Listen to feedback
While we’ve found that anecdotal evidence isn’t always the best feedback, when it comes to a customer or prospect giving you feedback, it is important to listen. It might not be feedback to extrapolate to an entire audience, but it does offer insightful gems.
Consider things like:
- Are customers saying they were newsletter subscribers for a year before they had a project / need? (Note – your newsletter serves as a maintenance tool!)
- Did they mention a guide or e-book of yours that a colleague shared with you?
- Did they refer to a specific case study or blog post as the determining factor in making the contact (even if it wasn’t the source)?
- Did you indicate which keywords you used to find your company?
These are just a handful of questions that can be helpful in determining what to keep in your marketing efforts and what to hire.