B2B Marketing: It’s Not Always (Ever) Simple


Have you ever been around that person at the water cooler telling the story of a B2B marketing campaign that exceeded expectations? The story usually has all kinds of glorified moments, and you never hear of any hiccups within the campaign — with that or any other campaigns that person wants to brag about.

It’s almost as if those daily missions are nothing more than a cake walk. Right?

Let’s kill the rumors and set the optics straight. People like that, especially in marketing, are living fool’s-gold lifestyles.

Marketing is not easy. Repeat, NOT easy. It’s not rocket science, but it isn’t elementary. Far from it.

But that’s what separates the bad from the good, and the good from the great. The smart ones aren’t going to pretend to know all of the answers to the ins and outs of a successful campaign – because those answers can differ every day. Credit that to the constant change we see with everything that is marketable.

Marketing and selling a product is a consistent game of hit or miss. Your plans may seem like great ideas to you and your team in a meeting – until it bombs and dies a horrible death when implemented into action. It happens to everybody.

That said, let’s ask the logical question: What can be done as a B2B marketer to make more the daily routine more simple and less complex? Is it always understanding customers’ wants? Does it involve committing to optimization or sales driving? Or, perhaps, the key is to remix the successful tactics that have already been done?

Rob Hyams, chief creative officer and partner at McMillan, believes the key to success is understanding that there is an alternative to simplicity.

Hear this word: Prioritization. It’s a valued, 14-letter word in the dictionary, and it’s also one where its definition can slip through the cracks if a marketer isn’t paying attention.

“When brand, messaging, marketing and communications elements are given structure and placed in a hierarchy, it helps with setting goals and allocating spend and personnel and improves decision-making overall,” Hyams said in a recent column in AdExchanger. “A prioritized approach acknowledges that not everything can be tackled at once — nor should it be — and the complexity inherent to B2B will continue to exist, but in a less messy form.”

Hyams understands that there always will be complex issues in B2B projects big and small. What he chooses to focus on is embracing those issues and working with it, rather than what he defines as promising an idealistic outcome.

“The promise of simplicity may be a lie,” he said, “but the power of managed complexity cannot be underestimated.”

The best marketers understand that there are no easy answers, no quick fixes, no shortcuts, no microwave-processed solutions to B2B success. Achieving success requires a well-thought plan, a group all on one accord and a drive unmatched by competitors.

The world was recently rocked by the news of the death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Those who followed Bryant know when it came to his level of greatness on the basketball court, he refused to take any shortcuts regarding his work ethic. When asked about achieving greatness, the five-time NBA world champion once said individuals must make choices that involve sacrifices.

“We can all be masters at our craft, but you have to make a choice,” Bryant said. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that.”

Pertaining B2B marketing, sacrifices for a successful campaign could be anything from bypassing a restful weekend to ditching your campaign in favor of the ideas of the teammate beside you.

The end goal, as with anything else, is to win. And real champions know that while wins will never come easily, they can come in bunches with proper preparation.

All of that is said to reiterate that no matter what, B2B marketing should never be expected to be a breeze. If anything, expect the unexpected, and adapt accordingly.

Looking for tips and recommendations for overcoming B2B marketing challenges? Download MultiView’s free ebook: B2B Marketing: It’s Not Getting Any Easier.

Share This
Get new blog posts sent right to your inbox!