Tuesday, December 22, 2009

5 Mistakes B2B Marketers Need to Avoid in 2010

2009 has been a long year but as I reflect back on my many conversations, I've created a top 5 list of items to avoid in 2010:

1. Not having a defined social media strategy

sugar pour You would be surprised by the number of companies that say “yeah, social media is important but it’s not important to us at the moment”. In 2010 you will not have a choice but to make social media part of your overall marketing strategy. If you’re company is just breaking ground in this area, at the very least make a commitment to listen to what people are saying about you. For example, check out http://addictomatic.com/ and search for your company name. Most likely, you are being mentioned. Now search for your competitors. This may be enough of an impetuous to get moving on a reactive social media strategy such as “monitor what is being said about you and respond where needed to protect our brand”.

Addictomatic is a free tool that will get you started down this path. You may want to look at some of the paid services out there such as Radian6 or Vocus. Once you have this down, you can then start working on a proactive strategy and determine what it will take in your organization to make this possible. If you’re having trouble with this concept, skip down to #4.

2. Not sending relevant and timely messages

2009-12-22_0215 If you continue to only send email blasts on a schedule that you dictate to your email subscribers, you risk massive list attrition, damaging your overall email deliverability and a loss of sales and sales opportunities. The key to sending relevant communication is to automate the process. This may mean creating a lead nurturing program for new inquires on your website or using dynamic content in emails that presents a more relevant message. This concept needs to be at the forefront of your planning in 2010. If you have an automated program in place, look at ways that it can be adjusted to get an even higher response.

3. Not having an accurate picture of your database

BadData Did you have an email campaign this year that received a lower than expected response and blamed the creative or the offer on the poor results? It may well have had to do with these items but did you consider looking at the state of your list and/or database? I highly recommend that you query your database to understand how "active" your contacts are. You need to understand the true state of your database so you can make decisions on what you need to do in 2010 to achieve your goals. Knowing how many contacts in your database have bounced and unsubscribed is no longer enough - you need to understand how much "dead wood" you're carrying around.

In addition, your data may need a "face lift" or a complete makeover as it's either inaccurate or out of date. Consider using data tools that are included in your marketing automation system to clean up your data. You can also look at services like Fresh Address (http://biz.freshaddress.com/) that can clean up your email addresses or providers such as ReachForce or MarketOne that can generate leads based on your specific needs.

4. Not taking advantage of your online community

knowing-is-half-the-battle-300x282 As a marketer, there are thousands of online resources out there that you can take advantage of to improve your marketing skills. You can even get a marketing degree from schools online. However, this is just “half the battle” (why am I having memories of GI Joe cartoons from the 80s?). You need to engage other marketers to really learn and get the most out of the resources that are available and there are online communities that are waiting to be taken advantage of. Here are some things you can do today:
  • Search for a LinkedIn Group that interests you and join it. Participate in discussions or start a new one yourself. Not sure which group to join? See which groups your connections have joined or ask them directly.
  • Ask and answer questions on LinkedIn. You may see a theme here. There are a lot of experts in your area that are willing to help you so have a look at LinkedIn Answers. To begin, I recommend browsing the Marketing and Sales category and looking for a subcategory that interests you.

  • Join Twitter and look for a Twitter List that includes tweets about areas of marketing that interest you. To get started, use a tool like http://listorious.com/ that lists some of the top lists on Twitter. An easier idea is to look at the list of a tweeter that you admire and follow their list. Here is my Twitter list that I generated that I follow daily. Again, to really engage the community you need to ask questions and respond.
sodial-media-success This is just the tip of the iceberg. At my company, I’m an active participant in our customer only community. If you’re lucky to have such a community available to you, take advantage of it. Find out who the people that contribute the most and try and help them out if they need it. They will hopefully help you in return. You may want to look for them on LinkedIn or Twitter and follow some of my recommendations above. I’m a big advocate of Xobni that is a plugin for Outlook. It helps me easily add people to my Twitter and LinkedIn communities – check it out.

5. Not using best practices or acting on lessons learned from past campaigns

While this may be a given, you need to be continuously updating your skills to get the most out of your marketing campaigns. I highly recommend that you subscribe to resources such as the Marketing Insights blog, MarketingSherpa, MarketingExperiments, SiriusDecisions, ClickZ, and MarketingProfs to name just a few of the great resources that I use on a daily basis. This is on top of the number of great articles that my community of LinkedIn and Twitter provide me.

I also recommend testing your campaigns by using A/B and multivariate testing for emails and landing pages. What you may find is that you're going to be creating your own best practices based on what you found successful.

My last point is to accurately track your campaigns so you can easily see why certain campaigns were more successful that others in order to reproduce this success for future campaigns.

Of course, one of your biggest sources of best practices should be the vendors you work with. Part of my daily job is to work with marketers to help them improve their campaigns and make them successful. You too should have access to a live person that can meet with you regularly and that can provide you with advice on what you’re doing right and where you can improve. Make that a priority for 2010 if you can.

I hope you enjoyed these and please let me know if there are additional mistakes that you recommend avoiding in 2010. Happy Holidays from my family to yours!


Chad H
”You’re so 2000 and late” courtesy of zazzle.com
”The Battle” image courtesy of Patrick Hester's Blog
”Good Data, Bad Data” courtesy of CounterForce Blog
”Your community Profile” courtesy of www.socialdesire.com



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