Here's What Not to Do in B2B Marketing

As B2B digital marketing specialists, we recognise more than most some of those prevalent approaches that simply don't work - and yet permeate throughout B2B business sectors.

While we normally focus on what you should be doing, today we'll examine all those obvious errors making a dent in your bottom line!

The best way to respond to any B2B marketing mistakes you see here (that sound oddly familiar!) is to take it as a learning opportunity and a way to finetune your skills to serve your buyers better.

Because, with a little marketing mindset reshuffle, there is little you can't achieve.

Here's What Not to Do in B2B Marketing

Ignoring B2B Branding

Surely branding is only essential in B2C? Buyers don't select a supplier or partner based on their backstory - do they? Think again.

B2B branding is much more nuanced and influential than cohesive campaign images. It sets the tone for how any buyer in any industry perceives the products or service offerings you present.

If you are regarded as an experienced, trusted and respected brand, you're immediately differentiating your company from every other competitor out there - and getting one step ahead before you've reached a single touch point.

Yes, you may need to invest focused effort and time into developing and reinforcing your specific brand values and USP. 

Still, it can be impactful, both in long-term recognition and short-term conversion metrics. Find out more about how we can help with your B2B branding here. 

The best way to respond to any B2B marketing mistakes you see here (that sound oddly familiar!) is to take it as a learning opportunity and a way to finetune your skills to serve your buyers better.”

Advertising Without a Client Persona

Here's another classic B2B marketing mistake, where businesses sometimes fail to see the correlation between their overriding objectives and those of a B2C company competing in a very different field.

While your buyer might involve a whole chain of decision-makers, you're ultimately still selling to people with the same influences and pressures we all do.

You have little chance of cementing a deal if you can't understand what your buyer wants, where their pain points lie, and which value propositions will make them likely to switch allegiances.

An interested buyer isn't ready to commit to a site visit, and a potentially engaged customer doesn't want to be flooded with technical explainers or how-to guides.

Follow the buyer journey, learn what they know, what is motivating them - and where you can educate them - and you can position your content and landing pages in a far more targeted way.

Focusing on Me, Not You

Visit any 99 of 100 B2B sites in any B2B verticals and take a second to click on their landing pages. Here's what you are going to find:

  • We are ABC Ltd.
  • We do this.
  • We have been around since 1990.
  • We have 1,000 depots in the UK.
  • We are proud of these achievements.

Spot the repeating factor? It's all about them, not what they can do for you.

Company-centric content is common in every B2B sector, and it's the wrong way to showcase the benefits you're offering to your prospective buyer.

Marketing is an opportunity to demonstrate the advantages you offer your client, and only secondarily about who you are and what you do. 

Consider how you'll make things quicker, cheaper, easier, and less stressful - emphasise what you mean to the buyer, not those dull background statements lacking flavour or colour.

That doesn't mean you can't share the heritage and offerings of your business, but that you shouldn't solely publish content that promotes your business without explaining why that should make a difference to your buyer.

Bypassing the Value of Quantifiable Data

Next up, let's discuss the nuts and bolts of digital marketing - the data, in sometimes overwhelming volumes, that tells you all you need to know and a lot of what you don't.

Let's clarify - if you spend hours a week pouring over metrics and arranging long team meetings to discuss arbitrary figures, you might become so embedded in KPIs you're missing the bigger picture.

Don't get us wrong, data is a massive component of a successful B2B digital marketing strategy, but you must use it in context to make any tangible difference.

As marketers, we get that if you've set targets or are benchmarking your performance against your biggest rival, those data sets can go a long way to informing your next step.

However, not everything can be measured in a meaningful way, nor should it be.

Long-term branding and reputation are hard to pin down into figures, so the right approach is only to track those things that provide a practical, useful measurement you can make decisions against.

Social followers look great on the page, but if they don't translate to sales or revenue, they're not going to have much impact on your business; this is a perfect example of vanity metrics.

Avoid digging a formulaic hole, and spend more time on solid fundamentals such as setting goals and deciding on those specific ways to measure the most important progress markers.

Being Too Professional

Here's an interesting one. 

Most B2B businesses work in fairly 'serious' industries and try their utmost to be corporate and slick and use the terminology they think their buyers understand best, but it might be the wrong tactic. 

Regardless of the nature of the supplier-buyer relationship, people want to do business with people they like, so a stern, unemotional tone isn't going to rack up any points.

Marketers often forget that the end recipient of any piece of content or published material is a real-life person, and they won't have any emotional connection with a B2B supplier who sounds more like a robot than someone they'd like to communicate with.

While you may not want to be overly friendly, that doesn't mean your content can't be personable and digestible. Not everything you share needs to be read like a manifesto or a commercial portfolio!

Learning From B2B Marketing Mistakes

The difference between success and stagnation is recognising where you have room to improve.

Whether that's by going back to the drawing board or tweaking the tone of your emails, it's an exercise that will pay dividends where they matter. If you're looking to revamp your marketing efforts, get in touch with Tiga B2B marketing experts today. 

Related Reading

- Best B2B Customer Acquisition Channels 

- The importance of B2B branding

- What is behavioural segmentation in B2B? 

- B2B sales prospecting tools 


This post was written by:

Steve Chatman

Steve is co-owner of Tiga Creative Marketing
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