Let’s Destroy Mediocre Marketing (A Rallying Cry!)
Why is there so much mediocre marketing in B2B? Why is it that so many lack a clear strategy, creativity, and a backbone? Why is so much of it boring?
I’m not saying that all B2Bs fall into this category. But for some reason, there are a lot that do.
Let’s look at the mistakes that many B2B companies make when executing their branding and marketing.
I visited a dozen accounting SaaS websites earlier today. What do I see at the top of many of the home pages? Bland messaging like “All-in-one accounting software,” “Accounting and payroll software,” and “Online accounting software, built for your business.”
This is not what anyone would call captivating.
I was talking with a company in the financial services space with $300 million in VC funding. They invested a great deal in video marketing. Yet, when we audited their collection of videos, everything was internally focused (about the company, about their solutions, about their technology, etc.). There was nothing about their customers. No storytelling. No creativity. And nothing compelling enough to make any human being want to remember or share the videos with others. (It’s not surprising that their business has shrunk by roughly 40%.)
It’s time for better marketing. More strategic marketing. Stronger marketing.
But how? Where do you start?
Read on, and discover 10 ways to send your audience’s thrill-o-meter off the charts!
Strategies for Exceptional Marketing that Generate Real Business Results
There are a number of ways to generate exceptional marketing and to spare the world from yet one more B2B company with bland, forgettable marketing. Whether ditching best practices or crafting more powerful messaging or leveling up your approach to driving conversions, etc., you have the opportunity to develop marketing, websites, and campaigns that transform your business results.
There’s no silver bullet. It takes a multifaceted approach. It takes experimentation and testing. And it requires effort.
Yet, the end result is greater reach, more attention, higher traffic, increased conversions, and a greater flow of qualified leads.
Take a tour through the strategic options below, and select a few to help you unleash your brand’s potential.
Ditch the Best Practices (Really!)
As I wrote in my book Rethink Lead Generation, best practices take you only so far and then you’ll plateau. If you and your competitors are all following “best practices” and essentially copying one another, your marketing activities will lead you to mediocrity in a sea of sameness.
Instead, focus on your creativity. Brainstorm new ways of doing things. Be different. Take a different path than others.
Remember, creativity is the ONLY aspect of your business that cannot be commoditized.
Focus on not only creativity, but also lateral thinking and innovation. In my two books, you’ll find more than 70 case studies of companies that achieved breakthrough growth. In every case, they ignored “best practices” and instead took unique, bold action.
Outmaneuvering your competition and driving growth often requires lateral thinking.
For example, when I was at a prior company, a colleague and I introduced a new marketing program that wound up becoming the #1 leads driver.
The company had historically invested in large industry conferences at $30,000 to $50,000 in costs per event. The crowd was often in the thousands. However, the problem was that many of our competitors were exhibiting at these events, as well. There was no competitive advantage in being there.
Instead, my colleague and I launched a branded roadshow, with a cost of 1/10th what we would pay for exhibiting at a standard industry conference. We invited a targeted list of marketers. The initial local event brought in 7-figure and a 6-figure contracts. The second event as well delivered a multi-million-dollar deal. These events directly contributed to the company exploding from 85 to 700+ employees within five years.
Rethink Lead GenerationRead “Rethink Lead Generation: Advanced Strategies to Get More Leads for Your Business” by Stratabeat CEO Tom Shapiro, and uncover key steps to destroy mediocre marketing. Read the Post
Don’t Engage in “Dictionary Marketing”
Why are so many B2B companies boring? You’re marketing to actual human beings. Why do so many forget this basic fact?
One type of messaging that you often see in B2B tech is what we call “dictionary marketing.” It’s where the brand’s messaging focuses on what the solution does rather than on benefits, impact, or differentiation.
For example, if you visit a number of accounting software websites, you’ll see headlines such as:
These are actual headlines.
Are they impactful? Do they clarify differentiation? Do they captivate you? Unfortunately, no.
So, can you see how they would cause your site visitor to stop scrolling? Or to lose their curiosity? Or to abandon your site? Of course.
Instead, go for something with more PUNCH! Something like…
- Turn chaos into control: accounting made simple
- Time-saving accounting software. Because time is money.
- It’s time to turn your accounting software into business-building software
- Simplify, streamline, succeed: accounting software for smart entrepreneurs
- Future-proof your success: accounting software with advanced forecasting
Go Inside Their Heads with Deeper Audience Insight
A critical step to exceptional marketing is to know your audience inside and out. Go deeper than your competitors in understanding their goals, challenges, problems, and frustrations. Where do they need to be 12 months from now? What causes the pit in their stomachs on Sunday nights?
What type of audience insight are you currently capturing?
For many of Stratabeat’s clients, what we do when starting the marketing engagement is to spend a great deal of time on audience research. This includes, for example, interviewing a range of executives and leaders at our client’s business. But we also ask to talk directly with their clients. This invariably leads to insights that even our client never knew.
Another approach that’s been effective is to listen to recordings of our clients’ sales calls with prospects. For certain clients, we’ve spent 10-20 hours listening to their sales conversations and/or client interviews.
Useful audience research methods include:
Precision Target Your Audience
Whenever Stratabeat onboards a new client, we go through a deep-dive discovery process. As part of the process, we explore the new client’s target audiences.
In some cases, the company has vaguely eyed a number of audiences but hasn’t committed to an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) or a #1 highest-priority segment. You should be able to clearly name your top 100 (or at least top 50) target accounts, yet we commonly come across companies that cannot.
This causes all sorts of downhill ramifications in your marketing.
Without crystal clear identification of your priority segments and accounts, your marketing will always be diluted and less effective. Your value proposition may be in the ballpark, but won’t be a bulls-eye. And your messaging will not resonate as deeply.
If you’re trying to be too many things to too many audiences, you’ll be less attractive to the ones who matter most.
Clearly define your top audience segments and accounts within each segment.
Strategic Marketing Planning for 2024Ready to build a marketing plan that gets results? Read More
Articulate Clear Differentiation
This one is straightforward. If you can’t clearly differentiate your brand from others without marketing fluff, how can your audience be expected to see the difference?
Recently when talking with the CEO of a B2B technology company, I inquired about the company’s differentiation. His response? “It’s our people.”
Could he tell me about all the people at all of his competitors? Of course not. And so, how could he possibly claim that his people were better than individuals at other firms? It was toothless, defenseless branding.
Instead, be clear with your differentiation. Without the B.S.
Strong Messaging: Unleash the Verbal Superheroes of Your Brand
When you’re looking to improve your website results, remember to start with your messaging. The right message turns site visitors into buyers.
On the other hand, weak messaging is a conversion rate killer…
- If your messaging is vague, inconsistent, or undifferentiated, you’re going to suffer from lower conversion rates.
- If your messaging doesn’t resonate with your ICP, you’re going to suffer even more.
- If your messaging doesn’t solve their problems, you’re going to lose their interest.
- If your messaging doesn’t evoke an emotional response, you’ll reduce conversion rates even further.
In one of Gong’s rebrandings, they updated the messaging on their home page to:
“Goodbye Opinions. Hello, Reality.”
It was unique. It was bold. And it accurately reflected the value they deliver to revenue teams.
Seismic’s home page includes the following messaging:
“Say Hello to Happier Customers
Quality customer service is key to success — 51% of customers won’t do business with a company after just one negative experience. See how to level up.”
This is stronger than merely stating “All-in-One Sales Enablement Solutions” or something along those lines.
With Stratabeat, right at the top of our home page, we declare:
“Let’s Destroy Mediocre Marketing”
It’s what we stand for. And it evokes an emotional response from our site visitors. Our B2B audience has experienced so much mediocre marketing through their careers that it resonates deeply – they know exactly what we’re talking about.
Deploy Powerful Conversion-Drivers
The point of conversion on your website is where the rubber meets the road. They are either going to request a demo or register for a webinar or sign up for your mailing list, etc., or they are not…
Cascade Your CTAs
A major problem that we see across many B2B SaaS websites, for example, is the overwhelming number of “Request a Demo” or “Free Trial” CTAs in contrast to the lack of other types of CTAs that may better align with user intent.
You’ll have more success if you customize your CTAs per page in alignment with the specific intent of someone visiting such page. For example, if someone visits a page titled “What is sales enablement software?”, they are clearly looking to learn. They are not yet ready for a free trial or demo. Instead, you’ll achieve a higher conversion rate by offering them related educational whitepapers, videos, on-demand webinars, etc.
On the other hand, if someone is looking for “sales enablement software,” they are looking for a list of options and recommendations. This site visitor would benefit from a matrix of your features and a list of differentiators.
If someone searches for “seismic vs clari,” they are hoping to find a breakdown of each and a specific comparison. This is your most likely candidate for a demo.
Precision-Engineer Pages Built for Conversions
Also, make sure that your conversion pages are precision-engineered for conversion. For example, take the request a demo page. I can’t tell you how many times I come across a request a demo page lacking in a clear articulation of benefits or lacking in social proof. Or where the form is all the way down the page. A few companies I’ve run across simply had a pop-up form without any messaging at all. This is a lost opportunity.
Build Multiple Points of Conversion
If you’re a B2B SaaS, you likely offer a “request a demo” page. But too many companies leave it at that.
Instead, you should be thinking more holistically and also offering interactive demos in your website. It’s a path to more demos, more sales meetings, and more pipeline.
Not everyone on your website is ready to schedule a demo with your sales team right now. In fact, I’d argue that 90%+ of your site traffic falls in that category. They are simply not going to book time with your team right now, regardless of how awesome your website might be.
But why allow them to leave your site without learning more about your products? Why let them get away without experiencing your products? Why not give them the option to get a demo right now without any friction?
Want even better results?
Personalize your interactive demos.
You’ll drive greater engagement. You’ll deliver more demos, that’s for sure. And you’ll book more meetings with higher intent, too.
So, remember, always look for additional ways to convert more of your traffic, not only the 2%-10% ready to talk with your salespeople today.
Ready to accelerate your growth?Stratabeat achieved 7,235.7% organic traffic growth for a B2B client in one of the most competitive categories in Google. See How!
Use IP Detection to Double Your Leads
As mentioned, anywhere between 90%-98% of your website visitors are not ready to talk with your salespeople right now. They are somewhere in the customer journey, but not at the stage that they are ready to start a serious conversation about purchasing your solutions.
The problem that many marketing teams face is that they ignore those 90%-98%. That’s a high volume of untapped potential leads.
It’s a waste. And it’s another example of mediocre marketing.
By using IP detection software such as Dealfront, Lead Forensics, or ZoomInfo, you see the organizations that are on your website, as well as their traffic source, navigation path through the site, and their time-on-page for each page.
Using this website intelligence, you can then conduct outreach to those who were on your site demonstrating buyer intent in the past 24 hours to engage and start a conversation. Given that you know the specific topics they are interested in based on the pages visited, you can customize your communications for a higher response rate.
This is low-hanging fruit for lead generation, yet many marketing teams inexplicably ignore this opportunity.
Be Super Smart about Scaling
There are ways to achieve 3X more than you’re doing today.
There are ways to achieve 10X.
And when you get really smart about it, there are also ways to achieve 65X.
SAP created a “Digital Chop Shop” to atomize content to effectively reach 25+ industry verticals. As explained by Global Content Lead Ginger Shimp, the SAP team takes a base piece of content and then creates hundreds of derivative versions.
For example, if they start with a whitepaper, they then modify 20% of the document per vertical. They produce the content in different formats, as well, including video, audio, text, and visuals. They also atomize the content further based on personas. Overall, they produce 650 pieces of atomized content from a single source. A single atomization campaign can generate $23 million in new pipeline.
If that’s not the definition of destroying mediocre marketing, then I don’t know what is.
Have a Backbone
Too many B2B marketing teams conduct tepid marketing, striving to be technically accurate yet forgetting that their audience is made up of real human beings with actual feelings and emotions. It’s the same people who watch Netflix and enjoy cooking classes who are buying your B2B solutions.
While the brain processes up to 60 bits of sensory information every second on a conscious level, it processes 11 MILLION bits on a SUBCONSCIOUS level. If you’re not engaging them on a subconscious level, you’re not understanding human behavior.
Have a backbone and be different from your competitors. You don’t have to market to every possible prospect. Instead, identify and then focus like crazy on your ICP.
Understand them as deeply as possible.
Use bold messaging.
Prove your overwhelming value.
And make it difficult for them NOT to do business with you.