One of the biggest struggles B2B marketers (and marketers in general) face is in making sure that leadership is on board with key initiatives and campaigns throughout the year. It can often be difficult to find the proper goals or reporting methods that will make everyone happy with the results and actions being taken. This can lead to more interference and micro-management, which ultimately creates frustration for everyone.
However, there’s often just a few common misconceptions about b2b online marketing that when explained more clearly to executives, will lead to better support, understanding, and more effective execution overall.
Leadership Does Not Understand The Goal(s)
For business professionals outside of the marketing field, it can be difficult to understand how goals defined in new marketing or advertising tactics provide broader business impact. This can certainly be the case with new media, such as social media, local search optimization, or even better web design.
It is important to work closely with leadership at the beginning of program rollout, so they understand how the online marketing initiative is meant to impact business and what benchmarks will help demonstrate success.
Before starting a new initiative, explain the objectives behind it and why they are impactful. Examples include:
- Is this initiative expected to drive more traffic and visibility to specific product pages? If so, consider benchmarks for lead generation and form submission.
- Will we increase the overall online presence of the brand in third party sites and publications? Benchmarks in this case could be measurement through brand mentions or direct traffic acquisition.
Once leadership knows why you are implementing a new strategy and how you will demonstrate performance, they’re much more likely to not interfere in the day to day running of your campaigns.
Leadership Does Not Understand Your Metrics
Another confusing aspect of marketing for many executives are the type of metrics that we use to demonstrate performance. If they haven’t ever use Google Analytics, it can be difficult to understand what a high bounce rate percentage means or whether or not a average time of 2 minutes spent on the contact form is it good or bad thing.
Along with explaining your goals for a new strategy, take the time to create a list of the most important metrics of your campaigns and how they are going to help define your success. Some of the major metrics I would recommend for almost all digital marketing campaigns include:
- Referral Traffic
- Referral Source
- Social Media Audience Size
- Average Social Media Engagement, such as average number of retweets or comments on a Facebook post
Having everyone on the same page when it comes to goals and metric will help properly set expectations. This leads me into a third common problem I see facing many B2B marketers who have leadership frequently interfering with their initiatives or campaigns.
Expectations Weren’t Properly Set
This is the biggest problem I see facing marketers and the way they communicate with executives. You have to know what your leadership team is expecting from your department in order to set everything up for success. Most realize that improvements in traffic to the company website is a good thing, but they don’t know how this impacts their position in relation to the competition and industry in general.
It’s important to set and confirm expectations, oftentimes based on the competitive landscape, before outlining specific performance goals and metrics.
For instance, let’s say that we have a general goal of acquiring 100 new customers per month through strategic marketing initiatives, with the online channel being a critical component for this. The B2B online marketing team needs to assess the competitive landscape and determine viability and expectations for growth.
This also might mean that this number that may not be realistic or even too conservative based on what we can realize through competitive analysis and keyword research.
If you’re a B2B online marketer, take the lead on defining expectations based on competitive review and analysis. Set up a meeting with leadership and make sure that expectations are realistic and based on specific performance indicators.
Something Needs to Change
Ultimately, if you still experience consistent obstacles in the execution of your b2b online marketing campaigns, then it may be time to assess the campaigns themselves. Perhaps they just aren’t working in an acceptable timeframe or at least are not living up to expectations originally discussed.
In these cases, its critical to work together as a team to reassess tactics and explore new opportunities. As always, make sure expectations are properly set and go back to the drawing board with new goals and performance metric proposals, ensuring that all marketing initiatives have broader business impact.
Have you experienced these challenges in the past as well? How were you able to overcome obstacles that lead to the success of B2B online marketing program execution?
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