This week I’m publishing a four-part blog series — based on research I’m doing as part of the updated focus for my marketing book project. This series takes a look at B2B demand generation today. The first post provided an introduction to the series. Parts two through four examine the three major challenges facing B2B demand generation. The second post identified why technology, alone, is not enough to improve B2B demand generation. The third post explored our continuing struggle as maketers to link marketing tactics to revenue outcomes. The final post today looks at the third challenge — highlighting our consistent failure when it comes to placing the B2B buyer at the center of our demand generation planning. ~ABN
So what does that average B2B marketing organization look like today? And what are the challenges that organizations must overcome to get to best-in-class?
Challenge #3: We too often don’t start with our targeted buyer when it comes to developing B2B demand generation programs, nor do we rationalize the content and pacing of our nurturing against the buyer’s decision-making process.
This third point is perhaps at the core of the other two problems. Our failures with technology and our inability to link activities to revenue outcomes are also linked to the fact that too often we don’t start our marketing thinking, building or planning in the most obvious place. We don’t start with the buyer, and we certainly don’t take into account the major changes in the nature of the buyer over the last decade.
“It’s a no-brainer: You can’t make a connection with your audience unless you know who you’re trying to reach,” comments B2B marketing consultant Stephanie Tilton on the Savvy B2B Marketing Blog. “This gets down to marketing basics – you need to develop buyer personas. Yet my unscientific polls show that a fair number of B2B marketers haven’t undertaken the exercise of developing buyer personas.”
So we don’t tend to define and understand buyer personas. We also don’t leverage them to improve the relevance of messaging and content, and we don’t rationalize the timing and pacing of our marketing activities against them.