Recently, we shared 4 Tips to Audit a B2B Marketing Strategy to provide guidance to marketers looking to evaluate the strategic direction of their marketing plan.
In this post, we dig a bit deeper in deciding what to cut and what to keep in a marketing strategy as part of the evaluation.
When determining what to keep or cut from your B2B marketing strategy, it’s important to take a holistic view. It’s not as simple as “this works” or “that isn’t working.” What can be considered “working” or “not working” can vary widely depending on objectives/goals or even department incentives.
Short-Term & Long-Term Goals
Instead, it’s important to reframe the question as what channels/activities are producing the desired results? For this to be effective, it’s crucial to have clearly defined objectives or goals. These should include short-term and long-term goals.
For example, a shorter-term goal may be to increase organic traffic by 24% compared to last year and convert 3 – 5 website leads per month. A longer-term goal may be to increase yearly website traffic by 45% year over year, increase leads to 30 leads per quarter, and grow market share in a particular market by 10% in 2 years.
Give It Adequate Time
A strong B2B marketing strategy includes a good mix of tactics that produce results quickly and for the long-run. It’s essential to allow a particular tactic or approach the appropriate amount of time to be implemented, monitored, tracked, and evaluated. This does depend on things like budget, number of B2B website visitors each month, tracking capabilities, etc.
For example, we often recommend strategies that include a mix of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC ads are intended to start driving traffic and leads as soon as possible while we work on building up a site’s SEO to attract target search queries to the website. Shutting off a PPC campaign after 2 weeks of data would be a poor choice, just like discontinuing SEO after one month would be counter-productive.
Don’t Consider Results in a Vacuum
Rarely does one metric tell the whole story. For example, when it comes to driving traffic and leads to your B2B website, you need to look at a variety of metrics in context to determine whether a particular channel is producing results.
As an example, we’ll look at paid display ad traffic. Often, display ads drive a significant amount of traffic, often 4k – 5k website sessions a month. However, when we look at the quality of traffic driven to a B2B website by display ads, it becomes apparent that those website visits have a very high bounce rate, low average time on site, and haven’t produced any form completions or guide downloads. Based on this information, the display ads aren’t producing positive results and should be cut from the marketing strategy.
Show Me the Money…No, Really, Show the Money
Track your leads and the real and potential sales revenue attached to them. This is one of the most telling metrics we believe should be tracked for B2B marketing strategies. Why? Because it’s easy for salespeople to anecdotally say, “Leads are good” or “Leads haven’t been good,” but if you show them each lead and ask them to provide sales data/proposal amounts for each lead, you can calculate the opportunities for your marketing efforts. The most successful salespeople track all this data closely and share it willingly with marketing in an effort to get more of those great deals.
Tracking leads and opportunities should also include the source of the lead, even if it’s simply the last-touch attribution. This gives marketers the data to determine if certain channels start the conversation but leads close from other channels. Additionally, they can decide which channels are driving the best quality leads.
For example, we find that organic search leads and PPC leads tend to be the best leads. Why? Because often both types of website visitors are actively looking for the product or service for the company.
Listen to Feedback
While we stated that anecdotal evidence is not always the best feedback, when it comes to a client or prospect giving you feedback – you absolutely must listen. It may not be feedback that you can extrapolate to an entire audience, but it does provide insightful gems.
Consider things like:
- Do clients say they were newsletter subscribers for a year before they had a project/need? (hint – your newsletter is working as a nurturing tool!)
- Did they mention a guide or ebook of yours that a coworker shared with them?
- Did they refer to a specific case study or a blog post as a determining factor for getting in touch (even if that wasn’t the attribution source)?
- Did they indicate what search terms they used to find your company?
These are just a handful of questions that can be helpful when determining what to keep and what to discontinue in your marketing efforts.