Best B2B marketing and business development practice has changed dramatically in recent years driven, primarily, by increasing resistance to aggressive push marketing techniques and prospects access to all the information they could ever need via the internet
The Decline In B2B Outbound Marketing
When I started in B2B marketing over 20 years ago it was entirely push based. It was based on telemarketing, advertising, press releases, exhibitions and print / direct mail. More recently aggressive Email marketing was introduced to the mix to push the sales message.
With the growth of the internet, social media and all sorts of comparison and review sites the population in general have become conditioned to search out the information they need online before making a purchasing decision. Bad telemarketing and EMail practice in the B2C world have built a resistance to these techniques that spills over into the business world.
The Alternative – B2B Inbound Marketing
Current best practice in B2B marketing is pull rather than push based. It is based on delivering information to the point decision makers may find it. The information must be valuable, engaging, build credibility and gently guide the decision maker along a path towards the offering of a particular business.
The information (content) may be white papers, technical notes, how to guides, industry comment / trends, comparisons, regulatory issues of interest and much more. Some content may be created from scratch but as many businesses sit on a large amount of information that could be updated / amended to benefit customers and prospects this can simplify the task.
Inbound Marketing Is Resource Intensive
The problem with inbound Marketing are the resources required to deliver it successfully. With outbound marketing skills in a small number of disciplines may suffice but the same is not true of inbound. Today, a department (or person) implementing best inbound practice requires a wide range of skills in content creation, website design and build, blogging, social media and other delivery channels and SEO.
The time taken to build new content and/or re-build existing content should not be underestimated. The content creation process never stops and is a constant drain on resources.
A Inbound Marketing Plan Is Essential
If resources are not to be wasted a plan is essential. It is vitally important to analyze the market, carefully select market segments, build personas and create content specific to those segments.
With the basics in place it is then important to build a content delivery plan and to stick to that plan moving forward. Results should not be expected overnight, in fact to expect any meaningful results within 3 months of starting the process is wishful thinking.
Content marketing does not deliver results as fast as traditional push techniques and it does require significant resource to implement successfully but the resulting quantity and quality of sales leads tends to exceed that of push marketing.
The impact of push marketing then is decreasing with pull marketing the new focus. However, although pull marketing delivers more consistent and higher quality sales leads, it takes longer to deliver results and is resource intensive. Therefore push marketing techniques still have a place and can be selectively combined with pull techniques to deliver the best overall result.