Most business owners would be skeptical of a financial planner that claimed that they could guarantee a comfortable retirement within one of implementing a plan. I wish that business owners were just as skeptical of marketers who claim they can solve lead conversion in a quick and easy way.
Just as financial planning deals with mathematical realities and unforeseen economic changes, marketing deals with human behavior realities and market changes. Strategy, discipline and perseverance are required in both cases. So I cringe when I hear the claims that some marketers make – because they give the profession and practice a bad name.
The claims fall into three categories:
- The Quick Fix
- The Guaranteed Result
- No Heavy Lifting (the excused absence)
The Quick Fix
The Quick Fix promises results in a certain time frame with a numbers formula. It goes a little like this, “we see a 1% response rate in our marketing campaigns so if you apply those campaigns to a list of 1000 you’ll get 10 leads. If you apply those campaigns to a list of 3000 you’ll get 30 leads.”
Rarely does the Quick Fix explore how warm or qualified the list is, that is, how long you have been developing and communicating and updating the list. Rarely does the Quick Fix require a thorough analysis of who your ideal prospect is and what triggers cause them to go to market for your B2B products and services.
The Quick Fix ignores what we all know, people buy from people they Know, Like, and Trust. A flurry of email blasts, postcards, and telemarketing without any strategy or consideration for the needs of the recipient is more likely to result in Know, Dislike, and Ignore.
The Quick Fix in no way resembles how we’ve earned business in the past – developing a relationship, understanding the prospect’s pain points and presenting our expertise in a way that is tailored for the prospect’s business.
The Guaranteed Result
The Guaranteed Result is the Quick Fix drawn out over a slightly longer time frame. “Use and pay for our program, and we will guarantee you 30 qualified leads or your money back.” No strategy and minimal ideal prospect definition was required. Simply the claim “We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again – or your money back.”
Get ready to spend not only money, but also significant time, policing the activity of the Guaranteed Result marketer. What does qualified mean? How long do they have to deliver the 30 qualified leads? How much time do you have to contest the qualification of any given lead? Do you have the time and desire to fight to get your money back?
I recently spoke with a business owner who had invested 9 months and close to $15,000 dollars working with a Guaranteed Results company. In that nine months, they did not see a single lead, did not see a single call list, did not see a single report or metric that demonstrated what work the company had done on their behalf.
A good marketing person will want to share the volume of outreach, responses, and an evaluation of whether things are ahead of schedule, on schedule, or behind schedule. A good marketing person will share with you if they believe the campaign or messaging or targeting needs to be adjusted or overhauled.
No Heavy Lifting
The No Heavy Lifting red flag is any program that let’s you off the hook. It’s the business world equivalent of granting an excused absence to activity that you should always be involved in. This approach appeals to people who want to write a check and make the problem go away.
B2B Marketing requires heavy lifting. We’re building awareness for complicated and expensive products and services. No one knows more about the product or service than the B2B business owner. You can’t walk away from participating in the marketing of the business and ever hope to have a marketing system that works.
You understand the customer. You understand the industry, market, and challenges your customers face. You understand the products and services as well as the impact the delivery, implementation, and ongoing benefits the customer will experience.
Before any marketing campaign is launched, a strategy should be developed; the characteristics of your ideal prospect should be discussed, and the triggers that send them to market to buy your products and services should be clearly defined. Only then should marketing tactics be discussed for delivering your marketing message to your ideal prospects.
Be smart about your B2B marketing. Be committed about participating in your B2B Marketing. And, beware of those who try to sell you the empty promise of the Quick Fix, the Guarantee and the No Heavy Lifting Involved.