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B2B Marketing Recidivism – How Defaulting To Your Comfort Zone Can Be Hazardous

Raising Arizona is a movie I’ve watched numerous times and one of my favorite scenes is when H.I. is before the parole board pleading that he has changed his ways and will no longer resort to convenience store hold ups. He doesn’t like liquor stores, he doesn’t like banks – when it comes to robbery – his preference is convenience stores.

Parole Board chairman: They’ve got a name for people like you H.I. That name is called “recidivism.”
Parole Board member: Repeat offender!
Parole Board chairman: Not a pretty name, is it H.I.?
H.I.: No, sir. That’s one bonehead name, but that ain’t me any more.
Parole Board chairman: You’re not just telling us what we want to hear?
H.I.: No, sir, no way.
Parole Board member: ‘Cause we just want to hear the truth.
H.I.: Well, then I guess I am telling you what you want to hear.
Parole Board chairman: Boy, didn’t we just tell you not to do that?

B2B business owners tend to have preferences when it comes to marketing. Often the preferred tactic defaults to what has worked in the past.

Recently, a telemarketing company that has done business with a few of my customers and prospective customers went out of business. The news doesn’t make me happy. People have lost jobs. Customers have written checks for which they will get nothing in return.

This company guaranteed results. They put together a proposal and along with a list, script and call schedule, they would guarantee the number of qualified leads that would come as a result of the telemarketing. A lot of business owners heard the number that was guaranteed, did a quick division of the number of dollars they were spending, and decided that was a pretty good result – plus they didn’t have to really do anything – they could write a check, go back to work and wait for the leads to come in.

It raised a red flag with me. I just couldn’t see how the telemarketing firm could guarantee leads. The products and services being sold were fairly complex and came with a hefty price tag. Industry averages point to these products only being replaced every 7 – 10 years. So, I wondered if the telemarketing company and the business owner were truly aligned on what the definition of a qualified lead was.

Months went by. No leads were sent from the telemarketing company to the business owners. In fact, no update or reports or call logs were sent. Soon the business owners began to call and email and received delayed responses (mostly in the form of excuses) if they received any response at all.

About a week ago, one business owner drove to the telemarketing company’s office during business hours. It was closed. The good news is: at least they have a copy of the list they purchased. The bad news is: they have wasted thousands and thousands of dollars. The worst news is: months of building relationships with prospective customers have been lost.

Here’s something to think about: had that same money been invested in developing quality content for the B2B not only would the business have received deliverables for their money – those deliverables would still be continuing to pay awareness and SEO dividends.

Here’s how Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah explain this in their book Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (New Rules Social Media Series)
(affiliate link):

The great thing about that blog article is that the page, the Google rankings, the links, and the subscriber are all durable assets. Once you write that article, it gives you value forever. When you write your second article, the same thing happens. And so on. A blog is a durable asset that delivers durable value that lasts.

I’m happy that the content that I have written for my customers’ websites and blogs continue to be durable assets for them long after I’m out of the picture. I’m glad that the value of the work I did for them continues to provide a more meaningful visitor experience, continues to showcase the good work they do on behalf of their customers, and continues to influence prospective future customers.

When I calculate what the money lost on telemarketing could have created in terms of content (durable assets) it tallies up to months of press releases, a half dozen though leadership articles and dozens of blogs posts.

Invest your marketing dollars wisely. Remember that helpful, valuable content is the gift that keeps on giving.

2 Responses to B2B Marketing Recidivism – How Defaulting To Your Comfort Zone Can Be Hazardous

  1. Dan Kraus says:

    Dawn, great post and a great example of why checkbook marketing just doesn’t work anymore. Sometimes its the vendor (like in this case), but in many instances is that the company actually has to be involved in the value-creation of their offer from the first “conversation” with a prospect.

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