Get your B2B demand generation game back

Get your B2B demand generation game back

February 10, 2020

What do you do when your new branding/rebranding or product launch—despite all your hard work and effort—gets put on pause for what might appear to be no good reason?

How frustrating! But now it’s time to dust yourself off, assess the situation and get back in the game. Here are three common stumbling blocks that can come from nowhere to derail your efforts when you least expect it—and some suggestions for getting your vision for the future back on track. Because there’s no crying in baseball.

1. Subjective opinions

Sometimes, your brick wall can look a lot like your boss. Or any member of leadership who doesn’t like the color orange. Maybe you left a few key people out of the process in the interest of time or money, and now they want to leave their mark—even if it means holding up the launch or creates rework just for the sake of rework.

If your brick wall is a subjective opinion held by an individual, sometimes a simple color, image or message tweak is all that’s needed to save a good campaign from being put out of commission to undergo major—if not strictly necessary—body work. But for our money (and yours), the best way to deal with this problem is to preempt it—with some good old-fashioned research. Because concept testing isn’t just for consumer marketing—it’s how B2B marketers validate their work.

Just for example, let’s say a key stakeholder has expressed doubts that your new branding initiative will “resonate with our audience.” You could respond by producing the user interview data or A/B testing results that prove your point, or you could spend a month spinning your wheels as you go back over everything and try to “fix” an issue that—for all you know—may not be an issue at all.

It’s also a great way to make sure the end result of your project is the best it can be, right from the get-go. Check out this article for more on that.

2. Budgets

You might get questions like, “How will this help us achieve more organic growth?” or “How will this improve our B2B market penetration?” These questions are usually a way of rephrasing more direct questions like, “How will this actually pay off for us?” and, “How will this make it easier to hit our goals?”

Our advice? Dazzle ‘em with data.

If you can demonstrate that your campaign will be able to contribute to your company’s sales goals, you’ll be in a much better position to justify the necessity of your campaign.

For example, the 2018 report from The CMO Survey found that B2B marketers plan to commit as much as 54.8% of growth spending toward developing their market penetration strategies. If you’re a part of one such organization, you should have a plan to show how your initiative helps achieve this goal.

Data can also help eliminate bias and subjectivity from the process altogether. Armed with proof points and fact-based support for your campaign (like the fact that, according to McKinsey, strong B2B brands outperform weak ones by up to 20%), along with a plan for meeting and measuring post-launch goals—that brick wall starts to look more and more like a stepping stone to rock-solid results.

3. Misalignment

Now’s the time to get the gang back together. Maybe the problem comes from a misunderstanding of your project’s goal. Maybe people are interpreting the brief differently. Regroup with all internal stakeholders to facilitate a structured discussion. The goal here isn’t “group think” but group consensus.

You want to make sure everyone feels that they’ve been heard, but design-by-committee won’t lead you anywhere productive. Review the objectives of your rebranding efforts against stakeholder input and data, then lead the group toward a final decision—and a path forward.

One more thing ...

Setbacks happen. Sometimes there’s a good reason that ends up being a blessing in disguise. Sometimes there isn’t. Whatever the case, it’s good to remember that marketing may be all about people, but it’s not personal.

Remember the old board game Chutes & Ladders, and what happened when you landed on the wrong spot? It’s a little like that … a temporary setback. In the end, you’ll be another day wiser with the finish line in sight.

If you need some help getting past a pothole, we’re always ready to roll up our sleeves and help out.

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