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#fail: How to Suck at B2B Marketing Strategy

- April 8, 2020 2:12 pm

B2B Marketing Strategy & Failure

They say 80% of businesses fail, so it’s actually pretty easy to suck at B2B marketing strategy.

Still, a broken clock is right twice a day and you could get lucky, so here are some tips for covering all the bases in your next strategic marketing debacle.

Don’t Listen to Your Customers

The quickest way to fail is to ignore the people who might actually buy from you.

You know what’s best for your channel partners and customers, so why bother with getting their input? After all, it would be better if we didn’t have to deal with them at all, right? So why would we want to [gulp] actually talk to them? [shudder] It’s better to just go with your gut or just wing it altogether, what could go right?

Market research? Competitive intelligence? B2B mystery shopping? Don’t waste your time and money. An investment in market intelligence pales in comparison to what you could waste in R&D, inventory, advertising, and Google pay-per-click. And analysis just hurts our brains.

Skip the Marketing Plan

When you don’t know where you’re going, any way will take you there. The adventure! The excitement! Who doesn’t love a roller coaster? Planning gets in the way of all that.

While it’s true that many businesses fail, it’s important to think of yourself as unique. You’re one in a million! (That makes only 1,200 like you in China.) People will line up to buy your solutions possibly, so why wait? Rush something to market as soon as possible.

Forget “alpha” or “beta” testing – after all, it didn’t exactly keep the ancient Greeks in business.

This is America and you are not only free to fail, but you are free to fail in new and extraordinary ways, with absolutely no one to save you. You can start over and fail again and again. When you start trying to override your gut instincts with a big plan, you risk becoming just like every other successful business. Where’s the creativity in that?

If You Must…

If upper management, your board or investors insist on planning (the bastards), just make sure to involve as many people as possible – especially those whose roles put them furthest away from any customer interaction. The longer the meetings the better. Avoid strategy-centric roadmaps like the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) or brand story – they just get in the way of idea flow. Bad vibes, babe!

Here’s a tip: get your summer intern or recent graduate to lead the project. You’ve got bigger things to do.

If forced to hire an outside consultant and your out-of-work drinking buddy says no, pick the one with the best presentation, preferably something shiny and ready-to-go. You want recommendations that come without a lot of questions; you don’t want them wasting your time with due diligence!

Ps, Schmees

Don’t bother with the so-called 4 Ps of Marketing – that’s the sort of academic hooey that can also lead to planning, strategy and success.

While it’s possible to fail even with the best products and services, ignoring another P or two will greatly increase your chances (forget: product, pricing, placement, promotion). From the only-slightly-better mousetrap to copycatting the competition, there are many failure strategies that start with not minding your Ps:

  • Establish pricing far above or below perceived market value
  • Have a go-to-market strategy that competes directly with your channel partners, and ideally makes it unclear where and how to buy from you
  • Focus only on the visual side of branding while telling a story that’s all about you and how cool you are; don’t worry about the problems of your channel or customers
  • Get your Millennial nephew to create your website if you can get him to stop playing Fortnite
  • Spend as much money as you can on social media; don’t waste your time on keyword research, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, multimedia campaigns, or PR!

Pull the Plug as Soon as Possible

When things start getting rocky, don’t hesitate – just pull the plug!

Reflection, research and course correction will only lead to answers, and answers make it a lot harder to fail. And then who are you going to blame? Blame is a great way to keep the failures coming, especially if you use it to destroy the confidence of any up and coming talent on your sales and marketing team. Now you have more than just a fail, you’ve a system got that breeds failure.

Of course, if that’s not the kind of system you’re looking for, we can help you with the other kind but we can’t help if you don’t reach out to us.

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