Are you finding B2B marketing boring?
What's on this page:
Let us introduce you to the elephant in the room.
There are 827,000 Google Search results for the term ‘B2B marketing is boring’.
48% of B2B buyers are bored by the marketing they’re seeing.
What’s even more worrying, is that the marketers creating this stuff already know it’s boring, but they still have to sit down and build these boring campaigns that bore their bored audience.
It’s a terrifying, boring cycle.
We became marketers in the first place to come up with exciting ideas, but B2B marketing is shackling creatives with these mind-numbing ideas of what marketing should be.
We’ve fallen into a lead generation hole.
B2B marketing itself isn’t boring, but the dull lead gen tasks taking up your time are.
On this page, we’re going to be honest. We’re going to name and shame boring lead gen tasks, we’re going to talk about the exciting things marketers could be doing, and we’re going to tell you how to save yourselves from B2B boredom.
Pick an item from the side menu, or scroll down for the full thing.
You're probably sick of...
We could count on a two-toed sloth’s foot the number of enjoyable e-books we’ve read.
They’re not much fun to read, and they’re definitely not much fun to write.
So why do people still produce them?
Because people still need to generate leads so they can reach their MQL target, and long-form, gated content helps them get there, despite the fact that e-books aren’t much fun for the writer or the reader.
Read more on the future beyond ebook content marketing here.
Dealing with list vendors
We love email marketing.
A/B testing subject lines, coming up with fun copy, getting stuck into the audiences. This is all great stuff, this is fun marketing!
What we don’t love is the month leading up to the campaign. The back and forth with a list vendor who sends irrelevant, out of date data, while you rage like a 14 year old who loses on the Playstation.
Why is it, that every time you want to run a campaign without getting your domain blacklisted, you have to spend hours manually checking an email list.
Why do lead list transactions feel like they’re taking place behind your local cinema.
Dealing with data vendors is so time consuming, and so boring!
A continuation of the previous point.
Pray that your office chair absorbs you. You’ve just handed a lead list from your list vendor over to the SDRs, and you can hear the disconnect tones. The SDR, Ellen, is giving you evils from across the room, and she’s only been here a week.
Why is marketing responsible for the unpredictability of lead lists? Why should you feel guilty for the shoddy work of a third party?
This part of marketing sucks, and if you’re still involved in it, we really don’t envy you.
Sponsoring trade shows
Admittedly, sponsoring trade shows to get the attendee list isn’t quite as boring as the things we’ve just listed. But it does have a different problem…
What a way to burn through your budget! Sure, you’ll have plenty of leads towards your MQL target, but you’ll have to hitchhike to the quarterly meeting. There are smarter ways to get your leads, trust us.
Sponsored e-blasts and newsletters
Like snapping turtles, you’ll be punished for thinking sponsored e-blasts and newsletters are harmless.
Dropping unannounced into a stranger's inbox isn’t a great look when they’re not interested in your product. The targeting for e-blasts tends to range from poor to non-existent, so you’ll end up with a lot of scorched earth.
Plus, are there many greater sources of B2B boredom than creating ads for an audience you don’t know?
Where’s the targeting? Where’s the specialisation? Where’s the testing?
We speak about the problem with eblasts in more detail here.
Syndicated content isn’t always bad. Sharing articles on forums and blog sharing sites isn’t necessarily bad. It just gets annoying when you’re posting it willy nilly.
The real problem is with traditional content syndication: mailing your e-book to a third party’s subscriber list. Aside from being an annoying first point of contact with the people you want to impress, this way of generating leads is boring, expensive, and provides little to no results.
Sounds like a task we’d rather avoid.
Here's the problem
When you’re running outbound and inbound marketing campaigns just to reach your MQL target, you’re not gearing campaigns towards a good experience for the buyer.
Can you believe we’ve actually lost sight of that?
Campaigns are geared towards gathering more B2B data. The buyer experience isn’t just secondary, it’s pretty much ignored.
Lead KPIs trap marketers in a hamster wheel of lead generation. There’s no time to get creative, because before you know it it’s 1st of the month and you need to start sending e-blasts again.
There’s a better way to do things.
What happens when you let go of lead generation? When you let a Sales Intelligence company collect contact data for you and rescue you from B2B boredom?
Marketing starts to look a lot more interesting.
B2B marketing isn't boring
Do away with the boring lead generation tasks we’re hardwired to do, and take a look around.
People are doing some pretty cool things this year. Let’s take a look at the things we could be doing if we shifted our focus.
Create value-led content
First of all, content can be ungated. People who want to read or view your best content can now do so without signing up to an email nurture. More unique page views, more engagement, more demand.
Secondly, you no longer have to optimise content for lead generation. You don’t need a CTA at the bottom of every ungated content piece leading to a gated resource. You can write content just to provide value, and now that you’re not bothered with gated forms, you can take your best content away from the website and leave it where your audience actually hangs out.
The quality of your content will be elevated by this, and writing interesting content is just so much fun.
Run campaigns that drive demand
Lead generation campaigns are usually stale and visible from a mile off.
If lead generation is no longer a concern, where can you take your campaigns?
You can view them from the same perspective as your content. Looking to generate demand and provide a better buyer experience. The individual consumer becomes the focus of your campaign, rather than the faceless horde.
You can understand your audience on a deeper level by listening to sales calls and conversations with existing customers. Campaigns will become more exciting now that you’re able to test and activate new channels like YouTube and TikTok, based on your customer research.
You can start asking yourself ‘how can we create something that’s enjoyable for our audience to consume’, and, ‘how can we create something that we enjoy making.’ These are the questions being asked in high-performance marketing teams.
Split content between journalism and SEO
If you’re not focused on creating e-books to generate leads, your writers are going to have more time on their hands.
At Cognism, we decided to split our resources between SEO content and journalistic content.
Journalistic writers are encouraged to find the latest story. Uncover the most exciting trends on LinkedIn, discover interesting thought leaders in unexplored niches. We’ve now got the time to research and expand on the hottest topics, and position ourselves at the forefront of marketing innovation.
SEO writers are improving our internet presence every day. With the time saved on writing e-books, they’re taking courses on SEO, updating old pages, and conducting deep keyword research.
Very quickly our team emerged from the MQL hamster wheel, and began innovating and elevating our content.
Work with influencers and subject matter experts
How can you take journalistic content to the next level?
By building relationships with influencers and subject matter experts. The people driving the narrative in your industry are already out there, and they’re already creating game-changing content. Find a way to bring them onboard and become the megaphone that shares their thoughts.
If leading influencers aren’t a realistic target in your industry, keep an eye out for micro-influencers. It’s the age of personal branding, and a huge number of intelligent people are building audiences on social media. These people are looking for a company to elevate their voice, and you’re looking for hot takes. Get in touch!
Influence dark social
Dark social isn’t a trending Netflix show, it’s a term given to all of the places you can’t see, where people are discussing your brand.
Out of sight, out of mind?
These are some of the most important conversations people are having, and just because you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean they’re not important.
We’ve developed a deeper understanding of the buyer journey now. Customers aren’t taking linear routes: LinkedIn ad, blog post, demo, customer.
They’re bouncing all over the place, learning bits here and there: LinkedIn ad, conversation with friend, search on Reddit, look at G2, read a blog, talk to their colleague, demo, customer.
There are steps here that we haven’t been optimising for, because we haven’t had the time and it’s not measurable. Don’t confuse haven’t with shouldn’t. These steps are just as important as the others.
With the time freed up from easing off on the boring lead generation tactics, you’ll be able to establish a presence in some important channels:
- Organic social media
- Non-conversion based paid social
- Slack communities
- Direct and personalised communication
- Facebook and LinkedIn groups
- 3rd party events (non-sponsored!)
Provide value in these places and people will talk about it! You’re not trying to find immediate customers, you’re trying to engage with the people who matter to your business.
Positive conversations about your brand will follow.
Offer your nurtures on demand
What happens to email nurtures when you’re more focused on providing value than pushing prospects down a funnel?
The problem with email nurtures is that you’re not offering enough choice. You decide which content you’ll show your prospect. You decide when. They have no say in the matter.
We offer our nurtures on demand.
With a nurture email, we include a link to all of our nurture resources. If they’re interested, prospects have direct access to a valuable resource hub, hosted on our site.
We’re putting our audience in charge of their own journey.
Care about the metric that really counts
You can chase MQLs so far down the rabbit hole that you’ll lose sight of the only thing that really matters…
MQLs are comfortable. You know where you are and it’s reassuring when you hit target. But really what’s the point if your campaigns aren’t converting?
Assigning a revenue target to the managers in your team will change things. A unified target, that actually makes a difference, that everyone can pull towards. How refreshing!
Viewing your marketing actions through the lens of revenue is going to change the campaigns you run. Suddenly, everything feels a lot more important, and marketing can act as a revenue generating channel, rather than a pure sales-enablement function.
Familiarise yourself with the metrics Cognism measures in the webinar below.
Remember all of the marketing campaigns you imagined running when you applied for this job?
Funny ads, actors in costumes, podcasts, multi-channel campaigns about how boring B2B marketing can be if you spend all your time focused on lead generation…!
The greatest thing about finding more time in marketing, is that it gives you more time to think, to plan, to have a laugh! Marketing can be so much fun when you’ve got time to be creative. It’s the reason you got into this in the first place, so get on with it!
How to find B2B marketing less boring
Reliable contact data is still a core part of any marketing campaign. We’re not saying you should do away with it.
We just don’t think creative marketers should be spending all of their time on it.
Get your contact data from a Sales Intelligence provider and liberate yourself from the boring lead generation tasks you weren’t enjoying.
Feel free to take a look at some of the most popular sales intelligence companies here.
Or, head straight for the best. Speak to a Cognism expert today.