The hardest part of B2B marketing is fighting internal battles.Think about this. Of all the incredibly challenging things we all have to struggle with, we’re most daunted by getting our bosses or boards or other departments to value us, listen to us and take our advice (these are the kinds of words people used — they’re masked by our aggregated term “Convincing internal people”). I don’t know about you but seeing this in the cold light of Excel kind of gave me a kick in the head. But when I thought about it a bit, it not only makes sense, it explains a lot of what I’ve experienced in my 25 years in the business. Here’s what I think this curious little crumb of data actually means: B2B marketers are not very powerful We’re not highly valued inside our companies Our expertise is suspect Why would this be so? I hate to say it but it’s probably because the doubters are absolutely right: B2B marketers have not earned the respect of our peers and our bosses because we have not delivered clear, undeniable value to our businesses. Ouch. Part of this may be that B2B businesses are less likely to be ‘marketing driven’ than consumer marketing companies are (I could be wrong but I’d be amazed if B2C marketers were as concerned by internal obstacles). In Nike and Coca-Cola, marketing is the most powerful department not one of the least. Rightly or wrongly, B2B companies are often more sales-driven or engineering-driven. You don’t find many consumer brands that aren’t all about the marketing. A client-side issue Our first reaction to the topline data was to ask, “Was the focus on internal obstacles skewed by agency-side whingers?” We thought it must be but the data says quite the opposite. Here’s how client-side marketers differ from agency/supplier side: As you can see, the agency side didn’t really rate the internal problems highly at all. They did, however consider things like “Proving value to prospects” and “getting C-level buy-in” as the hardest part of their jobs — far higher than their client-side peers. So it seems safe to say that many B2B marketers within companies are struggling in their efforts to be heard, valued, respected and left alone to do what they know is right for the business. What can we do about it? The B2B Marketing Manifesto is really all about this challenge: how marketers can thrive in The Land of Accountability” — and prove our value as we do it. So the first action is to read the damn thing and see if it inspires a new way of thinking about your job. Then, it feels like it’s time for some soul-searching: How much value are you really adding to your business? Can you prove it? Have you shown the evidence to the important stakeholders? If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions, here’s a follow-up: Why not? B2B marketers of the world: rise up! We have nothing to lose but the poor opinion of our peers… What do you think? We’d love to hear your views on this. —— Want the full Open Robe picture? Project Open Robe Part 1 – the one where we commit ourselves in public (Planning) Project Open Robe Part 2 – the one where it all kicks off (Thinking) Project Open Robe Part 3 – the one where confidence starts to rise (First results) Project Open Robe Part 4 – the one where the trick shots start (Cross-promotion) Project Open Robe Part 5 – the one where we share the first month’s results (Reviewing) Project Open Robe Part 6 – the one where we toughen up (Soul Searching) Project Open Robe Part 7 – the one where we find the world’s best marketers (Segmenting) Project Open Robe Part 8 – the one where we show that design isn’t everything (Style v Substance) Project Open Robe Part 9 – the one where lead nurturing proves its worth (Marketo) Project Open Robe Part 10 – the one where the form fights back (Form v No Form) Project Open Robe Part 11 – the one about autoDMs in Twitter Project Open Robe Part 12 – the one about re-purposing and atomising your content Project Open Robe Part 13 – the one with an early peek at the outcomes Project Open Robe Part 14 – the one where it ends (before it starts again) A kind of Quasi–Methodology The data above represents the first 254 responses to the open-ended question, “The hardest part of B2B marketing is___”. Of these, 189 were client-side and 65 were agency or supplier-side (including marketing tools vendors). There was a wide variety of answers, which we grouped into 35 different buckets. If someone gave two or three answers, we counted them all. Someone else looking at the raw data might put a few responses into different buckets than we did, but the numbers are big enough to feel our results are worth noting.
Are B2B marketers wimps? Project Open Robe part 6
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