B2B marketers: denial is not a strategy

B2B marketing dinosaur

We’re a good few years into the B2B marketing revolution. But for most B2B companies, marketing budgets and strategies are still based on the old principles and practices, fueled by some serious denial. Here’s a bracing, wake-up call to brighten up your Monday:

It would be great if your prospects still looked to you first when educating themselves about purchase decisions.

But they don’t. You’re far down the list — unless you do something to climb higher up it.

It would be great if everyone who had something to say about you said it to your face.

But they won’t. They’ll say it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Quora, Focus, Pinterest, Flickr, Path and all sort of weird and wonderful social platforms. Get used to it. Join in.

It would be great if prospects contacted your sales team early in the buying process.

Why should they? They don’t want to be sold to yet. Give them some of your expertise before asking them to engage with sales.

It would be great if your product-centered advertising and emails still worked.

They don’t.  Go ahead: chart your click-through rates over the last two years.

It would be great if pay-per-click ads were still affordable and you could find some hidden keywords no one else knew about.

Those days are gone. You can still play in PPC but don’t expect it to fill your pipeline all by itself.

It would be great if Google hadn’t figured out all the old SEO boondoggles.

But they have. So SEO isn’t about out-smarting an algorithm built with umpteen-billion-dollars of R&D investment.  SEO is about giving searchers want they’re searching for.

It would be great if you could simply go back to the old ways.

But you can’t. The choice is not whether the new kind of B2B marketing (content + social + outbound + SEO + analytics + marketing automation + CRM) is better than the old kind (advertising + sitting back and waiting).

The old ways are gone. And no amount of denial can bring them back.

The good news: the new stuff is much more effective, measurable and just-plain fun.

And it plays to your real strengths (your undisputed expertise) instead of throwing you into a shouting competition with every equally shouty competitor.

Take a look at your marketing plan. Now pull out that compact mirror, look yourself in the eye, and ask yourself, “How much of this plan is still based on denial?”

Then cancel that part and invest in content + social + outbound + SEO + analytics + marketing automation + CRM.

Have a great week.


A very eye opening piece. Sometimes what we NEED to hear is what no one wants to say. The market is definitely evolving and not on a yearly basis. With mobile and technology as it is now things are moving at a very fast pace.

I think most ‘non-marketing’ people are starting to understand that the “old ways” just don’t work any more, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them!

I certainly hear fewer department heads say “but that’s not how we did it before” these days.

That said, when the pressure is on (time, money, results) it’s amazing to see how quickly people revert back to “what they know” … i.e. what worked for them in the past.

One of the unspoken advantages of Marketing Automation is it doesn’t allow this to happen!

Thanks Jeff and Simon — it’s true, we’re seeing fewer ‘deniers’ these days too.

But when we do, it’s interesting that the objection tends to sound like, “Can we just get the world to go back to how it was?”

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