Posted by: Greg Ness | September 11, 2018

The Top 4 B2B Content Marketing Challenges

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Marketer’s Corner

Across 30 years of B2B marketing I’ve seen my fair share of changes.  The last ten years have probably been the most disruptive, especially when it comes to content marketing. Here is a list of the top four reasons why content marketing campaigns fail:

  • Weak prospect engagement. The decline of print publishing combined with the rise of marketing automation tools powered with lists provided by unscrupulous list brokers has created a storm of intent and identity confusion destroying the conditions for real dialogue. The result is a top of funnel “nuclear winter” (see my recent interview with Integrate’s Scott Vaughan) that is degrading prospect engagement, especially at top of funnel.
  • Scarce and expensive sales resources. High caliber sales people are expensive and hard to find. With weak engagement (see #1) those resources become even more expensive, because more time is wasted trying to manually resolve prospect identity and intent.
  • Trust and expertise is hard to establish. Attention spans are getting shorter and prospects are getting bombarded with content. Social bookmarking sites are getting flooded with content, and several are moderated by vendors, limiting dialogue. Some sites have even capped views/shares to encourage sponsored content programs.
  • Irrelevance. Some marketers focus on list and/or lead costs over quality, which leads to wasted sales resources and turnover. I remember getting approached at trade shows to swap badge scan lists so a marketing VP could make an incentive target. I refused, explaining that we only wanted to engage with people qualified at the booth, not attendees in general. The VP didn’t have responsibility for conversion and didn’t care.

Why do these factors matter? Because they have a direct impact on sales conversion rates (meetings, opportunities, win/loss).  Many marketers are improperly evaluated based on cost per lead, when conversion rates matter far more to overall sales and marketing success.

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Cheap lists can be one of your most expensive investments. Lists generated by media engagement will be filled with false positives and negatives, so the costs of qualification are passed onto your sales team and drive up sales costs.

Defining Excellence

If your sales team is converting more than twenty percent of marketing qualified leads to engagement you’re in pretty good shape. I’ve seen conversion rates approaching fifty percent for some types of advanced campaigns. Even better, the high sales costs issue mentioned above gets resolved if sales people are fully engaged and converting meetings to opportunities and closed/won.

Read more: The Toxic Marketing Cloud

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