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Harte Hanks report offers three tips to avoid B2B marketing pitfalls

There has been a seismic shift from vendor-led-to-prospect-driven buyer journeys in B2B marketing and traditional marketing has been irrevocably changed according to a recent report by marketing services group Harte Hanks. The fact that so many prospective buyers are doing research on their own and cost comparing before even contacting a company, a successful B2B marketer today has to be less campaign focused, and more geared towards a personalized and tailored approach to a prospective buyer, the study suggests.

 The report suggest that B2B marketers do not buy into one-size fits all campaigns; do not skimp on data management and do not be too quick to spend on video marketing. Here is how they break down the three things not to do in B2B marketing.

As far as being less campaign focused, the report says that the days of a vendor-led prospect-driven buyer journey are over.  Today, the goal is to achieve long-term engagement with your prospect and create long term buyer relationships.  All of your marketing activity should be geared towards the first stage in the buyer journey. Mini-campaigns, using insight and engagement that showcase your persona or brand as one that understands their needs, their ambitions and pain points.  Create a portrait of the key job roles your prospect has and target it with cohesive strategies and activities that are not blanket campaigns but personal and tailored.

The second thing not to do, according to the study, is neglect data maintenance and management. With the focus for B2B marketers increasingly on marketing automation, predictive analytics and targeted content creation, none of these innovations or strategies can operate without an up-to-date database. In order to keep data current and well maintained, the study suggests that a dependable individual or team should be allocated the responsibility for basic data quality.  If the entire database is scattered and incomplete, the study suggests focusing on one or two priority segments. Then, put measures in place for their ongoing maintenance.  Further, the study recommends to "shout" about the importance of data quality.  In other words, if senior managers and board members don't understand the value of data, build a clear case for it, showing the commercial impact of good versus poor data.

Finally, a third recommendation is not to invest in visual content without considering that a good quality and engaging video can be costly and sometimes ineffective. Too many brands decide on a video without considering that an outcome can be misleading at best and excruciating at worst. In other words, find a creative way to engage while conveying your messages implicitly, the study suggests. Further, production and image quality are vital in a world now accustomed to sophisticated videos and visuals. Also, it is now possible through market automation and content delivery platforms to see which videos, infographics or images were opened and whether users clicked to learn more. By evaluating and adjusting your content based on real metrics, you can measure success.  

Avoiding these three pitfalls will help B2B marketers make every customer interaction count.  The study urges that the focus be on effective and relevant communication over the long term, using up-to-date data driven techniques and strategies.

Featured by The Drum