What if marketing had a “check engine” light?

Peter Ross

VP, Corporate Marketing

check engineI started my car this morning to head to work and the dreaded “check engine” light decided to turn on.  Aaaaaargh!  Not the best way to start my day, but much better than breaking down on the side of a busy highway waiting for a tow truck. The warning light serves an important function – reminding me that something isn’t working right and I better fix it before worse things happen. So, malfunctioning engines got me thinking about the same concept for B2B marketing campaigns. Wouldn’t it be ideal if a “check marketing” light flashed on when things weren’t going as planned for your programs? I think most marketers would rather know (than not) if the leads they are generating meet a certain quality standard, or their branding efforts are getting in front of the most engaged buyers and the right prospects are consuming all of their high quality content.  When things aren’t going so smoothly for marketing, here are a few of the signals that we tend to see:

  • Sales teams that constantly remind their marketing counterparts the leads they are passing along are NO good (read: your leads suck).
  • Sub-par click thrus, opens, downloads, views, follows, likes, re-tweets, etc.
  • Negative social comments, unsubscribes, un-follows, event no-shows.

Fix your marketing before it breaks

 Without question, many of these “signals” can be a marketers nightmare and there are a lot more examples of marketing that didn’t work out as planned.  If you simply Google the phrase, “marketing campaigns gone wrong,” you can learn from the many avoidable mistakes made by lots of B2B marketers just like me and you. But if you look at these different warning signals more like a “check engine” light, you can make the right mid-course corrections to better identify and fix the issues before they become an irreparable problem.  What are some of the diagnostics B2B marketers can consider before that irritating “light” starts flashing? A few of the proactive approaches we have employed, along with ones we have observed other tech marketers using, include:

Test, test and then test again

  • Continuously test your messages, emails, offers and content to determine which work best and resonate with our target audiences.  Don’t take the fire, ready, aim approach to your outbound messaging.

Give your customers a sneak peek

  • Capture customer feedback on your marketing programs and message before they go out the door.  Work with a handful of candid, committed customers who care enough to give their unfiltered feedback on your marketing to make sure it works.

Sales only wants Grade A leads

  • Ensure all sales leads meet high thresholds of qualification before sharing with your sales teams.  Rate your leads based on the aggregate actions of each contact and full account to determine their true purchase intentions. This is the only way you will be able to get on the same page with sales on the ROI of programs.

Next time you see the “check engine” light turn on during any of your marketing experiments, try to use it as an opportunity to fix it before it breaks.  Don’t fool yourself, every marketer has lived and learned through their share of mishaps.  What are some of yours?

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