With Tricia Wiles Ruiz, Creative Content Manager, True Influence
Executing on B2B marketing strategies always boils down to balancing near-term demands with long-term objectives. Sales needs SALs for next quarter, but your integrated outbound demand-gen and inbound content marketing strategy won’t start delivering a large volume of leads for another nine months.
This is the real world, and it all boils down to revenue, as our CMO Terry Arnold wrote recently. But many marketers end up abandoning their strategic plans largely because they aren’t expressed in clear, actionable terms that build confidence that the revenue will happen. There’s little buy-in from the C-Suite or sales, and so it’s easy to shift attention and resources to activities where there is a visible pay off.
The key to creating marketing strategies for 2022 that will ultimately result in revenue are to base them on data and insights about what is working today. Build your strategic goals from the ground up with focused tactics and campaigns with measurable, predictable results. Then follow-through with consistent, disciplined execution.
Because any strategy that doesn’t result in predictable revenue should not be your strategy.
I recently discussed best practices for establishing and executing on marketing strategies for 2022 with Joe Martin, the VP of Corporate and Demand Marketing for Scorpion, as part of True Influence’s Accelerating Revenue Series, filmed on LinkedIn Live every Tuesday. Martin, who started his own career as an analyst for Adobe, shared a lot of interesting and useful insights during the half-hour conversation. Here are just a few:
Get everybody on board, upfront
Before initiating any B2B marketing strategy, get solid buy-in from sales to the C-suite. Lay out the data that supports your strategies in ways that clearly illustrate how (and when) you plan to move the needle. This is critical in creating buy-in, particularly from sales, which is always going to be most interested in SALs and revenue.
“A lot of people bail on campaigns maybe a little too early, so I like to get commitments from our CMO and our CEO,” Martin says during our conversation. “It may take some time, but it works. You just have to be consistent and focused. So it’s a lot of data.”
Build graphs, visual workflows and other clear illustrations of how your strategy will result in revenue. Ultimately sales does a different job and are not going to find the details of marketing execution compelling. This approach also elevates the value of marketing to other areas of the business. Martin, who began his career at Adobe as a data analyst, says actualizing this kind of feedback is a huge strategic benefit of data-driven marketing.
Ensure your strategies address your business’ real-world challenges
If you know the sales pipeline is going to be hurting in Q2, don’t devote 75 percent of your resources to strategies that will break records in 2025. Again, this is the real world. Use intent data, your own first-party response and market intelligence to create a balanced set of strategies that address next quarter and next year.
Scorpion expects to have a solid 2022, but Martin is still actively frontloading the led gen queue for Q4/Q1 to build momentum for sales moving into the second half of 2022. He notes that last year, the “holiday lull” for digital signals extended a couple weeks longer than usual, and suggests that marketing teams might want to consider direct mail or other additional channels to generate engagement over the next few weeks.
It’s not just how, it’s when your marketing strategies will pay off
A big reason companies bail on marketing strategies is that they see them as a churn with no clear end in sight. So it’s essential to assign timelines to your strategies. These timelines should reflect that for some campaigns, you won’t start seeing a real uptick in key metrics until month 12, and that’s on plan. Establishing realistic, attainable expectations is key.
When he moved into his role at Scorpion this summer, one of Martin’s first projects was a major overhaul of the marketing technology and services companies web site, adding several more use cases and making it easier for users to contact the business. This project is accompanied by SEO campaigns that may take a year or more to really take hold. A clear timeline, with performance touchstones in place, will keep such strategies from getting back-burnered.
Check the alignment of your strategies to long-term business goals
The world changes, as you may have noticed that over the last two years, I know I did. As you create marketing strategies and tactics, be sure they sync with the long-term goals your company is pursuing. A classic example are your ideal customer personas. At the moment, Scorpion is focused on SMB and SME; if that changes, Martin says will need to adjust his audience targets. This kind of disconnect is all too common – lead scoring indicators get uploaded to a sales automation system and don’t get updated for years, regardless of what you actually learn about your best customers.
Set clearly focused goals for the campaigns that drive your strategy
As a former CMO himself, Martin says he understands the temptation to focus only on qualification triggers. But he also understands that “soft” engagement and social metrics contribute to the “messy journey” of a prospect reading tweets, getting social referrals and ultimately searching for your site and requesting a demo.
To make sure your team can execute consistently, Martin suggests defining a campaign’s success around its main purpose, either transactional or engagement. In fact, it’s a great idea to have specialized teams working in these categories, if resources allow. Analytics will help prove how the tactics work together at the strategic level, but make sure each action you take has a clearly defined purpose.
Base your strategies on real-world actionability
Every idea has merit, but time and money are limited, so marketers need to commit only to those strategies that they can execute on. Otherwise, you’ll end up bailing on a plan that may well have paid off if it had the needed time, money and skills behind it.
“When I left Adobe, we were a $10 billion AR company, and we never had enough resources,” Martin jokes.
Check out the episode!
Be sure to check out our full conversation with Joe Martin on your favorite platform of choice.