The Importance Of Challenging What You Know


Too often in marketing, we allow the strategies we have always relied upon to distract us from new avenues for growth. Marketing is fluid, and the moment you think you’ve got it all figured out is the same moment that the script is flipped and you find yourself on the outside looking in. This is the perpetual cycle of business, and the only way out is through.

The tactics that once easily won in the marketplace can quickly become antiquated and even detrimental to your continued success. Being aware of this is the first step to staying ahead of the curve, but with awareness comes the responsibility to act.

Try new strategies. Experiment with workflows you’re unsure of. Don’t take anything for granted. By doing so, you won’t just reveal the actual value of what you think you know, but also new methods and practices that can only be discovered through iteration.

Below, I share six tips based on assumptions we ought to rethink.

There isn’t much differentiation between ‘awareness’ and ‘demand.’

In today’s world, there is no shortage of contact data for B2B audiences, and channels where you can reach them on a 1-1 basis are numerous. Awareness and demand tactics are no longer that different. It is high time to test your assumption that some activities are “awareness” and some are “demand.” The distinction may be a relic.

Don’t ignore home-grown leads in favor of paid platforms.

Viable leads for B2B marketing are coming less and less from social media sources or digital tactics. Yes, there are many platforms out there that purport to reach your B2B customers, but when you truly measure the benefits, do they stack up? Probably not. Some platforms talk about ABM (account-based marketing) and building contextual awareness of buying groups, but for B2B marketing the data is already there. You just need to get the data, have a strategy, communicate your value proposition and make an offer.

Put your strategies to the test.

The truth is that most marketing problems are strategic problems. The tactic hasn’t been tested, validated or shown to have product/market fit. You need to figure out the most effective elements of each strategy by putting them to the test, seeing what does and doesn’t work, and iterating based on your findings until you discover the optimal combination. Experiment with new types of offers. Try targeting different job titles and industries. You should always be ready to pivot to a new strategy to maintain the growth cycle as markets change.

Don’t make assumptions about your target market.

Marketing is empirical. Only with validation can we say we know anything, and that validation comes in the form of revenue. That’s why you need the hard facts about who you’re marketing to. Document your ICP (ideal customer profile). Work with sales to pull a target contact list based on this profile. Pull the ecosystem — B2B is always a group decision — as colleagues will forward relevant emails to others to pursue. Through this process, relevant leads will reveal themselves to you and serve as a guide for how to build the most effective strategies.

Find creative ways to use the data you already have.

While you may think a lack of data is one of the problems you face, chances are you already have more than enough. The real question is, are you extracting the right insights? Contact data typically gives you a lot of information about the people at a company or an account you want to connect with. The data will include information like LinkedIn profiles or phone numbers, viable points of contact that should be taken advantage of. You can even use contact data to triangulate your first-party data. There are many vendors that can help, so choose wisely and make sure the data is up to date.

You never know when the timing will be right.

Timing is everything. You may have the exact right target — the question is: When are they ready to make a move? It’s hard to know (sorry, the AI isn’t there yet), so it’s essential to be persistent, focused and determined. People do not choose your competition because you marketed to them too much. When someone chooses your competition, find out why and market against it.

You can’t take anything for granted in the world of marketing, even the strategies that you’ve traditionally been able to rely on. In fact, the success of those exact strategies may be distracting you from ways that they can be improved or new processes that you have yet to try. In marketing, the only way for us to arrive at the truth is through trial and error. If you believe something to be true, challenge that notion by testing it out and letting the results speak for themselves. By doing so, you’ll not only gain a deeper understanding of your current strategies but also the ability to respond quickly to changes in the market by pivoting to more effective methods when necessary.

Read the Forbes article here.