Value Based B2B Marketing Requires Good Leads

What’s your company’s tolerance level for experimentation and learning through failure? If you’re a client of VaynerMedia, it must be really high, based on a recent video for AdAge’s Digital Crash Course featuring company’s founder, Gary Vaynerchuk.

When it comes to pushing clients onto social media platforms, according to the accompanying article, “His methodology is straightforward; instead of picking winners and losers, he bets on them all. But he says there is more to it than ‘throwing a bunch of s*** at the wall and hoping something sticks.’ There’s a tremendous amount of upside in failure.”

Well, “freedom to fail” is all the rage in the tech industry these days, as businesses seek to implement faster decision-making and shake up traditional product and service delivery processes. But truth be told, the vast majority of folks are more inclined to focus on not failing—the technology adoption curve shows that only about 13% of companies are willing to be early adopters of new technology, and even fewer are willing to be true innovators.

Nonetheless, there is much to be said for experimenting with new venues that may capture the hearts and minds of the more forward-looking prospects. The issue is how much budget you’re willing to devote to experimentation versus traditional, tried-and-true tactics and strategies.

As Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content at MECLABS Institute writes in a column at MarketingExperiments, there are really only two types of marketing:

  • The “Let’sThrowEverythingWeHaveAtTheCustomerAndSHOUTITREALLYLOUD!” type, which seems to be the Vaynerchuk approach.
  • Then, there’s the value-based marketing approach, which Burstein says is much harder. “It involves discovering what customers really want, creating products and services with true value for the customer, and clearly communicating those values.”

It’s easy for a marketing team to sit in a room and drum up some compelling statements about the value their company’s products and services brings to the market. From there, it’s also easy to pay for rented lists of prospects at which to aim campaigns. But too often, those campaigns fall flat. The problem most likely is that even if the prospect list is on-target, the campaign has not connected with the values driving the prospect’s decision-making. Instead, it’s aiming at the general demographic target rather than trying to address the prospect one-to-one.

“Due to the term business-to-business, many marketers focus on the demographics of a certain business (size, industry, revenue, etc.) when developing their campaigns. However, the decision makers are people,” says Richard Wright, CEO of Wright’s Printing & Marketing, in a compilation of tips from a panel of 33 marketing experts put together by Docurated. “Effectively marketing to the people inside of the company transforms a B2B company into a one-to-one market.”

That one-to-one method requires good leads. According to one recent survey, “the top two priorities for B2B marketers are increasing lead quality and lead volume” and “59% of respondents said generating high quality leads is their biggest B2B lead generation challenge.” That same report says 80% of respondents rate their lead generation efforts as only slightly or somewhat effective.

Many of those lukewarm results are attributed to lack of high quality data/lists to drive campaigns. Renting a pre-packaged prospect list is almost certain to increase frustration. The list is either built specifically for a previous client, based on aged and inaccurate data, or designed primarily around a generic demographic target.

We’ve found that custom-building lists to each client’s prospect goals is the surest way to connect to the buyer’s values. We analyze client data and combine it with our own intelligence to understand the target market. Then, leveraging our internal sources with external sources to fill in missing data or firmographics, where we phone-confirm all contact information to ensure accuracy. From that custom database, we generate prospect surveys that connect with a subset of the leads to build account intelligence, discover prospect values and create marketing insights.

Rather than throwing stuff at the wall to find out what sticks, we focus on getting into the minds of prospects. Freedom to fail is great for some, but our clients are focused on succeeding.