Maximum ROI - Brilliance and Luck!

How do you maximise the commercial returns from your B2B marketing campaigns? That was the question that exercised me for the chapter that I recently wrote for the soon to be released publication from B2B Marketing – The Evidence. Alongside contributions from colleagues across the industry, the report distils learnings from the shortlisted entries from last year’s B2B marketing awards. 

So what’s the answer?  If I had to boil it down to its essence, the secret sauce would have two main ingredients: great campaigns and a sprinkling of luck. There you have it – but while that may be true, it’s not particularly helpful or actionable.  So as a preview to my talk at the upcoming event The Evidence, here are a few core ingredients that go to make up a great campaign. If you want to hear more about how last year’s shortlisted campaigns successfully applied some of these principles, then join us at the Royal Institute of Great Britain on March 20.

Understand your audience

Most of the campaigns I reviewed went to great lengths to understand their audience and to figure out how best to reach them. Putting your intended customers at the centre of your thinking has implications across the development of your campaign – from identifying who they are and how you can get to them, to understanding their specific challenges, to engaging with them in a way that is meaningful to them. Reaching your intended audience doesn’t have to be a question of emailing a bought-in list, as we’ll see from the shortlist entries. And when it comes to understanding your audience, a quick piece of pragmatic research can provide confidence that your story will resonate as intended.

Partner with your sales colleagues

In most B2B scenarios, marketing doesn’t make the sale. Therefore we need to be on the same side as our sales colleagues. That means having clear definitions between sales and marketing  around  who will do what, what constitutes a good lead, and how we will share common measurements. Providing leads that sales will value and act upon is the clear objective here. Successful campaigns maximise returns by ensuring that early responses are nurtured until they are sales ready.

Great creativity is just as important in B2B

One of the things I really enjoy about looking at colleagues’ B2B campaigns is the realisation that even relatively ordinary products and services can come alive with some creative messaging.  So let’s all take inspiration from each other and dare to be memorable, informative or even entertaining in our campaign delivery.

It’s a multichannel world – no excuses

It clearly makes little sense to put all your investment into a single tactic in a single medium. We need to ensure that we’re delivering our message in the channels that our audience use – this needs to be the standard now, not an option (as Steve Kemish points out in a recent post). But it’s also about consistent delivery over time – so I was delighted to see that several of the shortlisted entries were in market for a sustained period of time.

Interaction deepens engagement

Looking at exciting creative is one thing, but if you can convince your audience to actually engage with your content at some level then they are starting to form a deeper relationship with you. This year I’ve seen some strong examples of questionnaires, self-assessment tools and live chats to enrich and deepen the connection.

These are just a few of the common strands that I picked up from reviewing last year’s shortlist. Of course it’s not just about whether you do these things, it’s about how well you do these things. At The Evidence I’ll share with you examples that may provide further food for thought. I hope to see you there.