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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - “Roadblocks Confronting B2B Marketing Growth”

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “Roadblocks Confronting B2B Marketing Growth” uncovers several challenges that the B2B marketing community and their respective brands are facing. To be clear, and by definition, acceptable growth as defined by the majority of U.S. MBA programs and business schools is typically agreed upon as 4 percent. Any growth above 4% is considered excellent, and of course, growth rates that fall below the 4% average are considered subpar.

In addition to the growth bar, both B2B and B2C organizations are confronted with competitor challenges, as well as, the requirement of adopting and integrating technological advances,  necessary for both brand sectors to remain viable.  One needs to look no further than the demise of Toys-R-Us, that shook the ever diminishing brick and mortar retail block.

Additionally, the U.S. government contends that producing a 3% annual GDP growth rate would be the clip that would turn the tide pushing the economic battle to the ultimate good. Therefore, that U.S. 3% GDP growth rate target further cements any value nearing the MBA’s higher 4% growth rate significance.

In order to successfully navigate the winds of competitive change, several areas of concern need to be addressed.  The most notable areas are those where value can be identified by conducting a thorough S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to better understand the landscape; developing a strategic plan and managing budgets to offset increased marketing investments.

That said, once those aforementioned areas of concern are in place, the on-the-ground roadblocks can be more easily recognized and dealt with. So, let’s dive into a few of the roadblocks confronting B2B marketing growth.

Customer Retention

Achieving customer retention in the age of instant consumer comparability lands that roadblock challenge squarely at the forefront as a potential liability for any brand. Churn, the amount of new clients versus clients leaving the brand is what keeps sales managers awake at night. Every quarter of every year is confronted with churn percentages. The number of new clients added to the brand’s list must outweigh the number of clients leaving the brand, or the brand will ultimately fail to exist.

The art of retaining customers has become exponentially more difficult to achieve. In today’s nano-second, instant gratification environment, it can take just one instance of a negative or subpar CX (customer experience) that forces that customer out of the brand’s good graces, and ultimately into the bin of negative customer reviews. Not to mention, a customer who feels slighted by a CX misstep also presents a high probability that the negative experience will be shared on social media, which can affect both current customers, as well as, potential customer views about the brand.

According to executives at Madison Logic, close to 50% of brands are of the belief that customer retention tops the list of challenges presented by the highly competitive marketplace. And to that end, ABM (account based marketing) is the logical step in reducing churn and keeping current customers with the brand.

Enhancing Internal Processes

Today’s internal processes are far more widely subjugated under the technology rule and brands that fail to address technology’s impact on internal processes will be left to the wayside. In addition, how the internal processes are set up will also influence best practices and marketing strategies.

Continuing with reports from Madison Logic executives, there are three technological attributes that brands will need to address:

  1. 91% - Stated digital transformation
  2. 85% - Stated Big Data
  3. 70% - Maintaining latest technologies

Failure to manage this technological triad could ultimately lead to the brands running into a red light.

Competitive Innovation

Innovation, a hallmark of R&D practices continues to be a roadblock if not attended to for any brand looking to stay competitive. Brands looking to compete and remain relevant must introduce better products and/or services, which means the innovation process is vitally important to remain or increase competitive advantages.

Brands must adopt the mindset that continuing with the same product offerings, year in and year out, will fail to produce different results, and more importantly, are more likely to position the brand as an irrelevant commodity. In fact, 54% of B2B marketers allude to innovation as being one of their largest bones of contention.

In looking at innovation from a satellite perspective, 30% of products developed by many brands happened within the past five years. That translates into a shortage of innovation, and could be a result of R&D budget cuts. Therefore, brands should re-commit to the innovation process that will aid in achieving a competitive edge as well as establishing the brand as a leading proponent by continually making better products.

Competitor Benchmarking

The early days of marketing always had a provision to secure knowledge depicting the competitive landscape. The Gannett newspaper organization was dedicated to providing their sales departments with competitive analysis, with programs such as Veritas, which has since morphed into a big data organization. Retailers such as the now defunct Musicland, owner of Sam Goody stores, conducted and dispatched secret shoppers to evaluate other brick and mortar retailers in the business of selling music CDs and videos.

Brands faced with the roadblock of being able to rise above the competition, which actually means being able to at least keep up with competitors, presents quite an impact for a sizable chunk of the B2B marketing community. For the record, Madison Logic states that 49% of B2B marketers believe that maintaining a level playing field with the competition impacts their marketing efforts. Of these respondents, only 38% stated they have a competitive analysis strategy that is part of the their overall marketing strategy.

41% of these same B2B marketers also came to the conclusion that the competitive research would be a high priority pointing to the most useful investments to make in the upcoming couple of years. Competitive analysis yields great return on the marketing investment and better positions the marketing arm of the brand to create relevant messaging that has the opportunity to render other competitors irrelevant.

Improving Market Share

Unless a brand has created a truly unique, one-of-a-kind product, increasing market share is the roadblock most difficult to master. In the B2B world, as in the B2C environment, luring customers away from a brand they are locked into supporting is no easy task. For one, in today’s ever increasing landscape of competitive information fueled by consumer reviews and conversations, brands looking to entice consumers away from a brand they believe in is more than a ride down the yellow brick road.

For all the challenges B2B marketers are facing, gaining market share is the heaviest lift. Similar to political shifts and gains, increasing market share is among the most challenging obstacle of those preventing growth. Further, brand sales also enjoy a shift in consumer momentum, albeit going either up or down and also known as inertia. Marketing research is the answer to solving the inertia roadblock issue and by investing in marketing research, brands will greatly reduce the market share roadblock.

Market research pulls the proverbial cover off the reasoning as to why consumers opt to stick to a particular brand. Most marketing experts agree that market research offers critical insights that can help provide a path to unlocking consumer loyalty of competing brands. In the case of advancing market share, separating the loyalty curve is the hallmark trigger to increase market share.

The Net-Net

We contend that by investing and applying the results gleaned from implementing these few action points, the outcome will be greatly aided in countering the roadblocks that hinder B2B marketing growth. Happy Strategic B2B Marketing Growth Development!

Let’s have a conversation about direct mail strategies, printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, July 26th, 2018, anytime between 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com