If you’ve had a marketing role in a smaller organization, I feel for you. Those can be tough seats.
I know, because I’ve sat in a few of them myself.
In the best cases, smaller companies can be exciting for B2B marketers. You work with tight budgets and a lot of moving parts. You can get a lot of responsibility quickly, acquire working knowledge of different marketing tactics, and have many formative experiences.
In the worst cases, it can be frustrating. You want to help, to succeed under difficult circumstances, to conquer each new challenge. But after a while, you realize the same B2b marketing challenges keep popping up. And that they’re avoidable.
I’ll give you three examples.
B2B Marketing Challenge #1: Sticking With Long-Term Strategies
The effects of marketing efforts take time to materialize. As many strategic marketing consultants will tell you, strategies start with a set of goals, and then you work backwards to define the budget, tactics, and timeline. Then you execute.
A lot of the tasks at the beginning of a marketing strategy are foundational. They center on tactics like selecting keywords, setting up campaigns, and creating collateral.
Which, for the record, can be a lackluster set of tasks.
But the results of the work are exciting. Generally speaking, when you’re knocking out focused tasks and hitting small targets, you usually see a bump in your metrics. You see more contacts in your database, you get more likes, or you get a few mentions. And it feels good to see quick results.
But then things tend to slow down, and the pressure builds from higher up.
“Maybe this strategy isn’t working anymore,” they think, drumming their fingers on their mahogany desks. “Perhaps it’s time for something new.”
I’ll admit that the idea phase is fun and exciting. But real results stem from committing to execution over the long term.
Sure, you can start over, drum up a bunch of new contacts, and pat yourself on the back. But if you never support those contacts, or don’t give them a good reason to buy from you, what’s the point?
Challenge #2: Playing to Your Strengths as B2B Marketers
In a smaller company, a lack of resources can play to your advantage. You can pivot more quickly. You can be more focused. You can work under the competitive radar. And that can make you dangerous.
But without clear objectives, a focused plan, or even a clear list of responsibilities, a lack of resources can be detrimental. If you also happen to be sitting in that aforementioned, tough marketing seat, it can be disheartening. You can get saddled with a lot of miscellaneous to-dos. Or, worse still, you can be tasked with the workload of an entire marketing department.
Self-awareness and focused action is crucial when you’re up against the world. If you can be honest about your situation, play to your strengths, and follow the plan, you can be a real threat to the lumbering, disorganized competition.
Challenge #3: Continuing to Learn
One of the most frustrating answers to “Why do we do it this way?” is “Because we’ve always done it this way.” It implies that someone figured out a solution years ago, and that became the rule.
Figured it out. Forever. First try.
Imagine a world happy with the status quo. A world without calculated risk. A world uninterested in learning more.
Challenges beget opportunities. And if you continue to take on challenges, embrace risk, and learn from your mistakes, you’ll be stronger for it. Don’t be afraid to try new things, to refine old processes, or even to ask for help.