The 3 Step B2B Marketing Exec’s Guide To Improving ROI and Slaying The CFO Dragon
Remember all of the books and articles that tell you how the Marketing Executive’s relationship with the CFO shouldn’t be contentious? Remember how they tell you that telling a story about marketing strategy and painting a clear picture will help the CFO be patient and understanding?
Remember how you followed that advice and got the hairs singed off of your ears when he bellowed his fiery disapproval at your ROI calculations and demanded more, now? Seems as if we’re going to need some more pragmatic advice for how to approach this problem, eh?
Laura is one of our stars from The Tale of Three Marketers, the greatest B2B marketing story ever told. Laura is a demand generation expert with one mission: conjure up a positive ROI for demand generation marketing and prove it to the fire breathing CFO.
Laura has tried everything.
She was the first in line for the fancy new CRM when it launched. ROI didn’t improve. Then, she got on board with marketing automation. Still nothing. Next it was Social Media marketing, then Content marketing. Then Laura took the kid gloves off and introduced Attribution Modeling and even Account Based Marketing.
But nothing works, and Laura can’t figure out why. Despite all of our fancy technology and advancements in the field of measurement and, yes, even the latest in artificial intelligence, nothing seems to move the needle on B2B Marketing ROI. It seems as if there’s some underlying problem preventing B2B Marketing ROI from improving. What is a gal to do?
Step 1: Solve the Correct Problem: B2B Targeting
There’s only one component in the B2B Demand Generation realm that hasn’t changed significantly in the last twenty plus years, and that’s targeting. Literally everything else has evolved, from the mediums we use to engage potential customers to the ways in which we measure the outcomes, but ROI hovers around the same level it always has. It’s because the underlying approach to whom we direct our fancy new tactics hasn’t evolved.
Firmographics and NAICS codes. That’s how it’s done. Always has been.
How big is the company? In revenue or number of employees? Take a guess at which job titles you want to target. Hope the information is correct on the contact level. You can even ask for ‘Manufacturing Companies’ if you’re really, really sophisticated. But NAICS codes are inaccurate, and people move from one position to the next and one company to the next every day, and half of your data is whack before you even press go on your fancy marketing campaign.
And half inaccurate data means a ton of waste. And this is why you end up looking like Laura here every time you go visit your CFO for a quarterly BBQ session with your butt on the menu. Your ROI Sucks, and it’s not even your fault. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Step 2: If The Old Stuff Doesn’t Work, Try Something New
Laura searched the realm high and low for a wizard who could cure her targeting ailments. She fought many battles, and completed many quests, but still seemed no closer to solving her problem. At long last, she finds a very wise wizard who knows of a new way to target for B2B Demand Generation campaigns.
It’s called ‘vector targeting,’ and it was developed by a room full of data science nerds and mathematicians for the exact purpose of destroying the status quo in B2B targeting. It takes a different approach to the problem that uses Artificial Intelligence to do some cool things; It’ll look at your best customer list and analyze it by dimensions you didn’t even know were possible.
It’ll use real-time natural language processing to analyze websites for clues as to what a company really does, not just use some B.S. NAICS code that doesn’t fit the bill. It’ll look for connections between those companies and who they buy from, and sell to. It can determine whether companies are B2B or B2C, or a combination of the two, and to what extent. It’ll analyze your best customers every which way and determine what the algorithmic ‘secret sauce’ is that makes them successful for you, and then it’ll apply that data to all the other companies out there and return a B2B Lookalike Targeting List.
Other artificial intelligence is just using the same old tired firmographic data and NAICS codes, and that’s why it’s not moving the needle. This is different.
And it’s guaranteed. And you can run pilots on a CPL basis.
Needless to say, Laura’s odds against the CFO dragon are improving.
Step 3: Win the Love of Your CFO
Dialing in your targeting on just the right people, at just the right companies, doing just the right jobs and in just the right positions has drastic implications. Before you were wasting a ton of your advertising budget talking to people who were never going to be good customers. Now you’re using advanced Artificial Intelligence to get your content in front of exactly who you want to be talking to.
Surprise, getting the right prospects into the top of your funnel has an effect on all stages of your sales cycle. You’ll get more funnel velocity, better outcomes from SDR activities, and even shorter buying cycles in some cases. Laura is feeling pretty good now about meeting with her CFO for her quarterly budget review.
How are you feeling about yours?