B2B, Business-to-Business Marketing is different, or certainly should be — particularly when it comes to Helping People and Making Money in the professional services arena. So, I believe there are four key questions, considerations (I call them the 4 Rs) that I think we should all invest time, energy and effort in exploring before we make important B2B marketing decisions.
The first “R” is Reality, current reality. For most consultants, coaches, attorneys, CPAs, anyone who provides specialized knowledge and expertise to serve other business people, traditional consumer marketing approaches are simply too slow, too expensive, and worst of all, they’re unpredictable. So, the first question, I believe, that we should be asking ourselves is around this idea of current reality. Is this my reality? Is this (what I’m saying) true for my business? How am I creating new opportunities now? Is it slow? Is it expensive? And are my results unpredictable?
The second “R” or the second key question to consider, I believe, is Relationships. Here, again, I submit to you that for most of us in the B2B arena, the lifeblood of our business is relationships. We don’t need 10,000 more Facebook friends, e-mail subscribers or page views. What we need, what would really move the needle in our business is 10 more genuine relationships; 10 more people who will take our call or meet with us in person; 10 more people who will approach a conversation about our products and services with an open mind; 10 more people who will go out of their way to try to help us if they can. So, the key question here for all of us, I think, is: Are relationships really the foundation of my business? How am I strengthening existing relationships? And how am I cultivating new ones?
The third “R”, the third key question, I think, the topic to consider is Readiness. Now, I spent the first 20 years of my career in the Change Management consulting business. So, I feel like I am speaking with some degree of authority when I say . . . People don’t change until they’re ready to change. Of course, there are any number of things you and I can do to increase readiness for change, including what I’m trying to do right now, right? Share a few ideas that might challenge and stimulate your thinking — and encourage you to give these ideas some genuine consideration as you explore the possibility of changing your approach to sales and marketing for your business. The key question here is: Am I ready to change? Am I dissatisfied with my current results? More importantly, am I dissatisfied enough to seriously entertain a different strategy, disrupt the pattern and do some things differently?
And then, the fourth “R” is ROI, Return On Investment. Now, I realize this may be the first and last time you ever hear anyone from the media business talk about ROI. Usually, people from traditional media want to talk about anything but ROI. Typically, they want to talk about leading indicators, or impressions, or reach, or viewers, or downloads, or demographics, or listeners or engagement . . . anything but actual Green Dollar ROI.
And unfortunately, this traditional media “razzle dazzle” focused on all of these cosmetrics (What we mean by that is Cosmetic Metrics. Just because you can count something doesn’t mean that it counts.) . . . But because of this inappropriate, we believe, focus on cosmetrics that are so prolific and so seductive, many people listening to this right now may not even know how to calculate, much less predict or intentionally create ROI.
And if that’s the case for you, please don’t be embarrassed. It’s not your fault. You probably haven’t had much practice. It’s just not a normal part of the process typically (a lot of times, with marketing period), but almost always with traditional approaches to media as a tool for marketing. But it does mean we ought to be asking some questions. The key question: What is my ROI? What should my marketing ROI be? Do I have, or should I have a marketing ROI discipline?
And marketing ROI is different. It requires a different level of diligence, attention, rigor and discipline. You think investing in options, or lamp oil, or pork bellies or anything in the financial markets is high stakes, high pressure? Consider this . . . Look, you give your stockbroker $100 or you buy an equity for $100. And then, six weeks from now, it’s worth $125. You’re up 25%. You’re up $25. Well, you hand a marketing person $100 or you put $100 in some sort of marketing strategy — and as a result you make a $25 sale, you’re not up 25%. You’re down 75%. You’re down $75. So, there’s a different degree of due diligence. There’s a different approach “soup to nuts” when it comes to planning for and creating Return On Investment from leveraging a media platform.
Now, the good news is you can far out-perform your broker in terms of ROI if you know what you’re doing and you use the media platform properly. But this ROI question is so critical, so foundational, so fundamental to using the platform to Help People and Make Money. And I think we ought to be talking a lot more about it before we ever pull the trigger on anything.
So, those are the four key questions, The 4Rs – Reality, Relationships, Readiness, and ROI. If you’d like to get together and talk about any or all of this with me personally, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can book some time that fits your calendar and mine if you just go to BookStonePhone.com.