Mass Backwards: It’s an Industry Problem

massbackwards-industry-problem

As the demand gen person at Demandbase, I tend to be the one on the phone with and emailing with media vendors just about all day, every, day. If you have a B2B marketing audience, I’ve probably heard your pitch (or soon will).

Like all B2B companies, we sell to a finite market that we know very well. So, like every good marketer, I always have our market in mind when listening to pitches. The secret to a successful pitch with me isn’t really a mystery. You just have to be able to tell me how you can reach our specific audience. We make it pretty easy to do that by providing our target account list. Simple, right? The problem is, that’s not how most vendors want to (or can) sell to us.

“As savvy B2B marketers, our strategy has evolved. We know that we can’t continue to waste marketing spend on the masses when we’re only trying to reach a typically small and finite market.”

Take this example: earlier this week a well-respected, US-based marketing organization reached out to me to start talking about 2014 planning. Demandbase hasn’t worked with them in the past, but I’m familiar with them and their audience.

Their initial email was: “Who can I speak with about webinars and content marketing opportunities with the [insert domestic marketing organization]? We have 350,000 marketers.”

Given that there are only 200,000 companies in the U.S with revenue above $10 million, that number seemed high. But I pressed on with them, inquiring about their ability to reach our specific target account list, which is comprised only of B2B companies. Their response?

“If the content is geared towards B2B it should only attract B2B marketers. We don’t have a separate database for just B2B.” They went on by also offering to take a look at our target account list and “share the list with my data department and see if they can come up with a list of similar companies.”

This was not what I wanted to hear. It is a textbook example of mass backwards and unfortunately, an all too common response to target account marketing.

As savvy B2B marketers, our strategy has evolved. We know that we can’t continue to waste marketing spend on the masses when we’re only trying to reach a typically small and finite market. We need vendors and media partners that have also evolved and are ready to sell to us the way we have to buy to be effective.