Why Most B2B Advertising is a Sign of Insanity

They say that definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. We’re not really saying anybody is crazy, but it’s true that many B2B marketers and advertisers are striving to get better results from their advertising campaigns while sticking to the same standard practices.

They know that advertising has always been viewed somewhat suspiciously by the rest of the organization, because its value and ROl are often ambiguous. They want to shift that perception, but they hesitate to take the big leaps that will really change advertising from being perceived as a frivolous expense to an essential revenue driver.

We don’t blame them, of course. As the saying goes, “Everyone likes progress but no one likes change.” B2B marketers are trying to improve upon their campaigns. But the minor tweaks and adjustments they’re making aren’t enough.

Often that’s because the metrics that marketers use don’t align with the way the rest of the organization thinks. And let’s be honest, marketers sometimes have a reputation for not being as focused on the bottom line as other departments. In fact, earlier this week, SiriusDecisions posted a blog on how CMOs need to be more finance-minded to earn the respect and buy-in of CFOs.

Most marketers are eager to get more aligned with the finance department, but recalling that definition of insanity, if you’re having the same conversation with CFO over and over again and not making any headway, you probably need to change more than just your language.

You actually need to change the way you plan and measure your programs. The first step to doing that is ensuring that the whole organization organization is appropriately involved with the process and goal-setting.

When it comes to evaluating B2B advertising, marketing and sales leaders want to see whether the accounts in a particular campaign convert to revenue. In order to show this, you want to be able to track the behavior of specific targeted audiences across the funnel. Then you can answer questions like:

• Are the accounts viewing my ads also engaged on my website?
• Is my website supporting my campaign efforts by driving conversions?
• Is my advertising helping me to reach net new prospects in the accounts I care about?
• Where in my funnel do I need to put in the most effort to be successful?
• How should I allocate my advertising budget to best support business goals?

B2B advertising is not a standalone endeavor. Not only does it need to be integrated into your overall marketing program at a strategic level, you also need seamless integration across your whole marketing and sales technology stack.

Obviously, making that change requires some work upfront. It means have the strategy and the technology to connect campaigns across your CMS, CRM, analytics tool and marketing automation. Doing that sets you up to plan and measure campaigns, makes advertising goals tangible and allows your team to mine marketing data for actionable insights.

Once you’ve created that feedback loop, you’ll be ready to have a new conversation about advertising with the rest of the organization. But more than that, you’ll be prepared and empowered to run truly innovative B2B advertising campaigns.

If you’re ready to stop the insanity, read our new eBook on the State of B2B Advertising.