I cringe when I hear the phrase “because we’ve always done it that way.” That’s the battle cry of the Habitual Marketer. It’s often heard when asked why they decided to invest in a B2B lead generation program that doesn’t have a clearly defined return-on-investment. In most cases, these are marketing programs that were once strategic or highly visible, but have not evolved with their target audiences. Don’t be a habitual marketer.
Trade shows and advertising programs are great examples. These activities serve a very specific purpose and can be incredibly valuable lead generation activities. That doesn’t mean they should be continued year after year without evaluating their performance. Unfortunately, they often receive approval because they are highly visible, a pet project of senior executives or an attempt to counter competitive pressure (i.e. keeping up with the Joneses).
To avoid becoming a habitual marketer, you should evaluate all of your marketing programs regularly and determine the cost-to-lead ratio of each program. You can then make a financial determination about which programs should be continued and which should not. This will help you avoid wasting money. It will help you further optimize the B2B lead generation programs you do implement. It will also allow you to focus your investments in programs that produce results. We worked with a client that spent an amount in the upper six figures to attend a large trade show every year. They participated in this event, “because we always have”. When we looked at the measurable results, they were very difficult to define. The following year they participated in the event with a significantly lower budget. The outcome from the show was consistent with previous years. The unspent budget was reallocated to other more productive lead generating campaigns.
This doesn’t mean you should immediately abandon programs with poor cost-to-lead ratios. The main purpose of some programs is to support the growth of the brand and customer awareness, which is ultimately beneficial to your overall B2B lead generation efforts. For these programs, you need to determine the value they provide to your marketing efforts and evaluate them against other alternatives in terms of their importance to your business.