We’ve just sent our 200th email campaign – which raises some questions…and a B2B progress update

Once we’d all finished popping the champagne (ok, actually tea as it was only 9.30am) after reaching this fulfilling benchmark, I thought, well, what next?

Specifically what next for email? My inbox is full of emails from publications, potential suppliers etc, ranging from “email doesn’t work anymore” to “email is the way forward” and everything in between.

My personal, very humble opinion, is that email still works, just as it always has done, in the sense that GOOD email marketing works, POOR email marketing DOESN’T.

Ok, rant over…almost.

We’ve probably all seen the email, blogs and websites that have all hints and tips about what works, and we discuss them earnestly over networking drinks and in planning sessions. So we all know it, but do we all do it?

No, is the simple answer. Which got me wondering, well why don’t we then? Nobody sets out to do a bad email.

I have a theory (based on the aforementioned 200 email campaigns) that it boils down to 3 reasons:

1. Decision by committee – too many cooks spoil an email and dilute the message and original intent with multiple minor modifications that are unnecessary at best, and downright damaging at worst. We need to be stronger, as marketers, to stand up for our beliefs as to what’s right and what’s effective!

2. Succumbing to the number tempation – well yes, we’ve verticalised our message and approach, and we know who will respond, but how will it hurt if we just add another 5,000 contacts to the list of recipients? It will make the sales guys happy….enough said here I think

3. Thinking email is cheap – yes, the actual physical cost of an email campaign is cost effective, but why waste that money by using poorly qualified data for example? Why is it ok not to test email campaigns as you would other marketing channels? Always integrate with other channels! Be clever about the ROI, don’t just blindly follow the opens and clicks list.

I’m sure you all know the above (from painful experience I’m sure), perhaps what we need are lessons in assertiveness rather than email marketing. Yes, I’m being facetious – actually it brings me round to my favourite subject – getting best practice B2B Marketing on the executive agenda.

Until marketers are targeted and SUPPORTED on criteria that results in good quality b2b marketing, then it’s not really going to change. What do I mean? Well for starters:

1. Accept that good marketing takes time to prepare, so approve budget EARLY, accept that time to leads reflects the prep and relationship build time appropriate for your market

2. Create linked objectives between sales and marketing – make it clear where the line is, and what the expectations are – if you have a 12 month sales cycle and don’t approve budgets until March – guess what, no leads until Q3!

3. Create objectives NOT JUST BASED ON LEAD NUMBERS. Yes, leads and sales pipeline is important. But in B2B where relationships have to be nurtured, relationships, reputation and influence are equally as important. Would Proctor and Gamble stop doing television advertising because people don’t rush out to buy the minute the advert is on?

My mission is continuing – I am attending a small dinner on the 27th September with senior marketers from some of the largest global companies, where I am going to throw down the gauntlet – watch this space 😉

If you want to support my B2B Mission, please join our B2B marketing symposium LinkedIn group!

thanks all!

About the Author

Charlotte Graham-Cumming

Director, Ice Blue Sky Ltd

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