Since the rise of SEO the marketing industry has become fixated on the quick win. The promise of thousands of pre-qualified B2B buyers ready and searching for your product category was simply too tempting to resist. The ultimate question was how best to get as many pre-qualified buyers through your web ‘front door’ as quickly as humanly possible?
This fixation on bottom of the funnel conversion (bottom fixation?) has spawned numerous other marketing tactics and disciplines – PPC, programmatic advertising, inbound marketing to name a few – all aimed at attracting the ready to buy hoards. While the opportunities to optimise late-funnel strategies are significant, they are also leading to an over-focus on bottom of the funnel tactics. Too frequently today activities that cannot have a pound value attached to them are being thrown out as not worth doing.
While Google has fought a cat and mouse game with the SEO industry over the years, the fixation with late-funnel tactics still looms large over all B2B marketing disciplines. The slimming down of marketing teams, reduction of budgets and increase in available data about buyers has only fuelled this trend. This is a pervasive challenge for marketers throughout the communications mix, from advertising to content.
The growing neglect of ‘top of the funnel’ marketing in B2B is dangerous for businesses as well as a huge missed opportunity; if everyone focuses on customers that are ready to convert, who is taking charge of moving their customers through the full buying process? Who is presenting the ideas and messages that matter to customers at the start of their journey? Who is presenting the challenges and opportunities that start buyers on their path to your door?
Bottom fixation is negating a huge opportunity for B2B brands to take charge of their own product or service story and alerting potential buyers to the problems and opportunities you can help them with. Spending on top of the funnel ideas does require a deeper understanding of buyer motivations, their opportunities and fears, but it can lead to much greater results and emotional loyalty to a potential business partner through long term relationships.
The two levers that will help B2B marketers achieve balance in their marketing are: