So, you’ve signed up for a manufacturer program. You’re running things exactly to plan; following all of the guidelines given to you at onboarding. There’s just one problem – you aren’t seeing results.

Leads? Hardly. ROI? Abysmal.

What’s going on here?

The answer is simple: as a standalone, manufacturer programs struggle to capture the self-directed buyer. Today’s technology brings easier access to information than ever before: a wealth of knowledge, all just one click away. This has radically shifted our buyers’ decision-making process.

Research shows that as many as eight out of ten B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. As a result, prospects no longer engage with sales in order to obtain information about a company, its products, or services. In fact, as many as 65% of B2B buyers only engage with a sales representative after they’ve already made a purchase decision!  What does this mean? Our buyers are self-serving. They are self-directed. Your sales team no longer has the chance to “pitch” a product – making top-notch, effective marketing a critical component for success.

So, how do we become best in class? How do we ensure marketing stays fresh, innovative, and relevant to our audience? The first step is to understand (and overcome) common marketing challenges. The time to grow is now. It’s time to take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and ask ourselves…are we…marketing…like a DINOSAUR?

Simply put, ask yourself if your marketing practices are on the verge of tyrannosaurus rex-like extinction. Does the phrase “digital media” keep you up at night? Has your content library been updated anytime in the last epoch? Do you still half expect to hear a friendly, familiar, “You’ve Got Mail!” ring through your computer speakers when you open up an internet tab?

Outdated Marketing Practices

One common cause of an outdated marketing practice is simply a lack of internal resources. Since our consumer landscape is constantly changing, best-in-class marketing requires a significant dedication of time to continued learning and expertise.

Sometimes, lack of bandwidth can be the foundation of the problem. Internal resources may be mostly allocated to event planning or administrative tasks. Or, they may not have the appropriate IT channel marketing experience to create an effective plan.

Lack of Content

An underwhelming content library is the second “fatal flaw” of marketing like a dinosaur. One of the biggest keys to customer engagement is customization – according to Experian data, personalized e-mails deliver 6x higher transaction rates, 29% higher unique open rates, and 41% higher unique click-through rates.

Manufacturer programs, while providing a solid foundation for content, have a “cookie cutter” feel. This often leaves customers feeling more like a number than, well…a customer. Why choose your product when they’ve received an identical email stream from three other companies? With no brand differentiation, there is no leverage.

Mystery of Digital Marketing

Third is the mystery of digital media. Different from its direct mail predecessor, digital media campaigns require more time, more expertise, and more content to publish. The digital world is “always on” – and so are its most effective campaigns. It is time-consuming and cumbersome to manually put out new content several times per week. Additionally, the cost of marketing automation is high. This makes it a difficult daily task to stay up to date on the latest and best practices in the digital world.

A Lack of Strategy

Finally, being strategic can be a struggle within itself.  Marketing may not be fully aligned with sales strategies, which results in inconsistent messaging. Low-quality lists and databases make it difficult to capture the correct audience in the first place. When leads do roll in, some companies may not properly utilize nurture streams in order to accelerate pipeline conversation.

So, What’s to Be Done?

Sadly, manufacturer marketing programs alone are no longer enough. That’s why it’s time you take matters into your own hands.