In B2B Marketing, it’s Usually Better to Act than Wait

I wrote an article last year titled How to Recognize and Avoid the Seven Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing.  Sin number six is “stagnancy.”  Stagnancy occurs for a number of reasons but it usually has negative consequences.  More often than not, it is better to act than to wait.

The more often you postpone a decision, the easier it becomes to postpone the next decision, and the next decision. Over time, non-action becomes an insidious habit.  So why don’t people take action, even when it is in their best interest to do so? Here are a few common reasons:

  1. Fear of making a bad decision. This is a common reason for inaction. No one wants to make a poor decision but this fear can be mitigated by testing your campaigns with smaller budgets before making larger spending commitments. Plus, every new initiative teaches you something so you either get great results or great feedback—a win either way. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.”
  2. Lack of expertise. The marketing world changes rapidly and even those of us who do this for a living can’t keep up with every new technique. It doesn’t hurt to hire experts, who will usually save you more than they cost. For more on this subject, view the blog post titled B2B Marketing Options – When to DIY and When to Outsource.
  3. Lack of data. Marketers often wait until they have all the data they deem necessary to launch into a new market or with a new media. The problem is that more data doesn’t always mean greater results. I’ve seen companies who study something to death strike out and those with relatively small amounts of data hit home runs.
  4. Lack of budget. In past decades, lack of dollars to spend on marketing was a huge inhibitor. However, the growth of pull marketing and social media have provided even the smallest companies with ways to get the message out. Doing even a few small things on a consistent basis will have positive impact.
  5. Lack of time. The late (and great) Peter Drucker made the observation “Any business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. All the rest are costs.”  It is essential that you not ignore Mr. Drucker’s advice by neglecting one of the two essential functions of business.

I know a lot of marketers, and the only ones I would recommend to my clients or as members of our own team are those that are prone to take action. Not that they get everything right, but at least they participate in the game while their less-aggressive colleagues are sitting on the sideline. Which type of marketer would you rather have on your side?

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Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
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4 comments

  • Janice O'Leary June 18, 2013   Reply →

    Excellent point, it is so easy to postpone difficult decisions. This post does a great job of identifying the reasons why, many thanks.

  • Myron Berg June 18, 2013   Reply →

    Great post. I definitely agree that it’s often too easy to stall on a decision rather than take action.

    I’d add that in the Corporate world, there is often a culture of inaction to protect one’s job. People can get chastised for a mistake associated with taking an action, whereas they might be safer in getting a wider circle of managers to buy-in before they do take action. Too often it takes committee approval to get something done.

  • As part of both marketing and innovation, you need to continually test new ideas. Especially in the B2B realm where businesses need to establish themselves within a niche, innovative content, promotions, and even new services work to differentiate a business from its competitors. Doing the same thing over and over again will bore your potential customer base which is why you need to continually try out new ideas.

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