Don’t Major in the Minors in B2B Marketing

I just read an interesting post from Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and Publisher of Selling Power, titled How Much Energy Does it Take to Make a Million Dollars? The crux of the article is that it is not the amount of energy expended but rather the type of energy that counts. The same is true in marketing. 

Most everyone has heard of the Pareto Principle, which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. But I bet you didn’t know that Pareto formulated this principle partly by observing that 20 percent of the pea pods in his garden contained 80 percent of the peas. You see, it is indeed the little things that count.

Whether you consider yourself sales, marketing, an entrepreneur or anything else, you need to focus on the activities that provide the greatest return on your time investment, while either letting the others go or outsourcing them to a co-worker or service provider.

Why Do We Waste Time?

I have to confess that I haven’t been the best at this myself. Like a lot of you, I spend major time on activities that only produce minor results (or none at all). The trick is to really understand the difference between time-filling and positive results-producing activities. Once you know this, it is much easier to make the right choices.

Why is it so hard to spend our time on the important things and eliminate the trivial? I believe there are three major reasons we spend major amounts of time on things that have minor impact:

  1. We do what we know best.
  2. We do what we are good at.
  3. We are afraid of failure.

Spend More Time Learning About Effective Strategies

In B2B marketing, the activities that produce 80% of the benefits are directly related to increasing brand awareness, generating inquiries, qualifying leads and helping the sales force meet its revenue objectives. Learning about the newest and most effective strategies and tactics is also valuable, assuming you are doing this to benefit your current employer, and not just to enhance your resume. Reporting, meeting, reorganizing, begging (for budget or people) and socializing with the boss are not the activities that usually produce more of the results. So spend less time on these things.

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By the way, much of the good stuff happens outside of the office. This is where you find the people and companies who will buy from you, partner with you, or recommend you. As a marketer, you had best know these people where they live, not as you imagine them. Many a marketer has been transformed by getting an education from real life prospects and customers.

When it comes to B2B marketing, we should all take Pareto’s advice and figure out which 20 percent of the marketing pea pods produce 80 percent of the peas and focus our efforts accordingly.

Check out some great ideas for where to put your B2B marketing focus at Fusion Marketing Partners.

Christopher Ryan
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One comment

  • Nancy Reed May 14, 2010   Reply →

    Chris – This is a great reminder for all of us – even non-marketers. Maybe using the example of pea pods will help me remember to rid myself of non-productive activities in my work and personal life to help ensure best results. It is so easy to get distracted. You are also right on about getting away from the office to talk with customers. I have come up with some of my best product ideas when on the road.

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