Why B2B Marketing Isn’t Working

By Michelle Etherton, The Partner Marketing Group


Businesses don’t talk to each other. They don’t form relationships. They don’t feel stress or long for more time with family. They can’t engage and, oh yeah, they don’t buy technology. Nope. No wonder why B2B marketing isn’t working for so many software and technology companies!

The lines are more blurred than ever in marketing today and, for the most part, we can actually thank our clients and their solutions for this transformation. You’ve helped us become so connected—to our devices, our work and each other—we expect more in less time. And that means the connection we feel with you. Business just feels more personal now.

Do you see ME?

The marketing team has to figure out how to make prospects and customers feel noticed, important and understood. It’s on you to create messaging that is relatable and drives people to convert so the sales team has the opportunity to make a call, setup a meeting and build a relationship.

If all your marketing messaging is from your business to their business, where’s the personal engagement? That’s not to say B2B messaging isn’t necessary or is a bad thing, but don’t expect to make real connections with real people.

So what’s the problem with B2B marketing? I created this image which is super simple and quite literal, but I think it makes the point.

Why B2B Marketing Isn't Working

Want an interesting marketing exercise?

Probably not, but try it anyway. Take a look at your marketing collateral—your website, sales sheets and even your company profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Note where you could take B2B language and tweak it or add to it so it is more H2H. After all, I’m 100% certain that a person is reading them and it doesn’t matter if your decision maker is the CEO, CFO or the marketing manager—they are still people. Tapping into emotions and empathizing with your decision makers as both business leaders and human beings is key.

Here are a few examples:


The “value” you offer can mean something different for a person than to a business. Business goals aren’t people goals. You’ve got to learn how to create messaging for both.

4 easy ways to make your B2B marketing more personal:

Of course we’d love to help you create a deeply engaging campaign, revamp your sales collateral, or energize your social strategy but, if that’s not in the cards right now, here are 4 quick things you can do to get started:

  1. Create buyer personas so you know how to relate to each person, not the business.
  2. Post blogs by real employees, not the business.
  3. Send emails from real employees, not the business.
  4. Rework your social profiles to speak like people to people, not the business.
  5. Select a few key, responsible employees and setup their own business Twitter account so they can share your posts and content in a more personal way, answer questions and engage with customers as a real person, not the business.

You see the pattern. You might have a B2B business model, but make sure you have a H2H sales and marketing model. It’s really that simple.

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