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Seven Infectious Diseases of B2B Marketing - and Their Cures

by Kathryn Roy  |  
May 27, 2008

There are seven problems I find so rampant in B2B companies that I suspect they are infectious—passed along as marketing people switch companies or work with contagious agencies.

Here are the diseases, their symptoms, probable causes, and suggested treatments.

1. Glitzitis

Glitzitis refers to companies that produce gorgeous ads and collateral pieces that fall flat because they aren't based on solid analysis.

When we conduct focus groups for clients to test messages with their target buyers, we always test their competitors' key messages or positioning as well. I used to assume that companies spending millions of dollars on advertising and expensive collateral vet the relevance of their proposed messaging with their target audience. It was a shock to see how off the mark many of these messages are.

Mark Twain said it best: "It ain't what you don't know that will hurt you. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

Sales trainers use a research study conducted years ago by Xerox to remind salespeople that their effectiveness declines after roughly 18 months. The reason is that as salespeople become more confident of their assessment of the prospects needs they spend much less time questioning and listening to their prospects.

The corollary for marketing professionals is this: The effectiveness of marketing professionals declines as their confidence increases if they don't take the time to properly test their gut instincts.

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Kathryn Roy is managing partner of Precision Thinking (, a consulting firm helping B2B technology companies boost the effectiveness of their marketing and sales organizations. Reach her via or Twitter (@karoy1).

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  • by KH Tue May 27, 2008 via web

    This really hit home, great article

  • by Shekar Prabhakar Wed May 28, 2008 via web

    Very well written and to the point. These problems are even more in pure services companies because of the intangibility and the dominant roles that sales and operations tend to garner in such organizations, making marketing a poor second cousin being pushed to deliver results without access to customers or a say in service delivery.

    Shekar Prabhakar

  • by Molly Casey Wed May 28, 2008 via web

    Very relevant and funny too- a great combination!

  • by Margaret Wed May 28, 2008 via web

    So true! Great points - helps us clarify

  • by Abhi Vyas Thu May 29, 2008 via web

    It's true that marketing professionals get side-tracked by tons of marketing activities they cover for an organization. This article is an eye opener and will help them to stick to their path.

  • by Vigyan Verma Tue Jun 3, 2008 via web

    Very interesting way of presenting the B2B Marketing 'Diseases'!.

    Just sharing my notes on the article in a simpler form
    1.Be certain about the message
    2.Introspect/analyse the facts
    3.Sharpen the message(trim down/remove unnecessary parts)
    4.Capture contacts through a fulfillment/offer
    5.Engage in conversation, build confidence over time. Don't go for kill too soon.
    6. Don't expose too many 'brands' at the same time
    7. Keep content free of meaningless jargon; if at all use ones that make sense intrinsically. More so in headlines.

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