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In the three-part B2B Panic Marketing Series, MarketingProfs will share some common causes of the all too pervasive problem of B2B panic marketing. We'll also provide some tips and tricks to help marketers refocus on what matters most for their organization.

Imagine that you're at your doctor's office demanding the latest medical procedure that you just read about on a blog. Your doctor knows your medical history, and she also knows that the procedure is unnecessary and potentially risky for you. However, she acquiesces, cancels all her other appointments for the day, and performs the procedure.

Ridiculous, right?

Well, in the marketing world, frenetic scenarios such as that happen every day across businesses; they reflect what's known as panic marketing, which isn't good for anyone.

150 Fortune 3000 CEOs from 13 industries were recently surveyed. Only 34% said they have great confidence in CMOs. 38% of the respondents said it was because CMOs have the wrong skill set for the changing marketing environment, and 21% said it was because CMO's have difficulty measuring the business results of marketing programs.—CustomerThink

Defining Panic Marketing

To discuss this all too common problem in many organizations, we must first offer a broad definition of panic marketing.

To MarketingProfs, panic marketing is just as the name implies—it refers to marketing teams that operate in a constantly reactive state. Many root causes fuel that type of marketing, just as there are many reasons marketing teams may need to react quickly.

You might be panic marketing if…

  • Marketing and Sales aren't aligned: A sales leader emails your team and says, "We're sponsoring an event happening next week, and we need marketing support."
  • Your organization has shiny object syndrome: A senior-level executive goes to a conference, hears about the latest buzzword in marketing, and then wants your team to start doing that activity now.
  • Your organization has a shaky top-down vision: The absence of a high-level strategy or goals for the various departments (Sales, Marketing, Product) to rally around often results in teams doing whatever they need to do to hit their department's goals.
  • Your marketing team doesn't have the clout to push back: Marketing should be a revenue generator for your organization, even in a complex B2B sale, but do you know how to speak in a way that will get other leaders to listen?

"80% of marketers say they are overloaded and understaffed."—Adweek

Why You Need to Fix Reactive Panic Marketing Now

  • Team stress and poor retention. Nobody likes working in a constant state of chaos. Thoughts that your organization doesn't understand Marketing's value increase in such an environment. Employees are happiest and most engaged when they have clarity and meaning in their role, according to studies. Finding new employees is a significant time drain and expense for an organization. Ensuring that your team is happy and engaged can significantly affect a company's overall performance.
  • Your organization is missing its numbers. Marketing, though often overlooked, is part of your organization's growth engine. By establishing specific and measurable ROI goals (e.g., increased sales-qualified leads, positioning an organization for an IPO or sale, expanding sales in specific accounts), Marketing can have a significant impact on topline growth.
  • Inconsistency in brand/messaging. If your marketing team is in a constantly reactive state, there is no cohesion in what it is producing. That creates disconnected product and brand messages. In an already cluttered marketplace, it is increasingly difficult to not only find your voice but also claim your share. Inconsistency can sink your sales numbers or result in your sales team's having to do even more to close a deal.
  • Company frustration. Leaders have been told repeatedly that Marketing should have a seat at the executive table, but they still aren't convinced. Panic marketing is a major cause of executive frustration. It can then lead to marketing team layoffs, budget cuts, stagnant career paths, and high employee turnover.

* * *

Although panic marketing may seem insurmountable and just "the way it is here," it can be addressed and changed.

The remainder of this article series will dive further into the common causes of panic marketing and offer some tips on how to overcome each one.

Next up: How to Stop Shiny Object Syndrome in B2B Marketing

More Resources on marketing strategy and Avoiding Panic Marketing

A Marketer's Field Guide to Financial Goal Setting and Measurement | MarketingProfs Master Class

Revenue Operations: The New Leader of Go-to-Market

Creating a Better Audience Experience: Oli Gardner on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

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Growth, Brand, and Retention Problems? You Might Be Panic Marketing (Article 1 of 3)

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image of Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith is the chief marketing officer and Fractional CMO practice lead at MarketingProfs. She has spent over 20 years helping B2B marketing teams prove their value to businesses in the financial services, insurance, manufacturing, technology, consulting, and healthcare industries.