TBFH: What Can B2B Marketers Learn From the Election?

B2B Marketing

TBFH: What Can B2B Marketers Learn From the Election?

Jan 11, 2021 / By Vanessa Horwell

Election 2020. Most expensive election ever; check. Deeply polarizing; check, check. Over-marketing #@%!storm; check, check and check.

For those still suffering PTSD from the messaging blitzkrieg, I’m sorry to bring up this topic again.

Dozens of texts and robocalls every single day. En masse email bombardment. Over-messaging ad nauseam. As swiftly and furiously as these messages appeared, so did my appetite for reading or hearing them, to the point they stopped being effective.

As one of the most critical elections in modern history, I get it. Political campaigns aren’t about building brand awareness or increasing sales of White Claw. They’re urgent, time-sensitive, and career and country-defining moments.

I still tuned out. And thanks to rampant over-messaging by B2B marketers everywhere, customers (and future buyers) are tuning out of many marketing campaigns every day. What marketing lessons can we apply from this election and vow to make our marketing better in 2021, before we turn more customers and prospects away?

More ≠ Better

With our work and personal lives now firmly enmeshed, there’s no escaping the relentless onslaught of email, notifications and screen time. Receiving multiple messages like this beauty doesn’t make them more effective, either:

Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 10.58.10 AM

Why do marketers take a good thing and beat it into the ground? Find something working effectively, like email calls, or SMS, then blow it up.

Let’s do the numbers.

Vanessa’s inbox on Monday morning: 723 unread emails

# of emails from your company: 11

# of other marketing emails: 600+ # of marketing emails read: 0

What happens with the others? Well, they either become noise to your leads. Or worse, keep hitting unsubscribe.

Stop driving away your prospects

Just like during the early days of COVID-19, when every company on the planet sent out “We’re Here to Help” emails, I’ve been doing a lot more unsubscribing lately than clicking to “learn more.” Isn't it time to stop sending canned, untargeted emails because it’s been 2, 3, 5 or 7 days and start being more strategic about communications? Will your target care about that message you're about to send? You might find the answer is “no” a lot more often than yes.

Even if email is a favored channel – and really the only way to reach most prospects right now, flooding your list or writing rubbish headlines is ineffective. In fact, those emails are more likely driving away your leads.

Now we know better; let’s be better

How to avoid repeating the mistakes of the election? Here’s a quick list:

  • Balance communications – keep frequency in check across all channels. Check your lists and make sure you aren’t sending snail mail plus an email plus a text or call to the same person, all with the same info
  • Only send the important stuff – I’m talking the really important stuff that your leads care about. Pro tip: Determine their interests based on previously interacted with content and create separate email lists based on preferences
  • Be honest and straightforward with your headlines – don’t insult your leads with headlines that don’t mean anything just because you’re trying to use big words that don’t have any meaning
  • Don’t try to fool people by sending from multiple addresses/numbers – it’s very frustrating having to continually reply “STOP” or unsubscribe. Respect when someone opts out, and allow them to come back when convenient rather than turning them off from your brand entirely

TLDR: The election messaging volume was fierce. You are only hurting your brand when you overwhelm your prospect list. Check your email lists to remove duplicates, keep frequency in check, send out important communications only, and be transparent. And for the love of everything, don’t continue sending messages once someone unsubscribes – especially from different numbers or email addresses.

Now with the Electoral College vote officially sealed, I’m opening another bottle of prosecco and toasting to a new beginning.




Shameless plug: If you also cringe at rubbish headlines, we’re starting a monthly roundup of offending emails and marketing communications that mean absolutely nothing. Join our #NoMoreFluffMarketing movement. Subscribe below and be the first to see it! You may get a little swag for signing up, too 😉

Vanessa Horwell

Vanessa Horwell
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