B2B marketing failI had a bit of a letdown this week.

A few of my friends and I belong to a product-of-the-month club (I won’t name the company, but it has to do with style and fashion). Every month, we receive a package with a handcrafted surprise inside and then sing the company’s praises on social media.

However, we were just informed via email that, due to the increase in US postage rates, the company is no longer going to ship orders to Canada or internationally. So, all of us loyal Canadian and international customers were dropped.

I can only assume that the owner felt her Canadian and international customers would refuse to pay the higher shipping fees and she would have to take a loss to ship to us. However, my friends and I still want the product and are willing to pay more for shipping so she doesn’t have to take a loss. Now, we are upset and venting on social media – not good for the company’s image.

The letdown reminded me of the importance of finding out what your customers want before you make decisions that will impact your service. This is an issue not only for one-woman shops, but especially for anyone selling technology products or services (just think of all the complaints about the new iTunes interface).

Here are three marketing fails that can hurt your B2B technology brand:

Not living up to your big promise

The product-of-the-month club promised delivery of a product every month and then broke its promise. In marketing, it can be easy to make promises that you can’t keep, especially if your products or services change frequently and you forget to update some of your marketing materials. Be sure to look through all of your current offers and make sure that you can still live up to your promises.   

Alienating a segment of your customers

The product-of-the-month club that I belonged to served a small niche. B2B products and services also tend to serve small, niche audiences. If you do something to make your customers feel as though they don’t matter, you will face backlash.

Misjudging your customers

The owner of the product-of-the-month club company acted on the assumption that her Canadian and international customers wouldn’t pay more in shipping. There are also a number of assumptions that technology marketers make about their customers. For example, many B2B tech companies focus their marketing on features that their customers aren’t interested in. Other B2B tech companies believe that their customers don’t use social media when statistics show otherwise. When you make assumptions on behalf of your customers, you can miss the mark and harm your bottom line.

To prevent these B2B marketing fails, be sure to get your customers’ opinions before you embark on something new. For information on how to do this, see “15 Ways to Get to Know Your Target Audience”.

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