The 4M Formula for B2B Marketing Print

Organizations don’t read, write, fall in love with a product, buy or sell anything – People do. So however you look at your marketing efforts you are talking to people, people within organizations, people that acquire an interest in your products, suggest, recommend or decide to buy or not to buy.

If we accept this simple truth then it is relatively easy for me to convince you that regardless of you vertical industry, product or service being marketed, price point, or length of the sales cycle, the basic formula should be the same. The four multiples formula:


Multiple Individuals

By its very definition, B2B marketing involves getting your message in front of individuals who work at organizations. And these individuals work with other people at their organizations. Some of these people have authority and/or influence over making the decision to purchase what you’re marketing, and some do not. These co-workers communicate and influence one another and often come to a consensus about making a purchasing decision together. So as a marketer involved in lead-generation activities, it’s incumbent on you to touch as many people within your target organizations as possible to not only ensure that you touch the right decision-maker, but to ensure that if there’s a show of hands around the table when making the buying decision, you’ve already covered everyone in the room.

Multiple Levels

These decision-makers and influencers have specific roles, responsibilities, job functions, and job levels within their organizations, and they operate within the hierarchy that exists at their organizations. Some people manage and direct the activities of others. Some report to and are directed by others. Delegation of responsibilities takes place from managers to subordinates–and common among the tasks that are delegated is performing due diligence on new purchases. A thorough lead-generation plan needs to direct efforts not only to the executive who could be the eventual decision maker, but it needs to place your message firmly in the path of the foot-soldier a couple levels down who might  be researching and developing the short list to be handed to his boss. You never quite know at what level influence will be exercised, so be sure to reach out to all the levels that might be involved. Always remember that a small technically qualified employee can easily disqualify your product and that CEOs rarely challenge such technical recommendations. The small guy can’t give you the deal but he can easily eliminate your chances.

Multiple Channels

Individuals have preferences and habits that have been developed and engrained over time. Among these are marketing channels that they pay attention to and engage with–and these are highly personalized.  Sunil might never read an inbound email or attend a webcast, but he reads trade journals and whitepapers religiously. Saeed rarely if ever clicks on an online display ad or listens to the radio, but he is forever using search engines and clicking on search ads. Fatima might not engage in social media or open her direct mail, but she attends two or three trade shows each year. Which of these individuals is the decision-maker and who is the influencer? A savvy lead-generation strategy involves participating in as many different channels as possible to ensure that you’re touching all these individuals where they are active, and where they are paying attention. Otherwise you’ll be speaking half your audience at best.

Multiple Touches

Finally, people only have a certain amount of bandwidth. They have lots of priorities on any given day, and they have more time and more receptivity to absorb marketing messages on some days than on others.  They also get sick, take vacations, and travel on business–all of which limit the ability of your expertly planned, finely crafted lead-generation efforts to reach them. So no lead-generation campaign should be executed just once because invariably some percentage of your target audience will not be listening. Touch them again and again, it takes multiple touches.


Obviously, each of the four multiples include their own formulas for success at a more detailed level, and every lead-generation campaign produces some pure brand awareness influence in addition to its production of leads. But the formula of the four multiples is an excellent barometer to gauge your current lead-generation activities, enabling you to make adjustments that should lead you to produce your own repeatable history of success.

Obviously if you take the 4M formula to heart your campaigns will be more comprehensive with multiple touches to multiple people at multiple levels using multiple channels. That simply means that each of your campaigns will take more effort and cost more money. Naturally you do not have unlimited resources and budgets so you will be forced to focus on fewer campaigns and do them well. And this leads us to challenge our planning habits because we will forced to make some critical trade off during our planning, we will have to focus on fewer campaigns and do them really well but that will be the subject of another blog post, so stay tuned.




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