Tim Riesterer

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Ruth is a guest blogger at Biznology, the digital marketing blog. Email Ruth at ruth@ruthstevens.com, follow her on Twitter at @RuthPStevens, or visit her website, www.ruthstevens.com.

B2B sales and marketing people have always understood that it’s an account that buys, not an individual. And further understood that certain key accounts will produce the lion’s share of any company’s revenue. So, going to market through account-based strategies is standard B2B operating procedure.

Your intentions are good, but your intuition is off. You go to great lengths to craft compelling marketing content and campaigns, and conduct extensive internal training programs to teach your salespeople how to distribute those messages to both customers and prospects, but you still struggle to hit quarterly sales goals and are left scratching your head as to why.

There's some old brain research known as the "primacy and recency" effect that must be considered when you construct your marketing messaging or you may simply be wasting your time and money pushing out content that doesn't drive a decision. Primacy contends that those things you present first will be remembered best. Recency says the things you say near the end will also be remembered best. Firsts and lasts are keys to leveraging brain science in decision-making. As a result, the messages you present in the middle are the least likely to be remembered.

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