Fanning the Flames of Inefficient B2B Marketing

In a casual – albeit nerdy – conversation with Eric Wittlake, Sr. Director of Strategic Marketing Initiatives at 6sense, I thought I was being slightly dramatic when I said, “If you’re paying to drive engagement outside of your TAM (total addressable market), you might as well be lighting that money on fire.” 


Not one to be outdone, Eric assured me that I was wrong; it’s worse than that.


It’s no secret that in the world of B2B marketing, targeting the right audience is essential for success. However, all too often, marketers make the mistake of casting their nets too wide, engaging with companies outside their total addressable market (TAM) in the hopes of driving their numbers up. In reality, this approach is – quite literally – less effective than lighting your marketing budget on fire. How so?


  • Optimizing to the wrong audience: A recipe for misaligned messaging
    When you optimize your website based on the behavior of all visitors, you’re essentially tailoring your messaging to fit the needs of individuals who have no interest or ability to buy from you. This misguided approach can lead to misaligned messaging, causing your valuable potential customers to slip through the cracks. By focusing on the right audience, you can ensure that your marketing efforts resonate with those who truly matter to your business – your TAM.

  • Costly distractions for your sales and SDR organization
    If your marketing efforts are generating leads that fall outside your TAM, you’re not only wasting marketing resources, but you’re also burdening your sales and SDR organization with unqualified engagements. These false leads can drain their time, energy, and focus, which could otherwise be spent nurturing relationships with qualified prospects. In the end, you’re costing your company more money in lost productivity and missed opportunities.

  • Undermining credibility with your sales organization and leadership team
    When your marketing team is consistently driving engagement with non-TAM companies, you risk losing credibility with your sales organization and broader leadership team. After all, no one likes to chase after “junk” leads. This can lead to a decrease in trust and collaboration between departments, ultimately hindering your company’s ability to reach its full potential.

  • Sinking ROI and dwindling marketing budgets
    By targeting the wrong audience, you’re effectively throwing money down the drain. Not only do you risk wasting marketing budget on misguided campaigns, but you’re also jeopardizing future budget allocations as your ROI plummets. To maximize your marketing ROI, it’s crucial to focus your efforts on engaging your TAM, where you’re more likely to see meaningful results.

  • Brand dilution and missed opportunities for thought leadership
    When you target non-TAM audiences, you dilute your brand’s message and value proposition. Instead of being seen as an expert in your field, you risk appearing unfocused and irrelevant. By engaging with the right audience, you can build thought leadership and brand authority, positioning your company as a trusted solution provider within your niche.


Chasing non-TAM audiences in B2B marketing is akin to setting your budget on fire – it’s an ineffective and costly endeavor that can damage your reputation, waste resources, and hurt your bottom line. By focusing your marketing efforts on your TAM, you can optimize messaging, reduce unnecessary costs, maintain credibility, maximize ROI, and establish thought leadership. So, as you think about which channels and vendors to invest in, make sure they’re effective at targeting the right audience – your success depends on it.