Modern b2b marketing strategies
With each passing year, outbound tactics and even the marketing funnel, become less and less effective. Think about it, how often do cold calls really pay off for you anymore? When it comes to B2B marketing strategies, it’s time for a mindset shift. Your marketing team should be nurturing buyers before, during, and after their purchase so that sales can create lasting and fruitful relationships. They should create helpful content for each step of the buyer’s journey so that you can provide customers with a full circle experience.
In January 2020, Heinz Marketing, Market2Marketers, and ON24 surveyed 137 B2B marketing professionals and asked them to rate how successful their marketing program was in meeting its goals for 2019 on a seven-point scale. Those who answered six or seven were labeled “Top Performers'' while the rest were referred to as “Mainstream.” What the survey found is that Top Performers not only agree that the following marketing strategies are important, but they also actually incorporate them into their own practices. The same cannot be said for the Mainstream group. Only 31% described their company’s performance in the area of interactivity as excellent, and just 33% said the same in regard to personalization.
Don’t swim upstream with the majority simply because it’s the easiest route. Instead, break out of your comfort zone and try implementing the strategies below. Next thing you know, you could be a Top Performer!
Integrate Your Channels
The more utilized content channels, the merrier! You can find buyers just about everywhere these days. It is part of their journey to visit a wide variety of channels, especially online, when seeking solutions. Plus, although your audience may be similar across all these channels, everyone has different preferences when it comes to where they most like to receive marketing messages. So, you must market everywhere that your target audience is.
This means a lot of content production. Information about your company should be easily available so you can be found during a buyer’s research process. Integrated marketing practices pay off because they allow buyers to engage on their own turf. In the ON24 survey, 74% of Top Performers agreed that “our marketing is everywhere where our customers are,” while only 40% of Mainstream marketers responded positively to this statement.
The channels every B2B marketing team should be including in their efforts consist of the company website, emails, social media, and direct mail. You should also be advertising, both online and off, and attending events, even if they’re just digital. Just don’t forget brand consistency. Your logo, voice, and design elements should be the same across channels. Also, remember that your messaging should unite your brand and encourage people to interact with you via every platform you utilize.
Create Interactive Content
A common struggle discussed among marketers is the growing amount of competition in every industry and across every channel. Online, in the mailbox, and at a trade show, you’ll always be speaking at the same time as someone else who offers similar solutions. However, not everyone who is talking about their products and services is telling the truth. After the past few years, it’s become painfully obvious that quality and authenticity are no longer prioritized by many companies, especially the big ones. Reliability is rare and products are cheap, although you certainly wouldn’t know thanks to continuously rising prices. For those of us who still take pride is being the best we can be for our customers, trying to cut through all the marketing noise and prove that you are their best option can be extra frustrating. What we’re here to tell you is that to accomplish this you must provide an engaging customer experience.
Of the marketers surveyed by ON24, 92% agree that “interactive marketing leads to better engagement.” The purpose of good marketing is to open up conversations with buyers. Examples of interactive content includes surveys, quizzes, polls, and webinars/virtual events. You have the opportunity to be more engaging on every channel. When it comes to your website, you can add a chat feature, CTA buttons, and gated content that requires users to fill out a form to gain access. It’s even easier to be interactive on social media. After all, the word “social” is right in the name! Most of the top platforms offer their own quiz and poll features, or you can simply ask questions in the copy of your posts. Don’t forget to respond and keep those conversations going!
Marketers also often complain about engagement rates not being what they used to be. If that’s how you feel, it’s time to think outside of the box and try some of our suggestions. This is crucial as engagement is becoming an increasingly important metric because it shows that buyers are listening, and therefore must be at least a little bit interested in what you are offering.
Personalize Your Messaging
We’re all bombarded with generic marketing messages these days. Personalization is another strategy that can stop you from getting lost in the static. Taking the time to tailor your marketing to your audience makes it relevant, and therefore compelling, to them.
Both email and direct mail are perfect channels for personalization. Most email marketing platforms allow you to use the data you’ve collected in your CRM to personalize at least your copy. A simple example that everyone should be taking advantage of is using whatever personalization feature you have to address recipients by their first name. Also, including their name in the subject line can be a real attention grabber. Hello, rising open rates! Thanks to variable data printing, the same kind of personalization can be easily incorporated into direct mail campaigns.
While basic tricks like these are helpful, everyone should also be digging a little deeper. The more data you have, the more you can really speak to each contact. Many companies have a lot of information about their contacts’ buying tendencies, but very few use it to personalize their marketing. Incorporating variables into your copy is quite easy, both online and off, so there’s really no excuse for not taking advantage of this. These days, with the right platform, you can even personalize what images contacts in your CRM see on your landing pages. The easier it becomes to use more advanced tactics like this, the more popular it becomes, so don’t get left behind.
Another common excuse is that it's easier for B2C marketers to incorporate personalization, but it’s important that B2B companies focus on this as well. First, make sure you know who you’re talking to. You’re likely speaking to multiple audiences, but the most important people to target are those that can make purchasing decisions.
In an ITSMA study, 68% of respondents said it is important for solution providers to proactively make recommendations for improvements and innovations based on their knowledge of the client’s business. By speaking directly to buyers and showing that you have an in-depth knowledge of their specific industry, you show that your solutions would be helpful to them. Out of all the Top Performers in the ON24 survey, 88% agree that their “marketing efforts are specifically created for the different personas in a target account’s buying committee.” Want to reach your goals? Make sure you are speaking to the right people using language they will be receptive to.
Marketing is constantly changing so it’s important for your success to accept this and adapt. It’s also important to act. Many of us know that these strategies are successful, in theory. Now it’s time to put them into practice! Stop yelling into the void and hoping that the masses will hear you. Instead, start having reciprocal and meaningful conversations.