Originally published on 2/17/14 by minonline.com
In a business environment where content marketing rules and the opportunities to purchase a white paper, attend a webinar or subscribe to a new service come fast and furious at prospective buyers, b2b publishers need a leg up like never before. New research from New York-based Madison Logic points to several key trends in a “new world order” where a strong brand opens doors, and spot-on targeting allows you walk in.
“b2b publishers have actually turned into very large marketers today. They are marketing their own white papers, newsletters, trade shows and events,” says Madison Logic CEO Erik Matlick. “We are entering into an area where everyone has the tool set and plumbing to send mass emails, but the biggest publishers are sending way too many email and many are being blindly sent out.
“Once an important segment of the targeted audience unsubscribes, you lose the ability to communicate with them.”
Among the key findings in the Madison Logic study that are showcased in the accompanying infographic are these three:
1. b2b buyers download an average of 3.1 assets in the first five days.
2. b2b buyers wait until they are 60% of the way through the funnel before they call a salesperson.
3. b2b buyers open 11%-15% of promotional email.
Although the first point seems to fly in the face of lengthy sales cycles associated with b2b, it’s actually very much in line with the process. “Even though the b2b sales cycle is long, there tends to be an aggressive discovery phase, jumping on it quickly,” says Matlick.
The reason? Matlick finds that in a b2b environment there are lots of cooks in the kitchen. The initial point of contact is not necessarily the decision–maker, and decisions are often made by committee. “It could get circulated around to 20 people making the decision at a company.”
Given the time spent assessing a potential purchase, publishers would be wise to engage in due diligence on the back end, to ensure they are hitting up at least one of the correct decision-makers at the right time.
Matlick notes that in this era of publishing conglomerates, it is best for titles to not all drink from the same lead-gen well all the time. Some b2b publishers “are leveraging that database as many ways as possible for all of their business units,” he says. “It’s challenging because when everyone hits that database, it just doesn’t work as well. Buyers get inundated with messaging, and automated emailing has just exacerbated the problem.”
Additionally, information on a given topic is more readily available in the b2b realm. Back in the day, when the data were less accessible, executives in a given sector relied heavily on b2b magazines to point them to vendors and information. “Today, they have spec sheets and white papers at their fingertips online. They are taking their time evaluating whom they think they should be focusing on, and they’re getting 60% through the process before they come up for air and talk to vendors.”
Although prospects open fewer than 15% of sales email, the ones that are linked to a trusted b2b publisher carry more clout. “Time and again when publishers send out a message with their brand on it, the open and click-through rates are significantly better than when a message does not have the brand connected.”
min contributor Cathy Applefeld Olson is based in Northern Virginia. She also is an editor at our sister publications Cynopsis and CableFAX Daily.