Are you a modern marketer or are you falling behind the times? According to a Forrester survey of 500 B2B and B2C companies in the UK and USA, only 11 percent are “modern marketers”—defined by Louis Foong in business2community.com as those who “use multi-channel marketing, gather and analyze real-time customer data, create customer personas based on this intelligence, monitor and measure results.” Beyond data and automation, Foong urges top-down priorities that encourage B2B marketers to “explore, discover and experience” so the whole organization can be responsible for enhancing the customer experience. How should B2B marketers incorporate this learning process?:
- Explore: Find out where your targeted customers are and reach them there—across channels and platforms, and with content, remarketing and other tools.
- Discover: Measure the results, and then fine-tune. Predictive modeling and big data analytics help determine engagement levels and where to improve.
- Experience: Remember, “I’m not only the president, I’m a customer” ads? Well, how can you expect to delight your customers without empowering your employees to be passionate advocates of your own products and services?
By promoting this learning culture, your B2B organization will thrive and share the enthusiasm with customers and prospects alike.
Here’s another nugget from a survey we’ve already seen cited in other articles—92 percent of B2B marketers are using social media, and among those, 59 percent of those publish new content weekly. This is more than other marketing tactics, such as e-newsletters, web site articles, blogs and case studies—tools still used as part of an overall content strategy.
Mistakes, we’ve all made a few. Since our website is so critical to our content marketing strategy, lead generation and company presence, it’s important we avoid the 4 B2B Website Mistakes that Rick Whittington suggests we do not even realize we’re making:
- Not providing enough information for early-stage buyers.
Rather, the website should:
- build trust and be informative.
- answer visitors’ questions without a sales pitch.
- address the buyers’ situation/concerns and not be a tone-deaf brag sheet.
Edit your website to address the needs of your customers and add content, such as blogs, that helps inform their research.
- Not tracking visitors.
All the articles we choose point to data and content as indispensable to better b2b marketing practices. Knowing where your visitors come from is crucial to analyzing marketing efforts. Then you can determine which marketing campaigns works and allocate money accordingly, and cut the deadweight of ineffectual campaigns.
- Static or sporadically updated content.
Quoting Emerson’s “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” is great for high school teachers, but in business, providing regular content updates, in a predictable, reliable manner actually serves the customer well by establishing “expertise, credibility, and consistency” that educates and updates your ideal customers. Otherwise, your company appears out of touch—both by being non-communicative and being out-of-date.
- Not focusing on the customer in your company description.
Make sure your homepage addresses whom your target customer is, how you help them, and what advantage you have in understanding their business.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled theme of big data. Tom Murphy, referencing a CMSWire webinar with Heidi Bullock, provides excellent pointers on how to use data-driven marketing to increase your marketing budget and measure business impact:
- Know which metrics matter. When reporting up, “using metrics that measure business outcomes and improve marketing performance and profitability” are more important than “vanity” metrics (such as page impressions and Facebook likes.)
- “Show impact, not costs.” My recruiter friend gives this as her resume advice too. It is important to demonstrate the results of your efforts and not just provide confusing spreadsheets. Some ways to do this: set goals with stakeholders, design measurable campaigns (with marketing automation), and measure things that can be made profitable and improve marketing efforts.
And the beauty of Big Data is that it can actually help B2B marketers become more personal in their marketing efforts when used right. When broken down into “bite-sized, small data” bits, it can be used for “1:1 marketing pursuits” per Daniel Newman in Forbes.com. The way to make the data the customer provides useful in reaching them personally is by measuring across channels… “omni-channel.” Since customers interact with brands from different devices at different points in the buying cycle, it is useful to gather this data and individualize the message. “In today’s B2B marketing world, personalization of customer data will let marketers build actionable strategies.” The same can be said for keeping a current, informative website and prioritizing marketing goals from the top down. Keep up the good work, B2B marketers.
Image via Becca Peterson / Flickr