B2B Online Marketing Challenges 2: Strive to become a content marketer

Posted by on Nov 29, 2011 in Online Marketing |

These days, buyers are more likely to take the initiative. Long before they talk to a sales rep, buyers go online for product information, comparison-shopping, and peer recommendations via social media. If you’re going to engage with those potential customers, you must win their trust and build a relationship by providing objective, informative content. Once you’ve generated content, use it across different channels and touch points. Consider writing a case study, opinion, or best-practices piece, and then repurposing it for your website, blog, Twitter stream, and outbound email. Remember, this isn’t the time to sell! Instead, focus on answering the questions prospects may have early in their buying process, and position your company as the helpful expert. Offer independent research or third-party thought leadership that supports your solutions. And encourage a permission-based ongoing dialogue so that you can stay in touch (and stay top-of-mind) as the buyer gets closer to a decision. Embrace measurement, analytics and use dashboards Go beyond email marketing to ensure you are reaching your targets via their preferred channels. How do you determine the right marketing mix and cadence of communications? One word: test. The optimal mix of the best message, channel, and timing depends on your company and its customers. Start with a baseline, and work in easy A/B tests (challenger, champion). As the program matures, you can add multivariate tests—but keep it simple in the beginning. Set up a measurement plan before executing any marketing program. Nothing is worse than realizing after the first campaign has gone out that measurement was left off the table and you now have to scramble to answer that ever-important question: So how’s the campaign doing? Many marketers recognise that they face challenges. For example, you might have the vision and the organisation for success, but legacy systems limit your ability to market effectively. Or, you have data, but no data strategy to determine what to keep, what you’re missing, what’s of value, and how to derive insight. Or maybe you want to be more customer-centric, but you organise around product lines or channels. By ensuring that your B2B marketing evolves, you can… Identify gaps in customer information. Decrease marketing expenditures and waste. Improve the quality and deliverability of campaigns. Invest in customer segments based on value. Improve the return on marketing investment. Moreover, you will seem a more critical and vital partner – with Sales and the rest of the company – in generating top-line revenue growth while being accountable for the costs of generating that revenue. That perception will make it easier for you to justify additional investments in marketing and protect you from cutbacks in tough times. Please follow and like...

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B2B Online Marketing Challenges 1: Just generating leads is not enough anymore as we need conversions

Posted by on Nov 25, 2011 in Online Marketing |

If you’re like most B2B marketers, you diligently plan and execute campaigns to drive new opportunities and, ultimately, increase revenue. But unless you’re ready to rethink marketing’s role, you may be throwing precious budget dollars out the window and missing opportunities to drive real customer value. Customer buying behavior is evolving, and demand management is evolving along with it. Today’s B2B marketers can’t focus only on generating leads and turning them over to Sales. They need a new process for creating effective, targeted programs that hit the right people at the right time. Develop a lead-management process Marketing and Sales must work together to design a more integrated – and collaborative – process that addresses goals, metrics, and activities at crucial lead stages. That process includes… Identifying key business drivers to optimise demand generation Mapping out the customer lifecycle (from suspect to prospect, lead, and customer) Building marketing programs for nurturing and qualification Defining a Sales-ready lead Determining how leads should be passed to Sales and tracked Making customer data and segmentation work for you? Organisations might have thousands, of contacts from promotions tradeshows, partner events, and website leads. And data from social media monitoring and capture have added to the volume of data that organisations have to sift through. Developing marketing initiatives for an unwieldy database results in wasted budget and resources – and, more important, missed revenue opportunities. You need a data strategy to develop a comprehensive view of your customers and their interactions. That means starting with a clear understanding of what customer data you have today – from all available sources – and where there are gaps. The sources of information that feed the database are critical; just as critical, however, is how that information is collected, stored, and managed… because that’s what will help you make decisions about to whom you should market. Define your customer Who in your customer’s organisation is the buyer of the services that your company sells? Who influences the sale? Who approves it? A multilevel view will help you target messaging and better arm your sales force with the information it needs. Cleanse and standardise your data In B2B marketing, obtaining prospect information, such as company, title, contact name, and email address, is paramount. Use reference libraries to standardise mailing addresses. Implement email address formatting and domain validation to ensure higher deliverability. Match the data Data-matching is about creating links between records from various data sources to create a richer, more accurate customer profile. B2B matching is complex because of the variations in company naming conventions and sites that can span addresses. As a best-practice, you should continually refine and test your matching rules based on results. Generate insight Once...

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