Bombora’s second annual Intent Event in September, I began noticing a
developing trend among several successful B2B sales and marketing teams. No
fewer than six presentations shared a common way of gathering, organizing, and
perhaps most importantly, valuing all their sources and types of data.
intrigued me. However, it wasn’t until I put this trend into the larger context
of the industry’s move from automation to orchestration that the importance of
this new data framework became clear.
following outlines the data framework from a high level. Of course, a framework
is one thing. How you use that framework is another. Due to length (and
attention-span) constraints, I’ll address using the framework at a later time.
Marketing’s Shift From Automation to Orchestration Is Affecting Data in a Big
influential B2B marketers have recently written about this shift. As Marc
Johnson, CMO at Bombora, put it in his recent byline, “Marketing Automation
Must Give Way To Marketing Orchestration”: “Orchestration means moving
away from automating single tools and components, toward having all of the
different marketing and sales elements running off of the same data and talking
to each other …. It’s about actually aligning around what the consumer needs
and what the prospect is interested in — while resisting the extraneous.”
beginning of this year, I predicted several business-to-business (B2B)
marketing trends for 2019; as we wrap up the year, I wanted to share where I
see the biggest opportunities for B2B marketers in 2020. Clairvoyance aside,
the following covers seven trends to guide and inform your 2020 demand
Demystifying Intent Data
believe the hype around intent data will reach an all-time high in 2020. I
called intent data out in my 2019 B2B marketing trends article, but I believe
marketers are just starting to scratch the surface on how to best
operationalize these insights. For years, B2B marketers have obsessed about
leveraging technology to deliver the right message to the right person at the
right time, but delivering a truly personalized message, in terms of content,
timing and concern, is exceptionally difficult without intent insights.
data refers to signals about a person or an account’s intention to do
something. These intent insights are gleaned from digital footprints and can help
you make your marketing experiences more relevant and personalized. From
account prioritization to guiding your content marketing efforts, I predict the
use cases and wins for B2B marketers leveraging intent will skyrocket next
B2B organizations form a part of the industry where the marketing and sales cycle is a complex one. There are many decision-makers who come into play while making the final decision. So, as a B2B technology marketer, you should aim to fulfill the requirements of various sections of people. This can be highly challenging as aligning your content with the needs of different stakeholders in a B2B organization is similar to walking on a tight rope.
In a survey, almost 68 percent of the respondents stated that creating content for different roles is a challenging one.
As a B2B marketer, you have to meet the needs of all these individuals who make the purchase on behalf of their organization. There are many takeaways from 2019, which you, as a technology marketer should consider to increase the outreach, find out the essential ones:
Increase in content marketing budget:
From the above image, one can see that almost half of the B2B marketers expect their content marketing budget to increase in 2019. As quoted by a millennial keynote speaker, Brian Fanzo:
“Content is not king, great content is king.”
So, if one starts investing in developing better content, then they are likely to gain much better business results.
When marketing to larger companies, entrepreneurs know they need to stand out. While many of them execute engaging, belly-busting B2C campaigns, however, they rarely break the mold with their B2B marketing. Why not? Often, it’s because they take “professional” to mean “boring.” But the fact is that B2B buyers are people, too. The same tactics that resonate with everyday consumers — humor, color and playfulness — catch the eye of procurement professionals. Serious, trustworthy, compelling and fun can co-exist in B2B campaigns. Here’s how to do it.
Let your corny side shine.
Paper isn’t a product that requires a lot of explaining. Yet until recently, Case Paper’s marketing strategy focused on its product rather than what made the company special. Beyond its strong customer service, which many companies can claim, what distinguishes the family owned paper company is its quirky sense of humor. Seeing those things in your own company can be tough. It wasn’t until Case brought in B2B marketing agency Renegade that it embraced wordplay like “gives a sheet.” “On the case,” a play on its name, forms the basis of its new story statement. From Case Paper’s “About” page to the decals on its delivery trucks, Case Paper uses surprising visuals, fun asides and likable language.
Bad puns. Dad jokes. Wacky photos. Quirky, authentic content cuts through because it reminds us to laugh at the small things. Forget your filter, and embrace that low-lying comedic fruit.
Whether it’s for a B2B or B2C business, marketing is all about generating, securing, and converting leads. However, if you’re a B2B marketer, you’ll need to utilize a different assortment of marketing strategies than those employed by B2Cs. And the B2B purchasing landscape isn’t just distinct from B2C—it has evolved from the traditional B2B buying process, which the seller initiated and controlled.
Today’s B2B buying is increasingly digital; buyers are more prepared when they first talk to salespeople; there are more people involved in a single decision; and these stakeholders have high demands for the customer experience. In a nutshell, the buyer is now initiating the process, and they hold much more power.
The Modern B2B Landscape
You’ll need to make sure the strategies you utilize reflect these key elements of the modern B2B purchasing landscape:
Substantial Preliminary Research
Thanks to the power of the internet, B2B buyers usually perform extensive research prior to having their first conversation with one of your representatives. They use multiple channels and multiple forms of media, including websites, social media, online videos, and peer reviews and recommendations.
Think about the last time you met someone new. You probably shook their hand and immediately took note of their body language or facial expressions. Typically in these situations, your conversation starts with small talk — perhaps what they do for work, where they’re from or acquaintances you both may know. If you find the relationship mutually beneficial, you may begin to follow each other on social media, or exchange emails or text messages to plan when you’ll get together again to further the relationship. I’d like to argue that it’s time to start thinking about your business to business (B2B) marketing strategy the same way you think about building relationships.
We expect to gain something from our friendships or relationships. Potential customers have the same expectations. You need to prove your value. Tactics like targeted media exposure contributed content, influencer relations, social media, speaking engagements and website downloads invite potential customers into your company story as friends versus onlookers. A strategic B2B marketing approach builds a relationship with the customer by providing valuable, relevant and consistent content.
A few days ago, Mantis Research and BuzzSumo published the results of their latest survey regarding the use of original research in marketing. The State of Original Research for Marketing 2019 survey was fielded in May and June of this year and produced 644 responses from global marketers. Forty-seven percent of the respondents were from the United States, and 70% were affiliated with B2B companies.
Both Michele Linn with Mantis Research and Chris McCormick with BuzzSumo have written excellent summaries of the research results. You can find Michele’s summary here and Chris’ summary here. If you’re a B2B marketer, I encourage you to read both of these articles, and even better, take the time to review the full survey report.
In the 2019 survey, 39% of the respondents said they had published the results of original research within the 12 months preceding the survey. The comparable percentage in the 2018 version of the survey was 47%. Chris McCormick believes this drop is primarily due to a shift in the demographics of the survey pool rather than a decline in research use, and I tend to agree with his view.
Are you looking for new ways to beef up your digital marketing strategy?
While B2C strategies get significant focus, through the latest new feature releases and consumer tools, B2B brands need to implement more specific processes which will help guide their target consumers through the lead generation and sales process.
There are a range of considerations to within this – but what’s the best approach for B2B organizations to take when implementing an effective digital strategy?
That’s what this infographic from Imaginasium is about, showcasing an array of key stats and insights to help you construct a more effective approach.
And while a couple of the points are easier said than done (“Build a content marketing juggernaut”), the overall strategic guidance will help direct you on the path to developing a more effective, beneficial, strategy.
The B2B market has seen significant growth and development in recent years, and it’s not hard to trace the original source – the advance of the internet and the various technologies that surround it. It’s no secret that pretty much every company has an active online presence these days, and those who take proper advantage of that situation stand to gain a lot when it comes to B2B interactions.
Not all strategies in this sector are equal though – some will work much better than others, especially today.
Though a somewhat controversial topic among marketers, inbound marketing remains a powerful tool in the hands of those who use it right. It can generate strong leads through the regular posting of content that’s relevant to other businesses. There are many channels that can be utilized to drive traffic to the content you’re generating and posting, and it’s a good idea to look into all of them in detail before committing to anyone in particular. Because in the long run, you might not have that much of an opportunity to change things after getting started with a particular method.
If you think artificial intelligence (AI) is just another buzzword, you’re both right and wrong. Let me explain.
AI has been a hot topic in business to business (B2B) marketing for several years now and for good reason. From improving account identification to using intent-level data to better understand prospects and customers to being able to deliver a one-to-one connection at scale, AI is the driving force behind much of the B2B marketing innovation you see today.
There are real and tangible ways that AI is changing how we market to our customers. In these instances, the hype clearly lives up to the buzz. In fact, more than 84% of B2B marketers and salespeople are using, implementing, planning to use or evaluating AI. However, where the hype falls short is in actual usage. There is a clear disconnect between understanding the value of AI and implementation. This disconnect in adoption often stems from barriers such as cost, budget constraints and skills.
So, how can B2B marketers overcome those barriers and embrace AI? Having incorporated AI technologies into our own services and marketing at Demandbase, here are three of my tips on doing so in your B2B marketing strategy.
Tip 1: Understand your challenges.
First of all, it’s important to note that marketers don’t need to “learn” AI any more than they need to learn Python or Java. Instead, marketers need to have a solid understanding of what challenges they need to solve. For example, would you like to better understand your customers, better reach your customers or better measure your campaigns? Once you have identified your challenges, you can determine which technology solutions can help solve those challenges.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.