When I first entered the B2B marketing space in 2009, I experienced a bit of marketing culture shock. Up until that point in my career, I had worked in the B2C space, and because the B2B world was so different, I had to go back to school to hone my digital marketing chops.
My learning curve aside, a shift was taking place in the B2B marketing industry at that time. Social media was just starting to take off, and no one was doing B2B social marketing well. We marketers simply didn't have the experience. So, measuring the ROI of social media marketing was completely out of the question. The best we could hope for was to make some sort of un-quantifiable but positive impact on our overall marketing by engaging in untested social media marketing tactics.
What I discovered during this time would become a crucial part of a marketing philosophy that has served me well as senior social media strategist at Marketo.
Being a one-dimensional marketer is simply not a good way to get ahead in the B2B world.
Today’s successful marketers aren’t just good at one thing; we are hybrid marketers. We don’t specialize in social media, email marketing, or direct mail. Instead, we integrate all the old and new marketing channels into one overall marketing strategy. We are, you might say, Renaissance marketers.
Hybrid Marketers Master Social, Email, SEO, and Analytics
As hybrid marketers, we aren’t just dabblers; we are practitioners. We go out of our way to master the tactics and strategies that make up a complete integrated marketing approach. We are willing to learn things and constantly change our skill set and points of view to serve our end goals.
In the ever-changing, highly competitive marketing landscape, we hybrid marketers must stay on top of four areas of strategy.
The first and most important step to becoming successful with social marketing is to be personally active on social media. Show me a marketing exec with a successful corporate program, and I’ll show you an exec who writes his own tweets.
To truly understand how social channels can be used for sales and marketing, marketers have to be both active and proficient. That means no shortcuts, and no hiring a proxy. But you can enlist the help of your entire organization.
As Bryan Eisenberg wrote in a recent blog post, The Shake Weight Challenge of Social Media, “Companies need to realize that people who are front line and in direct contact with your customers are some of your most valuable assets if, data immediately in hand, they are empowered to rectify problems, answer questions, and delight customers during critical touchpoints.”
Why hire an agency to handle your social media when your best social media spokespeople are your people?
Not only is it essential to understand how social platforms can be used for sales and marketing, it’s important to grasp how they integrate with your other marketing efforts. Hiring an outside team to manage social for you will hinder your ability to sync social with the rest of your marketing.
2. Email Marketing
Email is not dead, not by a long shot. What has died, though, is faith in batch’n’blast email campaigns. Marketers who believe that sending more and more emails to people on their lists is the answer to growing their businesses are becoming obsolete.
Today’s hybrid marketers are smarter. They’re building much more personalized email campaigns, and they’re creating dynamic experiences that guide the consumer along his journey to a purchase by incorporating great content, integrating social, and having the right metrics in place to create engaging email messages.
3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
To be a good hybrid marketer, you don’t need to become an SEO expert, but you do need to have a basic grasp of how SEO strategies affect your content and your search rankings. Seattle-based search analytics company Moz offers a free Beginners Guide to SEO that outlines how search engines operate, how consumers interact with them, and the basics of SEO design and development.
If you you’re not measuring the effects of your marketing efforts, then what’s the point of marketing at all? It’s your job as a marketer to pull out actionable insights from your metrics: drops in traffic, high bounce rates, conversions, etc. Google Analytics is the most obvious place to start if your company is not yet monitoring analytics, and Search Engine Watch has one of the best intro to Google Analytics guides.
If you’re not a hybrid marketer, you don’t yet have an umbrella view of how all of the above marketing techniques work together in an omnichannel world where consumers aren’t loyal to any one platform. But you can become adept in every dimension, find customers on social media one moment and email the next, and marketing automation can help. Marketing automation allows for a truly omnichannel approach, integrating email marketing, social media marketing, and all other marketing efforts so that you can track each consumer’s behavior across channels and test various campaigns and marketing tactics.
Regardless of whether your company is using marketing automation now or planning to invest in it in the near future, you can apply its fundamental tenets to your current marketing plan. Marketo has a free one-stop-shop for all things marketing automation, where you can learn the basics and, when you’re ready, dive deeper into the specifics.