In recent years, B2B marketers have redefined the customer lifecycle as an ongoing journey, replacing the funnel with a model that better illustrates the importance of drip marketing. The concept of drip marketing as a lead nurturing technique is not new, but what it looks like in the modern B2B space has evolved.
Marketers—B2B marketers in particular—spend countless hours and dollars nurturing leads through the sales cycle, only to have the bulk of them die on the vine. Extensive databases and marketing automation platforms cost millions, yet our conversations with marketers show that between 75-90% of the contacts in marketing automation platforms consistently are dormant, usually resulting in one-off interactions that never go anywhere.
What if those millions could be saved without risking leads by shifting your focus from simple drip marketing to content consumption monitoring?
Defining Content Consumption Monitoring
Content consumption monitoring is the practice of keeping an eye on what your opted-in database clients are consuming online, such as articles they're reading, white papers they're downloading, and webinars and even conferences they're attending.
The nature of B2B means that consumer journeys can be lengthy. However, the content consumed during that time can provide B2B marketers with the additional insight needed to be more efficient and effective with their targeting efforts.
Identifying when consumers are interested and contacting them at that specific point in their journey not only can save B2B marketers' time and money, doing so also can be a more effective way to drive conversions and be responsive to the clients' needs. It makes for a better user experience, which can strengthen your brand in the consumers' eyes.
That tactic is particularly effective in the B2B space. B2B customers are always "in the market" for a product because of their positions, so targeting based on interest alone is inefficient. However, layering intent data on top of existing lead profiles can tell B2B marketers the appropriate and most effective time to engage with clients. That approach employs the skill of active listening, which is so important in all communications.
An Example of How Content Consumption Monitoring Can Help Marketers
Imagine you're a marketer for a major B2B financial software company. You're working with a marketing automation system that is mostly dormant or filled with "active leads" based on a single interaction with your brand that tells you little to nothing about those customers. Your conversion rates are dismal. Moreover, you're bleeding money to keep that platform running—even though it is not mapping back to actual revenue.
Then you decide to begin to use content consumption monitoring to discover what your customers and prospects are researching in the B2B space. By using that content consumption, you can glean the specific issues customers are researching, what their pain points are, the important issues for them when making a purchase, and what critical information to provide at the right time.
By sticking close to your customer every step along the way and analyzing the patterns of content they have consumed, you can infer that they are having problems managing payroll, that they are unhappy with the user interface of their current system, and that they are looking for a more intuitive and elegant solution. You also know that cost is important to them. Finally, you see that they have completed their research and communicated with their stakeholders and are ready to implement a new system now.
So you reach out to them at that moment with appropriate information, tailored to their needs, to move your product into the consideration set.
Using just your marketing automation database, you would have had one (probably outdated) point of contact to go on to reach out to this person. By monitoring his content consumption patterns, however, you know just when and how to reach out to him, and you are much more likely to complete the sale. You will also know how to reach out to him for cross-sell and upsell opportunities, such as when his company grows so much he needs to upgrade to the enterprise version.
Though content consumption monitoring may sound like a slow, manual process, it can be integrated right into your marketing automation platform to make the data there work for you, guiding the timely selection and delivery of the right message to the right customer. Rethink the concept of lead nurturing, and redirect resources and efforts toward monitoring the consumption behaviors that paint a clearer picture of your customer for improved targeting and performance.
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