Gone are the days of the traditional B2B marketer who works exclusively with the sales team and over the phone to generate sales leads. In today's digital world, B2B buyers are more self-sufficient and reliant on digital marketing assets.
The most interesting recent trend we've been seeing is the adoption on the B2B side of B2C techniques. B2B marketing has become so sophisticated that it has begun to embrace what B2C marketing does. It's not just about lead management. It's about the customer journey and incorporating both outbound channels and inbound interactions.
So, how does a B2B marketer embrace B2C marketing techniques? Here are five approaches that B2B marketers can borrow from B2Cs.
1. They embrace digital
In a cross-channel world, embracing digital involves tying online digital to other tactics where marketers use marketing automation. For buyers in a B2B world, much of their research into a purchase happens before they're known or authenticated.
Marketers need to be able to tie in interactions from that aspect of the journey with what the buyer is doing in other channels. Buyers rely on those channels. They don't want to talk to someone; they want to research on their own.
Marketers must use marketing automation and technology to enable a cohesive buyer experience. Every time a buyer visits, the experience should be consistent on other channels.
2. B2Bs integrate, integrate, integrate
For example, if (in your organization) mobile is supported in a separate platform from the marketing automation platform, you should find ways to make a seamless integration between the two.
You want to integrate analytics, too. Its common use is to gather insights gained from analytics for better decision-making—checking out what's working, what's not, and so on— but also to be more cutting edge and forward thinking. For example, a marketer could use analytics to help predict who is more likely to respond or engage to a campaign and take action based on those insights.
Integrating content and content management is another step. Marketers need centralized access to digital assets being used across different Web properties, in emails, and on landing pages. And markers don't just need access to these assets, they also need to be able to use them more consistently.
3. B2Bs know how to manage resources
Managing resources, tasks, and calendars has more to do with managing the business of marketing—that is, making sure resources align so everyone has visibility under the same marketing calendar. That includes keeping track of campaign start and end dates but also managing the different tasks that need to be completed before a campaign goes out the door.
4. They combine online and offline
Combining online and offline data can help you obtain a single view of a customer. It involves taking any and all data points about a customer, whether it's online behavior data, data provided via a preference center, or responses to campaigns and putting it together into a single view.
Having a single view of your customer enables more intelligent, more focused, and more engaged marketing.
5. They integrate with Sales and CRM
Seamless integration with Sales and Marketing is often a marketing automation requirement. It enables marketing and sales teams to be more in step. It means you can give Sales a macro view of what's going on in the world of marketing (e.g. what campaigns are coming up next month, in three months, and so on) and also a micro view.
For example, consider a specific customer in a mass campaign to register for a webinar. Our customer opens the email, clicks to the landing page, fills out a form, and registers for the webinar. This could alert sales: This is a lead. He responded to one of our marketing campaigns and registered for a webinar. Sales could then send a reminder or follow-up email.
What are most enterprises doing now?
Managing the customer journey is about more efficiently acquiring customers and nurturing them to create a relationship. The idea might be visionary, but marketers are talking about it.
Today, most marketers are familiar with the need to combine online and offline data, but creating that combination is difficult if the marketer uses disparate solutions.
Likewise, marketers know the importance of mobile. They know they need to make sure mobile is prevalent in their marketing interactions and that emails are legible on mobile devices—which is where most searches happen.
However, brands are still struggling with integrating analytics, particularly the predictive piece. Getting a single view of the customer is still a challenge because new channels are always coming online. There are always new ways for customers to interact.
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