Successful marketing needs many talents, always has done. But in this day of multi-channel overload, one can feel a bit like a rabbit in headlights. B2C marketing learned to manage all the strands a while ago, but B2B has little option but to catch up now. Consumers have got used to highly personalised and tailored contact, and those consumers are also business buyers during the working day. They’ve become accustomed to being empowered through pertinent choice, and that’s now filtering into their day job decisions too. Non-personalised mass communication is a thing of the past for the eager digital B2B marketer. So if you’d like to put yourself ahead of the curve, read on…
Work out what you ALREADY know about your customers
This is the best launch pad for the new regime. Take stock of the knowledge base you already have. Your CRM data will undoubtedly be your starting point, but there are others. Take email interactions, for example, or responses on social media; even a business’s previous buying decisions should now be included. If the data is already out there, use it.
Start to unify your campaigns
You’ll have run superb email campaigns that have driven traffic to your website in the past. You may even have tied those campaigns in with some social media interaction; and if you have, you’ve certainly started on the multi-channel journey. But it’s time to look at other channels too. Consider tying your messages in with a direct mailing (yes, snail mail!). Investigate where else your well-written and carefully crafted informative digital content can spread your branding reach. Keep EVERY message consistent. Think web, email, mobile, printed, and social.
Understand how the buyer’s journey applies to your data mix
Can you identify where people are at any point of time in their journey? Can you then tailor content that will engage in the right way, according to their current position? Sometimes this may mean combining your campaign data and social media data with your sales data. Tailoring your content across multiple channels in a targeted way isn’t easy, but if you want to step ahead of your B2B competitors it’s a business-winning method of doing so.
Look at making your marketing real-time
A simple starting point is, for example, to follow up the download of a whitepaper with a targeted email. But real-time marketing can be far more sophisticated than that. Marketing automation and predictive analytics can take you into a different orbit. Calls-to-action, subject lines, even specific offers, can be chosen to accurately map the tastes, needs, and focus of your B2B customer.
Get your departments collaborating
United we stand; divided we fall. When it comes to multi-channel marketing that’s the mantra. Marketing, sales, business ops, and all other departments that so much as touch the customer journey, they need to work together. Develop complementary strategies. Implement complementary campaigns. Analyse the results… together.
Is it really worth all this extra thought?
Well, aside from increasing sales of course, there are significant benefits, actually, and your organisation will be in a better place for them.
For a start, it becomes clear, very quickly, when what’s meant to be a well-oiled machine isn’t. Sticking points, snag spots, customer irritation triggers… you’ll soon find out where there are issues. But one of the greatest benefits is that your business starts to get used to agile thinking. Procedures and processes have to work across the organisation to ensure a consistent approach, yet also allow for quick responses. It can be hard when that’s not been the culture, but boy-oh-boy is it refreshing when it starts to prove its worth.
So where should you start?
We suggest you kick things off with a few questions. The answers will naturally lead you in the right direction. Such questions could be, for example:
- How well do we understand our customer’s journey?
- Where should we focus first?
- Which touchpoints and channels are right for our market?
- What internal blockages do we need to clear?
- What external expertise should we use to get the best return for our time/money investment?
If you’d like help answering these questions and perhaps formulating a strategy, please do give us a ring. There’s nothing we enjoy more than bringing together what appears to be a disparate set of important skills, shining a torch where it needs to be shone whilst removing the dazzle, and then putting a business firmly in charge of its headlights so it can clearly see the best path forward.