The Importance of Brand in ABM

Account-based marketing presupposes that leads are not the goal of the program. After all, it’s not called lead-based marketing. Rather than hoping someone fills out a form, modern go-to-market teams today focus on creating awareness and traffic. This translates into signals (engagement data, intent data, etc.) that outbound and sales teams can then use to understand and prioritize their accounts as they progress to revenue opportunities. So if awareness and traffic is the goal, what’s the strategy? Brand.

As a reformed B2B demand gen marketer myself, I know how that might sound questionable. You need to be measured on numbers, and brand is notoriously unquantifiable. Our CEO (and a former badass CMO), Tim Kopp, explained how brand drives demand on an episode of The Roof.

The Power of Brand

If you didn’t watch the video, here’s the key sentence: “Think about the biggest traffic days on your website. It wasn’t advertising, it was a big announcement, product enhancement, etc.” Creating a magnetic brand is so much more important than just raw lead generation.

Are you supposed to give up leads? If we’re talking about leads as raw marketing performance, then yes, absolutely, get rid of ‘em. If we’re talking about leads as qualified inbound requests who know what you’re about and need help making a buying decision, then no. Here’s the thing though: If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably not a highly transactional, product-led solution that would benefit from a coordinated go-to-market strategy. 

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brand awareness, content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, ABM, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, ABM Campaigns, Brand

Leveraging the authority of LinkedIn influencers for B2B

Most B2B marketers immediately dismiss influencer marketing as a vacuous activity only undertaken by their B2C counterparts to sell pretty packaging through anxiety-riddled models in between a morning green tea cleanse product post and a beach sunset photo.

It is far more complex and nuanced of a subject.

For B2B enterprises, the decision to employ influencer marketing comes down to a few key questions:

  1. Which influencer type is ideal?
  2. What KPI is the influencer being measured against?
  3. Which channel makes the most sense for this campaign?
  4. How does an enterprise go about creating and managing an effective influencer campaign based on the above?

To keep this discussion brief, influencers can generally be classified into three categorical buckets: aspirational, authoritative, and peer. As a definition, the aspirational influencer is a celebrity type, often with a large following, aspirational influencers are what most think of when visualizing what an influencer might look like.

The peer influencer, by contrast, is the everyday dad stopping at the grocery store on the way home from the office, your fishing enthusiast uncle on Facebook, or you to your next-door neighbor.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, marketing leaders, influencer marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Conversions, Conversion Rate

The Evolution of B2B Marketing: From Cost to Growth

Since I started my career in B2B marketing—nearly twenty years ago—I’ve seen this industry fundamentally change what it does and how it does it. In this article I want to explore some of these changes and show how they’ve redefined the role of today’s marketer.

But first, let’s remind ourselves how things used to work…

Before I got into marketing, I worked as an auditor in a Big Four accountancy firm. A few months in, I knew it wasn’t for me. I wanted to be creating something rather than checking what other people had done.

Then something amazing happened. I was asked to work on a marketing project. My first thought was… wait, we have a marketing department? That sounds like fun! And right away I realized I’d found my home.

Back then, B2B marketing was mostly seen as a creative endeavor. Metrics and KPIs were general at best, nonexistent at worst. You only really had data on things like who attended an event, how many contacts received direct mail, and so on.

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B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Marketing Analytics

The death of third-party cookies is inevitable, the death of effective digital advertising is not

Google’s update on 3 March on third-party cookies didn’t come as a huge surprise to many, but it has sent shockwaves through the advertising community.

Google had already announced it was removing support for third-party cookies in Chrome as of 2022, but it has now confirmed it will not build or integrate other forms of identifiers to track individuals browsing the web.

Why is this big news for the online advertising industry?

There have been several ID solutions that have emerged with some driving decent adoption. However, this latest announcement creates a big question mark around such solutions in the long term. Unsurprisingly, many commentators have argued that Google is using consumer privacy as a lever to further raise their walls and protect their position from the competition.

Irrespective of whether people agree with this, it means that in the long run advertisers will have bigger issues deciding which solutions and technologies to adopt, and most crucially whether those solutions will provide scale – especially in markets outside the United States. So where does this leave advertisers?

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B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, Marketing 2021, Thirt-party Cookies, Google, Browser Cookies, Ads Tracking

Intent data is the future of B2B marketing

Using intent data to gain a better understanding of your audience is fast becoming the future of B2B marketing.

One of the main barriers when it comes to utilising intent data is that it’s hard to define its true value. Intent data provides a deeper understanding of the buyer journey and how customers make purchase decisions. This article covers what intent data is and outlines how you can use this information to implement better lead generation strategies.

What is intent data?

Intent data provides businesses with insight into the process users go through when looking to buy their product or solution. It does this by tracking intent search terms through a combination of IP addresses and cookies and is collated using a range of digital sources. Intent data notifies businesses that their customers are in an active buying journey, allowing them to focus their marketing strategy on those prepared to purchase and boost conversions.

Types of intent data

Intent data can be either first-party or third-party. Third-party data comes from sources and websites other than your own; there are several third-party data providers that collect data from thousands of high-value analyst sites like Gartner, as well as publications like Forbes, and bucket this data into relevant audiences.

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marketing strategy, B2B marketing, marketing leaders, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Buying intent, Intent Data, Marketing Metrics, Marketing Analytics

Where Does Thought Leadership Marketing Fit In Each Stage Of The TOFU, MOFU And BOFU Models?

Thought leaders challenge barriers and conventional wisdom. Some are influencers, others are tech leaders with a portfolio of successful innovations. So how can you become a thought leader, keep building credibility and provide value to your audience wherever they are in the marketing funnel?

Here, I share the best types of thought leadership content to use at the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU).

What are the benefits of thought leadership marketing?

Thought leadership positions your company, product or brand as an authority within the specific market segment you compete in. In my experience, a thought leadership marketing program will elevate your brand's profile, leading to more sales and increased influence in the market. You'll also uncover new opportunities as your profile grows. An additional benefit is greater pricing power. Edelman's 2019 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study revealed that 60% of C-suite executives are willing to pay a premium rate for a product or service from a company that has thought leadership as part of their philosophy.

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marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Thought Leadership, Sales funnel

B2B Content Isn’t Boring Unless Your Writing Is

It’s a common refrain: “We’re a B2B company. We can’t do the same things those B2C funsters get up to.” Another good one is, “Our product/industry/niche is just too serious and boring for content marketing.”

But it’s also worth pointing out that shedloads of content are published every day for which “boring” might be a polite description (“predictable” and “unnecessary” would be others.) I regularly come across reports, white papers, and articles that would require me to stab myself repeatedly in the leg with a fork simply to stay awake beyond the opening paragraphs.

I’m sure the marketers publishing this content wouldn’t say it’s boring. Perhaps they don’t always realize it is. Perhaps internal feedback convinced them the world really is desperate for an academic thesis on interlocking flanges … or something. Perhaps, as can be the case in B2B, the content was written to satisfy an internal audience – a C-suite eager for the brand to appear smarter than the competition on everything to do with flanges.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, marketing tactics, Tactical Marketing Plan, B2B strategy

Lead Conversion Statistics All B2B Marketers Need to Know

B2B marketing is complex with a myriad of tactics, technologies, and data solutions to choose from to promote your business and sell your products and services.

As complex as modern B2B marketing is, it is also as simple as:

  • How do I attract people to my products and services
  • How do I convert those people to purchase?

Ascend2, in partnership with Verse, surveyed 277 marketing professionals to learn more about the state of lead conversion.

If you find that lead conversion is difficult, you are not alone. The State of Lead Conversion in Marketing and Sales found that only 12% of marketing professionals are very satisfied with their lead conversion abilities.

Companies continue to struggle with establishing contact, qualifying, and effectively following up with the leads they spend so much time and money to generate. Lead conversion is challenging, but the inability to improve lead conversion rates has several significant, negative downstream impacts: wasted marketing budget, wasted sales team time, and significant lost revenue opportunity.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, marketing leaders, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors, Conversions, Conversion Rate

What B2B Marketing Leaders Are Measuring: Five Key Takeaways

  • Our 2020 Metrics Study looked at the metrics included on the leadership dashboards used by B2B marketing leaders to express performance
  • The selections of metrics provides a deep view into the areas of performance B2B marketing leaders are prioritizing
  • Differences seen between high- and low-growth organizations provide a view into how successful companies focus their performance measurement

Are you curious about what marketing leaders across B2B are measuring these days? How does it compare with what your organization is measuring? We’ve recently completed our 2020 Metrics Study and have some answers.

The study looked at the metrics B2B leaders use to manage performance. Instead of asking leaders their opinions on which metrics they feel are most important or have available should the need arise, we simply asked worldwide B2B leaders which metrics appear on their company’s top-level dashboards. I’ll focus on the data we gathered on top-level marketing dashboards, often referred to as the CMO dashboard.

I’ll focus on the data we gathered on top-level marketing dashboards, often referred to as the CMO dashboard. The findings tell us some critical things about the state of B2B marketing today:

  • Leadership attention is precious. Although the potential for marketing to make an impact may feel limitless, the attention of executive audiences has its limits. On average, marketing leadership dashboards present eight metrics for consistent review. 
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marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, CMO, marketing leaders, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021

In B2B Marketing, Personalization and Relevancy Must be the Same

Remember back in 2010 when you got your first email from a brand that knew your first name automatically and it gave you all the feels? I still remember my first “Hello Randy!” marketing email. It felt so personal, didn’t it?

But then, as with everything cool and new, it quickly became the norm. We figured out merge fields, the magic was revealed and those initial “ooh” and “ahh” sensations we first felt left us in a hurry. Fast-forward to today, and personalization is still a key goal in marketing. It could even be argued that it’s grown in importance, as data has become more accessible and actionable.

But… do you really understand personalization? What if I told you that relevancy is actually at the heart of the personalization you need today in your marketing? It’s true, and here’s why:

Merge Text Fields are the Bare Minimum

First, don’t get me wrong. I have zero beef with merge fields and it’s still cool to log in to my Netflix account, for example, and see that familiar salutation with my name on the screen. But it’s what comes after the hello that can make me feel like the VIP of customers and, even more importantly, provide me with real value.

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content marketing culture, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, CMO, marketing leaders, personalization, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Marketing Trends 2021, Content Relevancy, Merge Text Fields

6 Signs You Need to Rewrite Your Web Content

A good website is more than the sum of its parts. Certainly, you need logical navigation, clean graphic design, strong calls to action, and a robust internal linking strategy, among other considerations. And don’t forget about your written content! The written copy on your website is crucially important for educating and persuading customers, for gaining SEO traction, and for conveying the vision and values of your company.

Web content isn’t meant to last forever. On the contrary, it’s a good idea to revise your copywriting every two or three years. This gives you a chance to offer fresh content to the Google algorithms, and also to refine or update your company’s messaging.

Beyond that, there are a few telltale signs that your Web copy could stand an update… whether you rewrite it yourself, or enlist the expertise of Grammar Chic, Inc.

Signs You Need Fresh Web Copywriting

1) Your Google traction is slipping

One of the most important aspects of copywriting is that it signals to Google what your company is all about, and how your website should be categorized. If you’re not getting the kind of Google traffic you’d like, it’s possible that bad copy is to blame… and that a content refresh could put you back on Google’s radar.

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marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, storytelling, seo, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Remarkable Marketing, Brand Storytelling, COVID-19 Impact, Copywriting, Brand Management, Rebranding

Time To Update Your B2B Go-To-Market Strategy

“The internet hasn’t been kind to the sales rep,” says sales and marketing author Brian Gray.

If you are thinking your sales reps will be the gateway of your go-to-market strategy, experts say you have another think coming.

Increasingly, sales reps must provide an experience, not just info.

“Before the internet, when the rep was in control of distributing all the information a prospect could get, they knew early on that they were being considered,” says Gray, leader of Revenue Path Group. “It allowed for multitouch sales methodologies to form. Each call, at each stage, took on different importance and training.”

Before the internet, business-to-business (B2B) prospects needed a sales rep to obtain information. That meant that as soon as a prospect entered the marketplace, they were in touch with viable options.

“Today that's not the case,” says Gray. “Prospects delegate a lot of research to a lower-level employee, who brings options to the table. By the time they make contact, they have decided their own solution, pigeonholed you in with some competitors and want you to compete on price.”

The importance of the internet and social media is not news. But like many other aspects of marketing, Covid-19 has dramatically accelerated this shift. This has a huge impact on go-to-market strategy.

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marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, CMO, marketing leaders, customer experience, sales strategy, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Sales Cycle, Go-to-market

Why sales enablement is much more than just another buzzword

But what about sales enablement? Is it just one more buzzword used by businesses to try and sell another piece of software that doesn’t actually help salespeople? The short answer is a resounding no. Sales enablement is much more than a buzzword – and it’s here to stay.

The only complication is that it can mean different things to different people, and its definition has changed significantly over the years. Before technology reigned supreme, sales enablement could be defined as anything that helps teams sell better. For example, a comfortable pair of shoes that allows sales teams to move faster and for longer than their competitors. Today, things are rather different.

In the modern world, sales enablement is all about using content and resources in the most effective and efficient way possible, with the goal of helping sales teams complete more sales faster by shortening the buyer journey.

Content that connects

Sales enablement helps to solve many of the key problems that B2B sellers suffer from – namely the fact that there is too much content, and at the same time, rarely the right content when it’s actually needed.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, marketing leaders, future of marketing, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Building trust, B2B Brands, Sales Advisors

B2B marketing: Solving the big five challenges

Let’s face it, as a B2B tech company, marketing isn’t easy.

With typically longer sales cycles, multiple key stakeholders involved in every decision, fierce competition within the industry, and many B2B businesses selling complex solutions rather than single products, B2B tech marketing is… well, it’s complicated. But it’s not impossible.

To help you succeed, we’ve broken down 5 of the most common marketing challenges faced by B2B tech businesses today, and how you can solve them.

B2B tech: it’s a fast-paced industry
With the tech industry evolving so fast, marketers need to be agile; pivoting quickly and adapting effectively when faced with changes or growing competition within the market.

To stay on the leading edge of the industry, be sure to keep your ear to the ground at all times. This means keeping an eye on your target market and your competition, and monitoring reputable sources for any announcements, opportunities or potential threats to your brand.

Changes within the market can present a real problem for businesses who aren’t paying attention. But they can be a boon to brands who are prepared to change and adapt.

Sometimes being just a little quicker than the competition may be all you need. For example: being the first to start talking about a rising trend or new cutting edge technology may help your brand define itself as a thought leader in your industry.

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marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, CMO, marketing leaders, Tactical Marketing Plan, Best tactics marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021

Why The Top B2B Brands Compete On Story

In this economic downturn, we have seen firsthand the impact of curbed purchasing decisions in the global business-to-business (B2B) marketplace. Where traditional acquisition marketing has struggled, brand storytelling is flourishing and has a direct impact on the marketing pipeline.

Robert McKee wrote that "Leaders use story to author the future." Why is this more important than ever? In these challenging times, your audience wants to be led through this downturn into the future that awaits them.

To better understand the key themes that inspire effective storytelling, let's look backward to look forward. Prior downturns have taught me there are six themes that are most relevant in brand storytelling during times of crisis: humor, nostalgia, optimism, patriotism, price and value, empowerment. But knowing these themes is not enough to create a story brand. To do that, we need to take a few more steps in our praxis.

So, how do you get B2B brand storytelling right? Here are a few guidelines that truly make a difference.

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lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, capturing audience, content marketing, marketing leaders, storytelling, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Remarkable Marketing, Brand Storytelling, COVID-19 Impact

The 3 most destructive mistakes marketers make with intent data

Growing usage of intent data is proof that marketers are excited about its promise: to illuminate who is actively in the market for a solution, and the topics in which they are likely interested. But the downside is that, if not used correctly, intent data will fail to deliver results.

To help you avoid pitfalls and make the most of intent data, here are three common mistakes that you can avoid with upfront planning.

1) Marketers see intent data as a silver bullet

Intent data is not magical. Its potential is exciting, but it won’t fill in all of your marketing gaps. Many marketers see the possibilities that intent data brings, and assume that the technology will do their work for them. But as with any other marketing tech innovation, we know that they don’t work unless we do.

Intent data won’t miraculously fix all issues in your marketing and sales process. But it is valuable. What it can do is improve business outcomes by creating greater efficiency in your funnel.

For example, as you get more sophisticated in working with – and responding to – intent data, you can likely improve your cost per lead by truly delivering the right message, at the right time to the right people.

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content marketing culture, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, Tactical Marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Advertising trends 2021, Buying intent

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