6 Marketing Trends to Set Up Your B2B Marketing  Campaigns for Success in 2021

What are the most successful B2B marketers doing this year? Heading into Q2 of 2021, research-proven insights about business decision-makers can have large implications for your B2B marketing strategy. It’s never too late to pivot or adapt when you make optimization an ongoing priority.

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marketing strategy, B2B marketing, CMO, content creation, marketing leaders, Account Based Marketing, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Marketing Trends 2021

How e-books can provide actionable value to B2B buyers

In an age of the compelling images and short, snappy sentences, the e-book comes across like a dinosaur. It’s just a few thousands words of tightly-packed information, backed by a few charts and graphs. Yet it remains a vital tool in converting a prospect into a customer in the B2B marketing world.

That lead you are trying to reach has to make an “informed” buying decision. Getting that person to purchase will require time, effort and facts. Here the e-book delivers, as B2B customers are looking for authoritative sources to inform, confirm and validate.

“The B2B audience is ideal for e-books, particularly during WFH [work from home] time. Candidly, we’re seeing a higher likelihood of someone spending time absorbing long-form information when their boss isn’t walking past their desk every half hour,” said Adam Smartschan, Chief Strategy Officer at Altitude Marketing, a B2B agency. “B2B buyers are doing more and more research as budgets tighten – helping them along with solid, useful content is a great way for marketers to prove their company’s worth.”

Slow, but well aimed

Like everything in marketing, knowing your target audience is half the challenge before making the pitch.

That means looking at any data compiled from past interactions. Consumer testimonials, surveys and third-party data can be used as source material, noted Jeff Taylor, VP for Media at influencer and performance marketing agency Viral Nation. SEO and keyword search are also useful, added Altitude’s Director of Content Marketing, Jeff Kotran. “But additionally, you must determine what industry publications – what stable of blogs, newsletters and forums – do they visit to learn about the problems their business has and how to solve them?”

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B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Marketing Analytics, ebook, Marketing Assets, B2B Buyers

How Conversational Marketing can Optimise your B2B Sales Cycle

Today's consumers have become very specific about how they want to engage and interact with companies. With the ever-changing digital environment eliminating human interaction from the sales process, all a consumer needs to become a loyal customer is conversation and personalisation, and B2B customers are no different to any other.

They want to interact in real-time with your business; they want to engage with the appropriate representative at their convenience; and they want to navigate a streamlined sales process without having to fill out a contact form or wait for feedback. Often, they cannot afford to delay the sales process any longer than need be –?time is money, after all.

In fact, according to the Accenture, 73% of B2B buyers say they want a personalized, B2C-like customer experience. With this in mind, B2B companies running a successful sales process know that conversational marketing is integral to doing business online.

It’s all about talking to your prospects

Your sales reps need to capitalize on the traffic that your marketing team is driving to your site by engaging and conversing with consumers at their level. Good conversational marketing practice gives potential customers the option to reach out and get the information they need, when they need it, without feeling bombarded by sales pitches.

If you strike the balance just right, implementing a conversational marketing approach will optimise your sales process.

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content marketing trends, marketing strategy, B2B marketing, content marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Sales Cycle, Sales Enablement

Four Mistakes B2B Marketers Make When Creating Content For Sales Enablement

Content marketing is a tool that should be used to smooth every stage and touch point of the customer journey.

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content marketing trends, marketing strategy, B2B marketing, content marketing, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Sales Cycle, Sales Enablement

The ten key elements of a buyer-driven strategy

We can look to COVID-19 as the accelerant needed to adapt B2B marketing, but it is only that, an accelerant. Buyers were changing their habits long before COVID (how they consume content, research and make decisions, engage with vendors), and they will continue on that path. We are now in a buyer's world, and we need a buyer-driven strategy. But it's a significant change for organizations that typically follow a marketing-driven or sales-driven strategy. Integrate believes they have the technology to help make that change.

I spoke with Integrate CMO Deb Wolfe about the changes marketers face and how the technology, Integrate's in particular, is evolving to support those changing needs.

Adopting a buyer-driven strategy

Wolfe said that buyers don't care where they are in your marketing-defined journey map; they don't know or care about campaigns, accounts, or anything marketing or sales organizes. They want information to help them make purchase decisions, and they want an easy path to purchase regardless of where they are. Organizations need a solution that orchestrates a consistent experience across the entire journey.

Although there are a number of best-of-breed technologies to support marketing and sales, including ABM solutions, marketing automation, sales enablement, and so on, only a few tackle multiple channels and strategies. For example, Demandbase One is a combination of lead generation and ABM. But no tech vendor is investing in all channels. That's where Integrate sees its Demand Acceleration Platform (DAP) fitting in.

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marketing strategy, B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, B2B strategy, B2B Sales, Marketing 2021, Buyer-driven Strategy

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

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

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