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

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 Case for Community-Based Marketing in 2021

It would be easy to attribute the weak B2B marketing efforts to the pandemic or the reduced budgets that resulted from it, but the uncomfortable truth is that traditional marketing tactics are becoming outdated and ineffective and need to be updated.

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marketing strategy, B2B marketing, CMO, marketing leaders, B2B strategy, Marketing 2021, Marketing Trends 2021, Building Community, Opt-in Community, CBM, Community Based Marketing

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

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

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

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

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