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 Modern Approach to Account Based Marketing

Account-based marketing plays a critical role in the growth of many businesses across a variety of industries. However, many marketers often rely on ABM when it may not be the best fit. In addition, what worked for account-based marketing even just a few months ago, may not be the most optimal strategy for marketing today.

In this article, we’ll explore how account-based marketing has changed over the years and whether or not it should be your focus. We’ll also explore in detail the many factors you need to consider to do ABM right.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) isn’t new

While reading a book called “No Forms, No Cold Calls & No Spam” by Latané Conant, I came to the realization that many vendors try to position ABM as a $40,000 technology stack problem.

The book dedicates quite a few pages to the ‘customer-centric stack’ and argues that because you’re now able to know when someone is in the market for a solution like yours [via IP lookup or 1st or 3rd party intent data], you don’t need to “spam” them.

Here’s the irony though— even though potential customers may be in the market for a solution like yours, you still need to deploy the traditional sales/marketing strategies to convince them to make a purchase.

While it is true that technology has enabled us to create more personalized & relevant experiences for prospects & allowed us to target people in very specific ways, it can also quickly approach the point of diminishing returns.

The marketing industry, like most industries, like to invent new terms to recycle old concepts. And in the case ABM, that’s exactly what has happened. Account-Based Marketing has in fact been around since the 1940s. When sales made a list of logos they wanted to sell, or the list of ‘dream customers’ to close. In those days we just called it sales.

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content marketing culture, lead generation, marketing strategy, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing, content marketing, marketing leaders, ABM, B2B strategy, Building trust, B2B Brands, ABM Campaigns

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 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

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