Does your marketing strategy capture and engage the educated buyers of today?
The era of the educated buyer is here, unleashing revolutionary changes in how Business-to-Business (B2B) marketers must interact with audiences. Nowhere is this new balance of dialogue, education and selling more evident than on the web.
We have all become educated buyers. Whether purchasing a single computer accessory or a multi-million dollar enterprise service, educated buyers want concise, relevant information before making purchase decisions. Educated buyers don’t want to be sold something — they want to be empowered to make the best choices. This means that marketers must provide the right information, when, where and the way educated buyers want it to be.
To keep pace with this transformation, B2B marketers have turned to the web as the most cost-effective and timely channel for helping business customers educate themselves. Today’s online properties give marketing teams an enormous assortment of outreach alternatives, such as:
- Online display ads
- Social media
- Search marketing
- Web presence
- Mobile marketing
The ability to segment and reach large target markets continues to drive marketing teams to employ these and other interactive marketing alternatives, and has revolutionised the nature and pace of B2B marketing.
More and more marketing activity is being driven to the web in response to the preferences of the educated buyer. As a result, marketers must master new ways to answer critical, long-standing questions about the overall effectiveness of both traditional and new interactive marketing programs.
The ability to measure, refine, and quickly adjust ongoing marketing efforts has become a core requirement of marketing teams in today’s highly competitive, continually shifting global markets.
Capture, engage and get personal
The email blasts of the past have been replaced with online marketing that creates a dialog with customers, requiring the creation of custom content that can hold the attention of today’s educated buyer. Moving from the blast campaigns of the past requires tools that help marketers target more specific groups based on demographics, behaviours, and history.
A growing digital profile of information needs an advanced segmentation tool to “slice and dice” the growing volume of data from both online and offline storage systems. This allows B2B marketers to implement more effective strategies, personalise content and introduce rules-driven communications that can be scheduled to meet campaign objectives.
Additionally, interactive dialogues can be triggered from email or landing page responses as well as web-browsing history on company website properties. Dialogs can also be triggered from external events or other applications via web service integrations.
Monitor and optimise
Many of today’s interactive marketing solutions fail to address the overall marketing workflow. Without addressing the iterative processes that dominate marketing projects, these task-oriented tools cannot deliver significant improvements in productivity, efficiency, and bottom-line results. By monitoring and optimising marketing processes and introducing controls and accountability, a business can:
- Review all campaign elements to drive accuracy, compliance and excellence by tracking approvals and annotations.
- Manage the process steps and make sure the right people are involved and the correct steps are taken.
- Manage the overall marketing budget, with visibility of the costs relating to specific marketing activities and how they impact ROI.
- Manage digital assets, including version control and the customisation of collateral.
- Measure and optimise the results of interactive marketing projects.
When it comes to monitoring, automating and optimising marketing processes instead of manually analysing spreadsheets and creating reports for management, marketers can configure automated reporting that pulls results from multiple online activities into a concise, combined format yielding a true view of return on investment for marketing dollars.
Major technology advances typically come with challenges. Delivering measurable results requires an effective delivery platform, process controls, and efficient processes.
B2B business models drive consistent processes and practices throughout an enterprise. Flexibility – enabled by a business’s ability to leverage in-depth customer intelligence – means that marketers can get the best possible returns from their existing assets and investments in marketing solutions.
– Lisa Arthur is Chief Marketing Officer at Aprimo, a leading global provider of marketing software and services that enhance the productivity and performance of marketing organisations.