The word ‘traditional’ and b2b marketing no longer go hand-in-hand as a result of significant changes in the last few years.
With the rise of millennials into prominent b2b buyer positions and a constantly evolving suite of technology at our fingertips, as marketers, we have an obligation to keep up with how these changes will affect the b2b landscape we work in.
The role of the b2b marketer already has and will continue to change in the coming years.
Be it in an in-house role, or within an agency, long-standing practices will need to be constantly updated before they become irrelevant or are replaced by newer, shinier ways of reaching and communicating with b2b audiences…
But where should you focus?
We have listed 4 key things below, that we believe you should be looking at right now to help boost your inspiration and drive growth.
Forget big data, it’s all about small data.
With all the data we can collect today it’s often hard to know where to start to gain meaningful insight.
The key to keeping your marketing in line with customer needs is first to know what they want. Small data is where those small truths can be uncovered.
Small data is about the people and finding the ‘why’ in what people do. What drives them? What motivates them? What keeps them awake at night? It’s about finding small insights that can lead to big answers. Many b2b brands are looking for answers that are right at their fingertips if they only spent time analysing the data, they have access to.
Your customer data holds a wealth of directional insight and the introduction of new analysis and capture tools can help unlock this and build confidence in decision-making that is truly data-driven.
“Buy a ticket to creative bravery through data”
Greg Johnson, chief innovation officer at McGarryBowen
The key is not to look at data as data, but rather as people, your customers. There is often more valuable insight to steer your marketing activity in listening to five customers qualitatively, than trying to quantitively analyse 5,000. Be bold with the backing of your small data truths with a genuine insight-led approach to marketing.
PPC, SEO, CRO… WTF?
[buzzword fatigue and acronym bingo, combined with Google’s constantly updated algorithm]
Research conducted by Marketing Week found that previously, email marketing was seen by most b2b marketers as a ‘channel they found the most effective (58%) followed by developing their corporate website (36%) and content marketing (35%).’
Quality content is the key to unlocking and driving profitable customer interactions and leads. Using quality content on key channels allows you to reach a wider audience and at a lower cost – so getting your content in front of your potential audience is vital to your growth.
But how do you get people to see it?
PPC helps your content reach the audiences who want to see it. With its constantly changing nature and extensive features, however, it’s easy to get lost.
Not all of your audience knows how to find you, so with PPC, you can build awareness with your audiences to help them.
PPC is an umbrella turn for a whole host of paid media channel options available to you.
Some key things we recommend –
Test regularly. PPC is a job that is never finished. Your ads, keywords and bids need to evolve and grow with your strategy. There’s always a way to improve PPC, it offers endless opportunities for refining and improving ad performance.
Know which metrics are important. It’s a paid channel, so it needs to deliver a return, whether that be brand awareness or lead conversions…. then track and focus on those numbers.
Performance marketing is one of the next big things, so make sure your digital content can shout from the rooftops. You need someone in your arsenal with a wealth of knowledge of PPC, like our own Gareth and George who are the resident experts here at Upp B2B.
Protect their data, protect yourself
Data privacy has been even more under the spotlight since the GDPR came into effect last year. How businesses collate, store and secure your data is something clients and customers are actually interested in now, and this makes navigating the ever-changing privacy legislation and regulations all that more difficult.
There is a fine line to walk in keeping data privacy human. It can feel like a cold corporate tick box, but thinking of the data you gain as each one of your customers when they hand their data to you makes them slightly more vulnerable – and you want to keep them safe right?
Why jeopardise your chance at making meaningful connections with your prospects and customers by not keeping their data secure? Customers are more self-aware of who they give their data to since the GDPR came into effect, and nobody wants relentless spam emails and calls at 6 am about mis-sold PPI.
Transparency goes a long way, if customers are willing to share their data with you, they need to know they can trust you. So, you need to be upfront and clear about how data you capture will be managed and never abuse the data privilege by sharing data you capture with third parties – this would class as a breach and would lose the trust you had worked so hard to build.
Keep bridging the knowledge gap
People who study marketing today compared to those who did 20 years ago will have learned very different things. So how can someone with ‘outdated’ knowledge keep up with the rate of change in the industry?
Students learn subjects and gain degrees that didn’t even exist even 10 years ago. The adaptability of the marketing industry is something many have taken in their stride. In 2019, even senior marketers need to keep up with the young, tech-savvy, internet-raised generation – their likes, dislikes, language and use of tech.
Gaining knowledge in as many areas as you can, will help you remain ‘in the know’ and you could find yourself bringing something new to the board room.
Attending training courses and on the job learning is something that should never end, no matter your level of seniority. There is always something new you can learn, and with the ever-changing skill sets that marketers need it’s about bridging the gap in your knowledge and keeping up on an ongoing basis.
The marketer of the future will always be evolving. Just as technology keeps on offering us new possibilities, the more ways we can communicate with our customer and audiences, the greater the opportunity we have to develop tactics and work with new channels.
Your b2b planning needs to be adaptable to the ways in which we communicate, finding the best way to reach people will be your challenge as channels to market continue to evolve. We must champion innovation into our marketing, adapt to new technology and move with the new generation of customer needs and behaviours. The only constant that marketers of the future can be certain of is change. So, keep an open mind to new ways of doing things, but stay focused on the fundamentals of marketing planning and strategy development.