The B2B Bubble Won’t Burst: September Blog Post Round-up
If this month’s news is any indication, the B2B bubble won’t burst as business is experiencing significant growth, making marketing strategies all the more important for businesses to take advantage of the expanding space. Companies are spending big bucks on B2B – True Influence partner Marketo was purchased for $4.75 billion by Adobe – generating a need for smarter, more effective B2B marketing strategies.
One of the strategies True Influence focused on this month was content syndication, and spent most of September looking at the benefits of syndication as a strategy, including expanded reach, increased generation and the ability to provide more customers with information that will help them improve their business, a move that establishes trust and builds relationships that may not establish leads immediately, but are more likely to pay off in the long run.
“Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service,” says best-selling author Brian Tracy.
FROM TRUE INFLUENCE:
Data is more important to B2B marketing than ever before, according to True Influence CTO RK Maniyani, who says that “B2B marketing has evolved into a purely data-driven process,” especially so given the volumes of third-party data that are available to marketers through various platforms such as InsightBASE, which collects online footprints and analyzes them to determine where prospects are in their buying process.
While many companies look at data gathered from their own website visitors, in truth, many of the clicks on pages don’t offer real value, and even the relevancy of third-party data is questionable if the right information isn’t gathered or the information is not used to the best advantage.
When using intent data or looking for a data provider, it’s important to ask some smart questions, including:
• Where does your data come from?
• How is your data verified?
• What types of activity generate your raw intent data?
• What technologies are used to gather your data?
• How does your data match against data already in my marketing system or CRM?
• How often does your data feed refresh?
• What formats are your data available in?
• How can your data be used to trigger automated events?
• What visibility will I have into your data sources?
Intent monitoring lives and dies by accurate, valuable data, so it’s important to ask the right questions before beginning the process of analyzing that data and using it to put together marketing campaigns or investing in sales efforts.
“Accuracy and breadth of coverage should be your primary concerns when evaluating an intent provider’s data sources,” Maniyani writes.
With content considered one of the most effective tools available for B2B marketers, looking at new ways for that content to be seen is one of the latest strategies being used to generate new prospects, according to this Sept. 25 post.
Content syndication allows more eyes to see all types of available content, because it expands viewership beyond a singular website or a company’s own list of targeted recipients. Syndication helps lure new prospects because it creates more opportunity for viewership and significantly extends content’s reach.
According to a recent report from SalesBox, the majority of B2B markets – almost two-thirds – are using content syndication as a primary way to generate new leads.
But despite the benefits, content syndication – which can help establish your brand’s reputation and credibility – still requires specific strategies in order to ensure its effectiveness.
Some tips include:
• Target smartly. Reaching an audience to whom your content is relevant is the most important aspect of syndication. In order to ensure effectiveness, “consider your distribution methods, such as email, telemarketing and third-party sites, that reach the buyers you want to engage. Also, contemplate where each buyer is in their buyer’s journey.”
• Understand building credibility takes time. Your goal with content syndication isn’t so much to garner the most leads, but to help establish your business as an expert in your industry. That takes time. Over time, the quality of your content – and the benefits it provides to potential prospects – will establish your knowledge and authority, which will bring you the leads you’re seeking.
• Pick the right partner. An innovative publishing partner who understands your business and its challenges and provides the most visibility will be the best choice to meet your needs.
• Distribute your content with care. According to a 2016 DemandGen survey, almost all B2B buyers see vendor content as “a trustworthy source” of valuable information. 5% of B2B buyers have said that they are open to considering vendor content as a trustworthy source. By reach the right target audience with your content, you stand the best chance of developing real leads.
• Send the right content at the right time. As prospects move through your sales funnel, understand what information is most suitable for them, and target them appropriately.
• Take advantage of intent monitoring. The monitoring of data including intent signals is almost always an effective strategy, and makes sense when syndicating content. Intent signals will determine when prospects will be most receptive.
AROUND THE WEB:
Amazon Business On Track To Hit $25B By 2021, Analyst Estimates
While most people view Amazon as a direct-to-consumer company, according to a Sept. 11 story from Mediapost, Amazon’s B2B platform’s earnings reached $10 billion globally, a number that is expected to grow significantly as Amazon adds more retailers targeting Fortune 100 companies, hospitals, local governments and education organizations to its roster.
According to Baird Equity Research Analyst Colin Sebastian, Amazon’s B2B sector is expected to top $25 billion by 2021.
“Amazon B2B has ‘millions’ of business customers and ‘hundreds of thousands of business sellers’ globally,” Sebastian wrote in a report, adding that Amazon’s B2B growth could exceed that of the company’s B2C segment in that time.
Adobe Buys Marketing-Automation Firm Marketo for $4.75 Billion
According to a Sept. 20 story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Adobe has paid almost $5 billion to purchase the marketing-automation firm Marketo.
Marketo has been a longtime True Influence partner, and its InsightBASE platform is available as a native Marketo application since 2016.
The purchase is one that will expand Adobe’s B2B marketing capabilities. The company has previously focused primarily on B2C marketing.
“We thought we had a really unique opportunity to leverage everything we had done with content management and advertising and analytics to serve a broader set of customers,” said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Marketo CEO Steve Lucas will remain in charge of Marketo, but will report to Brad Rencher, Adobe’s executive vice president.
According to the website Adexchanger, the Marketo purchase is “the biggest deal in Adobe’s history.”
The Personal Touch
Personalization is everything when it comes to contemporary B2B marketing, says Joyce Solano, SVP of Global Marketing at Leanplum, in this September 20 post on the Mobile Marketing Magazine website.
Personalization is especially important as tech evolves and grows, says Solano, mostly because in the B2B industry, “technology has a reputation for being ‘dry’ or ‘out of touch with user expectations,’ and branding efforts have done little to change this perception.”
By changing the way B2B marketing is positioned – trading traditional methods such as how-tos and other stale marketing to something more forward-thinking – marketers can reach a wider customer base.
“It’s essential to inject bold personality into your branding efforts,” Solano writes. “The average B2B buyer is getting younger and expectations are evolving as a result. Companies must be willing to take risks with creative decision-making to resonate with this next generation of buyers.”
Personalization works because B2B marketers are not marketing to companies, they are marketing to people, and for those people, storytelling and innovative campaigns that move beyond technical content resonates more.
Because it is so much more effective, focusing on personalization is one of the smartest moves marketers can make.
“Our job as a marketer is to not forget that human touch,” Solano wrote.
How Data Can Curse Brand Strategy: 3 Mistakes Marketers Must Avoid
In this September 25 blog post, True Influence partner – and new Adobe acquisition – Marketo talked about the pitfalls of data, and how using it incorrectly can be a detriment to marketing strategies.
Author Alexandre Pelletier looked at three of the biggest mistakes marketers can make, and how to avoid them.
1. Forgetting that Data Is Made up of Emotion-Driven Human Beings. Again, while data can be cold and free of emotions, those whose footprints are behind that data are humans with emotions that guide decision-making processes. “The numbers in your analytics program, no matter how nicely they’re displayed, can never tell your customer’s whole story,” Pelletier writes. “Don’t get so focused on the data that you lose sight of the human beings that make up the numbers.” That’s why data is only one of the tools marketers should use. Focus groups, surveys and other personal interactions can help augment data.
2. Ignoring Your Gut Feeling. After years of marketing experience, you know when your gut feeling is likely correct, even if it differs from what customers say. “I’m not surprised that full 41% of CEOs admit that they make decisions based on intuition even though they have access to reams of data. I always tell my team that if the data says one thing, but their gut doesn’t agree, take a closer look,” he wrote.
3. Following Data to a Benign Brand. If data is the only tool being used to create your brand’s personality, it’s likely that your B2B is not going to stand out from the competition. It’s important that brands have their own unique identity, especially so in a B2B market, where there are often a handful of companies fighting for one customer’s business. In most cases, the innovative B2B, the one with the unique branding and personalized voice, is the one that will command attention – and get the most business. “There is real value in adding personality to your brand’s design, capturing the essence of your brand visually. Whether it be an unusual font choice, the style of imagery you choose or even a unique background that evokes a very specific vibe, the design choices you make can create an evident “personality” for your brand.
While data has a place in creating your business branding, it shouldn’t drive all of your decisions. By drawing on emotions, it creates a brand that makes customers feel more connected and gives your company a unique space among the competition.
OFF THE PRESS:
This September 18 Kindle release by Neil Cunnington looks at how B2B marketers can generate new business development, improve lead quality and lead generation and close sales, in part by using data to reach the right customers at the right time, a principle that True Influence has touted since the advent of InsightBASE and its latest incarnations.
It also helps teach marketers how to write more engaging emails to boost open rates, improve content strategies and use digital tools to create webinars and other video content that can also boost company visibility.