March B2B Round-up: Customer-Obsession & Better Marketing Plans
March was a busy month for us as True Influence as we began to plan for upcoming conferences and announced that we would be a premier sponsor for the upcoming SiriusDecisions 2018 Summit, set for May 8 at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay.
“We are extremely excited to be a Premier sponsor of Summit. SiriusDecisions is one of the global thought leaders in today’s marketing world and joining with them to further educate marketers is a great opportunity for us,” said Janet Rubio, CMO of True Influence, in a March 6 press release.
On March 9, True Influence also announced a partnership with Dun and Bradstreet to improve the quality of data gathering with True Influence’s InsightBASE, including integrated Dun and Bradstreet data, True Influence’s new Relevance Engine technology and enhanced use of artificial intelligence.
The union is a powerful one in the marketing industry.
“The role of marketing is increasingly complex,” said True Influence CEO Brian Giese. “Not only are the expected to drive leads, but they are expected to drive return on investment. With Dun & Bradstreet data fueling True Influence InsightBASE sales and marketing teams can access data-driven insights to identify high-impact leads.”
For more information about the benefits of the union between the two companies, stop by the True Influence booth at the following conferences:
– MarTech West (San Jose, CA) – April 23-25, 2018
– SiriusDecisions Summit (Las Vegas, NV) – May 8-11, 2018
– Forrester B2B Marketing Forum (Austin, TX) – October 18, 2018
– SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange (New Orleans, LA) – November 7-9, 2018
While we were busy announcing ways in which True Influence continues to excel in the martech industry, there was also time for penning blog posts offering tips on how you can use technology, data and other techniques to improve your marketing strategies so that your sales funnels will stay hot all summer long.
Some of our best posts of the month included:
Just about all B2B marketers are looking at content marketing as a way to boost their business profile, but there are some ways to simply do it, and then there are ways to do it right.
In this post from March 2, we look at five different ways to improve content marketing, ensuring that yours is the content that stands out against the wealth of information that readers are able to access.
Don’t follow the latest news. There’s a reason why moms tell their children that just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean they have to, too. Jumping on the topic du jour may not help you stand out, because your content will have a similarity to others that may help it get lost in the crowd, even if yours is the best take or the most interesting.
Do your own research. In the same way following the in crowd can cost you business, using someone else’s data may not be enough for your audience. According to a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief, “74 percent of B2B buyers said they consider original research to be influential in the buying process, second only to peer recommendations.” Research helps establish your role as an expert in your field – and can give you a chance to show innovation in your field.
Find new ways to share content. Marketing School, a product of Alexa, is an interesting way to make use of the Internet of Things. If your audience is using IoT devices, they become a novel way to engage with them.
Intent data can help you learn more about your target audience, so you can refine your content to meet their needs. This is account-based marketing elevated to the next level, and it gives you solid leverage over your competition.
Video is the next phase of content marketing, and it allows marketers to develop a more intimate relationship with their audience. Video allows you to showcase new products, introduce staff and provide live interaction that allows viewers to ask questions that are answered immediately. It’s growing more popular, as well, with 81 percent preferring live video over blog posts and 82 percent preferring live video over social medial. While all options are appropriate depending on the topic, the subject and the audience, video is overtaking many of them, making it a vital part of any content marketing strategy.
Despite Facebook’s recent pivot away from a focus on business, social media networks continue to be sites that are ideal for B2B marketers to engage their target audiences in a relaxed, more intimate way.
In this March 5 post, we addressed ways that intent signal data can help marketers better understand their target audience, allowing them to provide more informative, useful content no matter the site. Social media is a great way to reinforce your branding and boost brand awareness while showcasing your company’s personality.
Companies that stay active on social media – sharing information about charitable endeavors, upcoming webinars or other information – are more likely to have a more loyal following. Intent data analysis, however, allows you to better know and understand that audience, so you don’t make mistakes that can turn off potential prospects.
Intent data that tracks activity on the internet reveals the style and voice that your persona is attracted to, allowing you to create messages that will resonate positively.
You can also gain more traction if you schedule your posts to those times that your targets are most active on social media, which may not be during traditional business hours.
Social media, when used as smartly as other marketing methods, can be part of a successful, thoughtful B2B marketing strategy that helps you excel.
True Influence COO Craig Weiss took on the complexities – and benefits – of blockchain in this March 7 post exploring how the technology will help restore trust in the world of marketing where a degree of trust has recently been eroded.
Currently making waves in banking technology, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has said about blockchain that “once widely adopted, it will transform the world.”
Because B2B businesses rely on data gathering, maintaining trust is vital, and blockchain will help ensure those whose data is being gathered that is it not only being protected, but also used in a safe and responsible way.
Blockchain will help solve the current problems facing marketing and advertising, who are dealing with questions of trust because ad fraud, which costs businesses billions of dollars each year, has become more of an issue for businesses who are on the losing end of the deals.
Blockchain, Weiss writes, will not only offer a layer of protection against ad fraud, but will also better protect consumer data and how and why it is used, and could help erode the tight hold Google and Facebook, which “control more than 60 percent of online ad spending the U.S.,” have on advertising, potentially opening the door to smaller platforms once more.
B2B marketing can be complicated, confusing and packed with jargon, but this information-packed blog from March 9 helps cut through the complexities to give you an idea of what the words and acronyms mean, so the next time you’re in a meeting, you won’t be stymied by language, and instead can bring your own creative voice to the table.
The “cheat sheet” discusses everything from buyer personas (the picture you’ve painted of those you are marketing to, based on their online activity, or intent signal data) to ABM (account-based marketing, which focuses on accounts that match your buyer personas best, which allows for personalization that traditional, throw it into the universe and see who bites, marketing just doesn’t).
While B2B marketing is different than B2C, the objective is the same – sell your product to those who will not only buy it, but will love it, and will help advance your business via word of mouth.
Just as B2C marketing requires brand consistency – the reason why FedEx last year revamped the logos and colors of all the brands under its umbrella to create cohesion – so does B2B marketing, and creating a strong brand across all channels (the myriad forms of marketing options available, including conference marketing materials, website landing pages, emails, blog posts and social media) is vital to establishing a strong presence.
Content marketing is the opportunity to present valuable information that establishes your company as an expert in your field, and better creates the trust needed to become a legacy brand.
The most important part of B2B marketing is collaboration between sales and marketing, because marketing often has more knowledge about potential prospects based on the data they gather, while sales will know how your business is perceived, helping both to improve each other’s tactics and help boost sales.
B2B marketing requires having access to contact information for the decision makers at those business you’re targeting, so you know that you’re sending information including e-books, white papers and other marketing materials to the right person, preventing hard work and personalization from going to waste.
Our guide is a step-by-step look at how to best manage B2B marketing from start to finish, and it offers invaluable information for those who are just getting started or those who might want a refresher course in what’s new and fresh in the field.
Boosting your bottom line isn’t only about landing new clients, but also about making sure that existing clients continue to be part of your B2B family.
In order to make sure that your relationship is still successful, there are five things to ask clients each year, according to this March 16 blog.
1. “What was the best thing we did for you over the last 12 months?”
This question, when asked of multiple businesses, opens the door to finding ways that you can do even more to improve your product or services, leading to a deeper relationship.
You can also leverage the best answers as your own PR.
2. “What keeps you coming back to us?”
This lets you know what sets you apart from other businesses, so you will understand what keeps them loyal, which can not only serve as part of your marketing or sales pitches, but also as a springboard for new innovations that continue the trend.
3. “If you could improve on one thing about doing business with us, what would it be?”
It is always better to grow and improve, and finding out what your clients think they are missing out on is vital to better your business because it allows you to fix the problem, keeping those clients who might be unhappy now by improving their experience.
4. “If you were to refer us to a friend or colleague, what would you tell them about us?”
This question gives you an idea about how your product or service is perceived, something that’s vital to know. It may also land you some referrals.
5. “What are your three most important goals for the next 12 months?”
Because it is always better to talk about your clients’ needs than your own, this gives you an opportunity to determine if you can help them reach their goals, even if they are not directly related to your product or service.
The answers you get may help you determine ways you can improve your business to meet the needs of multiple clients, and will help establish a stronger relationship with the clients who are part of your portfolio.
Customer Obsession is the lifeblood of a B2B company, and True Influence CMO Janet Rubio explains how it can be done better in this post from March 28.
While previous wisdom held that marketing and sales departments manipulated sales by guiding customers through fine-tuned funnels, in reality, the customer makes the decisions about what they buy and when, so learning more about what the customer wants and showing them in a concrete way how you can meet those desires – “instead of telling them what they need,” Rubio writes – is a more successful business approach.
Because a single account can be so important to B2B businesses and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if lost, maintaining customer happiness is vital, not only to keep existing customers but for the word-of-mouth that can help expand your portfolio.
In order to successfully become customer obsessed, use data to determine how your company is seen by customers, base decisions on product development on what customers need, and be prepared to change direction if your business plan and customer needs don’t align.
“Every B2B company aspires to build strong customer relationships. To be truly obsessed with customers, your entire company needs to constantly listen to what they are telling you and be willing to let that feedback drive every aspect of your business,” Rubio wrote.