“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Charles Dickens famously wrote this in his historic novel “A Tale of Two Cities”. I think many marketers and PR professionals who have worked in the B2B marketing world for years would agree this is a good description of our profession. With the rise of digital marketing, mushrooming marketing technologies, software and web analytics, new social media platforms and new metrics and measurements, our profession is changing at a very fast pace. It is truly the best of times as we have a bigger role to play; and worse of times because we can’t live on our past experience, and we need to constantly learn new skills and new tools.
Engaging digital marketing is a must. As our society transitions to the digital age, customers are super connected with enormous ability to research and gather information. Corporate Executive Board (CEB) 2012 survey showed B2B customers are making 70% of independent purchase decisions before engaging a sales person. B2B businesses are traditionally driven by direct sales team, but now marketing has to play a bigger role to ensure that we can positively influence the 70% of decision before buyers identify themselves.
Recently I put together a marketing plan for a medical device company. I proposed both traditional and contemporary marketing and communications tools. My suggestion was to engage customers throughout the buying cycle, and connect with them by leveraging both traditional and contemporary marketing promotions. We can build effective metrics and measurements for these programs thanks to technologies such as marketing automation software. The following table maps the marketing tools for each stage of the customer purchase process, especially related to my client’s business:
|Customer Buying Stage||Traditional Marketing Promotion||Contemporary Marketing Promotion|
|Awareness||Advertising, Public Relations, Sponsorship, Tradeshow, Conference presentations, White Paper and Collaterals||Digital Marketing in the form of video, Podcast, text, SEO & keywords, Website content, Blog, Social Media, Slideshare, LinkedIn publishing|
|Consideration||Sales collaterals, Sales demo and presentation||Online learning center, Educational content, Landing pages, Forms and Call-to-Action, Email marketing|
|Conversion||Sales meetings, presentations and negotiations||Educated customer calls inbound to sales. Conversion is easier.|
|Loyalty||Great customer support and service, customer event, new products and features||Service tips, Customer community, Email marketing, Social media, Online review|
|Advocacy||Word-of-mouth, person to person||Customer interviews and stories, Blogs to share customer success stories, Chat rooms, Online review|
Is your B2B organization embracing digital marketing and its vast opportunities?