The New Marketing Mix
The core objective of B2B marketing remains unchanged. We aim to generate a positive impact on the business and, in particular, revenue growth. However, the way we go about this is transforming. There is a new marketing mix.
With buyers spending more time in the marketing cycle, there is a need for great content. Story-telling that connects the buyer to your brand and your proposition. As marketers, we have more capabilities in terms of Search, Digital, Social and Outbound programs. In addition, we have the ability to connect the dots with Marketing Automation.
The New Marketing Mix, if embraced in the right way, gives you an unfair advantage over your competition – turning marketing tactics into integrated strategic programmes that accelerate opportunities through your ‘marketing funnel’.
The Marketing Funnel
The Marketing Funnel allows you to clearly define campaign KPIs so they align to the needs of sales and the wider business. This, in turn, enables you to define what activity and engagement is required at each stage of the prospect journey.
We have become proficient at operationalising the Marketing Funnel – linking each marketing tactic to the funnel progression and gaining valuable insight into what works in generating pipeline, what works in nurturing an opportunity through the pipeline, and which programs create the best win-rates.
How Buyers Buy
The world of B2B sales has changed; no longer do potential buyers see your advert and call to speak to sales. They research, learn and evaluate, and they do all of this from a distance, without engaging with your sales team.
It is now clear that as much as 60% of the B2B buying cycle is complete before the buyer directly engages with a supplier. On average, a potential buyer will engage with marketing activity 7 times before they are ready to engage with sales.
If in the past, the first moment of truth was the point at which the buyer engaged with a sales person, then the new moment of truth is now digital engagement with your marketing activity.
If you are not present where the buyer is looking, or if you do not serve relevant content, or if you fail to get your timing right, your sales team will never get to meet this potential buyer.
Digital Marketing to Engage the Buyer
In order to engage with the buyer during their initial research and evaluation, you need to be where the buyer is through Digital Marketing.
You need to be found when they come looking on search engines like Google, by smartly blending PPC and SEO. You need to be socially active where buyers learn. And don’t just interrupt them, listen and interact appropriately. You need to attract potential buyers to your website and have them engage with your thought-leading content – but don’t try and grab them too early or you will scare them off.
Until they are ready to talk, you need to nurture them by pushing content to them and guiding them through your marketing funnel.
Content Marketing to Establish Credibility
You need marketing content aligned with every stage of the buying cycle.
At the early stages of the engagement cycle, your credibility is established through what you say and how you say it. The buyer is not looking for sales material yet; they are looking for ideas and information that are highly relevant and easy to digest.
By demonstrating domain expertise, knowledge and thought-leadership through Content Marketing, you are establishing credibility. If you provide value, the buyer will come to you when they need to know more. They will have you front-of-mind and you will earn your place on their short-list.
Marketing Automation to turn Interest into Engagement
At what stage do you turn a lead over to sales? Too early and you will scare off the potential buyer; too late and you could miss the opportunity.
This is where Marketing Automation transforms lead generation and marketing pipeline management. Marketing Automation provides an holistic view of how an individual is engaging with you across all channels. The content that they are engaging with helps you to understand the stage they are at in their buying cycle. The depth and frequency of their engagement with your content allows you to qualify their interest.
Marketing is more science than art; by studying the buyer you become more effective in engaging with them. By analysing every element of the engagement, you get better at capturing and nurturing interest.