Buyer-Driven Marketing – Are You Ready?

Take a look at what successful brands are doing right in marketing to business audiences and you’ll quickly notice that content marketing and social media are playing an increasing role in lead generation and nurturing prospects on the new buyers’ journey!

It’s no surprise that we are seeing a resurgence in true integrated marketing where the different marketing disciplines from product positioning to public relations and analyst relations to customer nurturing programs, and content are used to deliver opportunities to engage the buyer on hers/his journey. There is no longer any room for siloed campaigns or disciplines if you are serious about attracting and building relationships and engaging with prospects and existing customers. What’s more, all the content and the marketing must be useful to the buyer – as they are less patient and less forgiving than ever before.  You can end up on the “opt out” list faster than you can press send on your next email campaign.

The new buyer’s journey is not defined by single-channel marketing campaigns or traditional media relations. Instead, it is more integrated and empowers targeted audiences to find, self-educate and engage with enterprises around themes and hot topics impacting the industry – and this happens all the way through the purchase.  That’s why B2B companies must adjust prior business practices. Below are four essential tips for delivering integrated marketing campaigns that map to the B2B Buyer’s Journey:

It’s not really “out with the old, in with the new”
Though—it’s more about understanding the right marketing mix based on the personas you sell to and their typical buyer’s journey.  You’ll still need content that addresses TOFU (top of the funnel), MOFU (middle of the funnel) and BOFU (bottom of the funnel) – but you must make sure that you time the content appropriate to each of your prospects, and they have ample opportunities to find your content through social channels, your website, advertising or content syndication strategies and email campaigns.

Buyers’ needs trump everything else.
Buyers are simply not willing to sift through the limitless amount of information available on an industry or product, they want to find it easily and they want to understand it quickly. Be clear about what matters most to them – consider things like what the product DOES do and what it DOES NOT do, what it replaces, how it saves money, how easy it is to deploy, and how it compares to others in the industry. Third-party endorsements (analyst reports, benchmarks run by third parties, and customer case studies) are also really powerful.   People will settle for simple much faster than sticking to a brand for product loyalty – so keep your marketing campaigns and your website simple and easy to navigate or follow.  Also, make sure you are offering a multitude of formats (and don’t forget video which is three times preferred to long-form written documents!). 

Keep it real. 
Again, not many buyers these days are willing to wade through a 20-page white paper – they want short, digestible content that allows them to understand quickly.   To this point, a mix of articles in the tech press and social media posts can be great drivers that engage prospects at the top of the funnel.  And don’t forget –there is tremendous power in having a CEO who can convey authenticity. A well-respected CEO offers tons of credibility and can engage audiences better than almost anyone as a blogger or a tweeter.  Your company leader can and should lend to the brand’s authenticity and personality.Two brands doing this well are Patagonia and KIND. 

Tracking can be tougher than ever with so many marketing groups and marketing channels active at once. 
It’s key to establish baselines for the success of each channel and measure the specific results each channel is delivering.  But doing this by hand is not feasible. We recommend purchasing some tools that can measure your social authority, share of voice, and engagement in campaigns. For example, you’ll likely have a social media monitoring tool, such as Brandwatch, that can measure conversations that drive value as well as marketing automation and sale software such Marketo, Eloqua or HubSpot that automate and measure marketing engagement, and of course Google Analytics. In addition, there are numerous other tools to choose from, both free and paid, as you look to both influence and measure buyer behavior across multiple channels.

While we’ve scratched the surface with audience, engagement and management in integrated campaigns that support the buyer’s journey, there’s more to unpack when it comes to your integrated marketing program and finding the right mix for success.

We’ll be tackling these topics as well as looking at measurement in upcoming posts that dive deeper into the power of content and social media for example. It is an exciting time for brands, customers and marketing—are you ready?

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