We are coming up to the last holiday weekend of a wonderful summer. The countdown for back-to-school has begun. Corporate team leaders can’t wait to get their teams back in full strength. Managers are gearing up for strategy meetings to make the last quarter of the year count. Let’s just say it’s “get serious, get back to work” time for the majority of us.
For B2B marketers, this is a good time to review what has worked in this year so far and what needs to change before the year is over. The State of Marketing* report offers valuable insights from over 5,000 global marketers. Let’s examine the top 10 recommendations to cover 3 key areas of marketing—The Customer Journey, Mobile and Social.
The Customer Journey
86% of senior level marketers surveyed in the report stress the critical importance of tracking and understanding the customer journey in order to implement an effective marketing strategy. How will you achieve this?
Here are 3 useful recommendations:
- Look beyond buyer personas and lifecycle marketing: In our enthusiasm to plan lead generation campaigns based on proper segmentation, we tend to sometimes get carried away with marketing to buyer personas. In the ideal world, every buyer would perfectly fit at least one persona we have thought of. With the increasing demand for personalization, however, B2B marketers need to focus more on the individual behaviours of different buyers instead of planning for broad patterns across different categories.
- Trace the customer journey beyond email: Email marketing has stood the test of time as an effective lead generation and nurturing methodology. The limitation of this method when it comes to viewing the customer journey is that email communication is linear and follows a set pattern. You can only trace the customer’s interaction with your brand along that one path of receiving, opening and acting upon email stimulus. In an integrated marketing approach, we need to look beyond email to examine multiple channels, including social, where our customers are spending time. The last thing you want to do is upset a customer by responding officiously to their email while ignoring their much more emotional communication on a social media platform.
- Make customer journey mapping a team exercise: You can’t possibly sit in the board room and try to map the full customer journey. There are multiple touchpoints and various people within your organization that can offer keen insights into how your customers react and interact at every stage of the customer journey. A regular brainstorm with your team is a great way to stay updated on what your customers are thinking, feeling, doing, and wanting you to do! Discover the gaps in your marketing strategy where customer experience has suffered, and focus on making improvements rather than trying to sweep those instances away under the carpet.
This year is considered the “last call” for joining the mobile marketing train. Experts say it is a ‘now or never’ situation because a majority of the corporate workforce now functions as ‘phablet’ users—or users with smartphones that have tablet-like screens and features. Here are 4 critical steps you need to take with regard to mobile marketing:
- Define your mobile marketing strategy: You will see from your customer journey mapping exercise recommended above that one of the most important and frequent customer touchpoints is facilitated via mobile. In the absence of a clear strategy to optimize customer experience at every mobile-enabled interaction, you are losing a huge opportunity to make an impact on the dominant majority of your buyer population.
- Use an integrated approach to manage mobile campaigns: It’s no longer enough to have a mobile campaign once in a while. That is like spike marketing—you may get a sudden peak in lead generation but it won’t last. If your customers are on the go and using their mobile devices 24×7, what choice do you have really? Think about it! Mobile campaigns must become a part of your integrated marketing plan, communicating brand messaging consistent with all other channels and media you are using.
- Take advantage of location-based mobile content marketing: 67% of global marketers, according to this report are already doing this. If your business is just starting out to test the waters, a location-based mobile marketing campaign is a better way to test and learn before you spread out nationally or globally. Relevant content served up at the right time, in the right place to your mobile buyers will drive traffic to your target location faster, better, easier. It doesn’t necessarily have to be promotion or offer based either. Remember that the customer journey is more than 70% independent research for the vast majority. If your mobile content fits right in and adds value, you will be more successful in helping the buyer complete that last 30% of the decision making process in your favour.
- Monitor mobile analytics to devise loyalty programs: This report shows that more than in-store and web-based loyalty programs, mobile loyalty campaigns have an 86% effectiveness rating. That is huge! When planning your loyalty program, take into account the data from your mobile analytics and incentivize loyalty for your mobile buyers.
While social has become an everyday, all the time phenomenon, it is far from easy. With all the automation available, there is still no silver bullet. Here are 8 Techniques that Work for B2B Social Media. You have to work at social relationships steadily and you can’t expect unrealistic returns. Let me remind you of the 5 Laws of Real Social ROI.
- Explore new and niche social channels: Mainstream social media channels may or may not work for your B2B audience. Consider niche channels where your target buyer spends time. For example, we created this exclusive, invitation-only LinkedIn Group for B2B thought leaders—feel free to join and exchange ideas with B2B thought leaders.
- Dedicate resources for social marketing: It takes time and effort to do this right. Rather than trying to build volume through more fans, allocate capable and trained resources to run your social campaigns selectively on the channels that work.
- Focus on engagement and keep testing: Leave the selling to your sales team or even to your website. On social media, your buyers are looking for meaningful content to engage and enlighten. That’s what you need to do consistently. Conversion is always the ultimate goal, but you can’t make that the primary one, especially on social platforms.
How will you refresh and rejuvenate your B2B marketing efforts? Feel free to add to the list of recommendations above. I look forward to hearing from you, so please leave me a comment. If you would like to receive updates and information about B2B lead generation, please click here.