High-Performance Marketing Strategies

Developing Marketing Strategies That Deliver

Most B2B marketing departments, regardless of industry, share some common goals, such as increasing leads and engagement, enhancing CX, producing targeted messages that get results, etc. However, the strategies they use to achieve these results can be quite diverse. For our purposes, we will focus on the top three strategies successful marketing departments are using now in order to stay ahead of the competition: Account Based Marketing (hyper-personalized CX); Data-Driven Marketing (connected, actionable data); and Content Marketing (leveraging data to deliver valuable content).

Strategy #1:
Account-Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is arguably the most-hyped marketing strategy, but it’s not without reason. Advances in martech have made sending hyper-personalized marketing pieces to a curated collection of ideal customers a scalable endeavor. In a time when 65 percent of B2B customers expect the companies they do business with to know them personally, or they’ll take their business elsewhere, ABM is empowering marketers to deliver on that demand. What’s even more amazing is if you have the right tools in place, you can automate the process of pulling and sending personalized content and campaigns, which provides customers with the loyalty-inducing bonus of instant gratification.

ABM Essentials

A few things you will need to do in order to successfully add ABM to your marketing ops strategies are:

1. Prep Your Data

Your data is critical to getting ABM right. It must be clean, complete, enriched and easy to mine. You cannot personalize messages and campaigns with bad or dirty data. You also cannot identify your ideal customer without bias, unless your data has been optimized for analyzation.

Tools of the Trade

  • Data integration tool - Connects all data sources, creates centralized access to data and a single source of truth.
  • Data management tool – Continuously cleans, enriches and preps data for use.
  • Marketing dashboard aka data dashboard – Allows you to mine data, glean insights in real-time, share reports on-demand and make data-driven decisions.

2. Choose Targets

ABM is not about marketing to everyone. It’s a strategy that requires you to narrow your focus by choosing only the customers and prospects that are most likely to buy.

Tools of the Trade

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system – Tracks all customer interactions.
  • Marketing dashboard — Makes identifying trends, patterns and opportunities a simple process. Some dashboards come with the ability to analyze data and can identify your ideal customer profile (ICP) for you.
  • Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) – Essential for automating the process of sending out personalized marketing campaigns across a variety of channels.

3. Create Personalized Campaigns

Once you have created targeted campaign lists for your ideal customers, you are ready to create personalized campaigns that speak to their unique and specific interests.

Tools of the Trade

  • Content management software – Pulls content from all connected data sources (MAP, CRM, etc.) and organizes it for use in personalized campaigns. When integrated with a MAP, it can automate personalization at scale, which significantly reduces the complexity of ABM.
  • Sales enablement software – Enables sales to select, personalize and send pre-approved marketing campaigns via the CRM.

ABM Inspiration

Those who have done the work of implementing ABM into their marketing ops repertoire are seeing some amazing results, including:

  • 87% of B2B marketers report that ABM delivers a higher ROI than other marketing initiatives
  • 208% more revenue is generated by companies who use ABM than those who don’t
  • 79% of companies that exceed revenue goals have an ABM (personalization) strategy

Strategy #2:
Data-Driven Marketing

Implementing a data-driven marketing strategy is a pursuit with endless benefits. Most marketers who are harnessing the power of their data have connected all of the data sources across their organization such as platforms, systems and software, in an effort to pool their inside information and put it to better use. In addition to fostering seamless integrations between their own data sources, many companies add second or third-party data in order to round out their lists and meet campaign goals.

Data-Driven Essentials

1. High Quality Data

The value of data depends on its source and quality. Ideally the most valuable data is information that is collected in-house. This is also known as first-party data. Next in value is second party data. This is another organization’s first-party data, i.e. an email list obtained from a partner organization. Third party data is information typically purchased in bulk from a company that specializes in aggregating data, such as Oracle or Salesforce. Regardless of where the data comes from, it is imperative to your data-driven strategy that the data be clean, complete, enriched and ever-ready for use. Integrating a data management tool into your stack is the best way to ensure the data you are using is actually useful.

Tools of the Trade: CRM; MAP; Data integration tool; Data management tool

2. Integrated Data

Peter Isaacson, a CMO and contributor to the popular industry blog, Marketing Land maintains that in 2019, connected data is king. “Getting a true 360-degree view of the customer has been a challenge that has plagued marketers since the beginning of marketing. By integrating technologies such as CRM, marketing automation, and ABM platforms, marketers can start to share data across these applications. And this will start to give marketers the complete customer view that we have craved,” said Isaacson. Beyond the insights to customer behavior that integrated data offers, there are things you can learn about the customer journey you have created, such as the point at which engagement drops or actions are taken. You can also identify new opportunities, competitive strengths and weaknesses, and so much more.

Tools of the Trade: Data integration tool; All in-house platforms, systems and apps that collect data; Data/marketing dashboard

3. Actionable Data

Using clean, enriched and fully-integrated data is as essential to your data-driven marketing strategy as being able to mine data in real-time for actionable insights. In the past, mining data in real time was an impossible quest, but modern data management tools and dashboards have made processing large volumes of information and highlighting trends and anomalies, a much faster and easier task. More importantly, these high-performance information processors enable anyone to run a query and report results, without the help of IT or a full-time data analyst on staff. Forbes writer, Almitra Karnik, maintains smart marketers are always mining their data for new insights. Karnik encourages leaders to “think of new and inventive ways to use the data collected to find new customer segments, identify characteristics of repeat customers and pick up on patterns and trends that lead to proactive marketing tactics.”

Tools of the Trade: Data management tool; Data/marketing dashboard

The Big Benefits of Leveraging Data

A study conducted by MIT found that companies that take actions based on data increase their profits by six percent and have productivity levels that are four percent higher than companies that base their actions on past experiences or gut feelings. Marketers across all industries are using data insights to make better decisions and experience greater results in three key areas:

  • CX — According to McKinsey Global Institute, “Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.” In addition, a Marketo study found that 78 percent of customers only engage personalized offers that acknowledge their previous engagements with a brand (purchase history/customer communications, etc.).

  • Campaign Personalization – A recent study revealed that 57 percent of marketers identified personalization as their most effective campaign tactic. Research has also shown that marketers who send personalized and segmented email campaigns have experienced as much as a 760 percent increase in revenue generated from those email campaigns, compared to email blasts.

  • Opportunity Identification – In addition to generating more revenue, research performed by Harvard Business Review found that data-driven companies are better able to seize opportunities related to six areas: diagnosing and resolving data gaps; developing 360° customer profiles; revealing total addressable markets; building targeted campaign audiences; predicting future buyers; and orchestrating cross-channel campaigns.

Strategy #3:
Content Marketing

Once you have the foundational strategies of actionable data in place you are better positioned to provide customers and prospects with content pieces that are engaging and personally relevant to their interests. The Content Marketing Institute maintains that the most dominant content trend of 2019 is a return to content’s higher purpose as thought leadership. Over the last few years, companies have produced volumes of content in order to reach the widest possible audience, but with the rise (and results) of ABM and data-driven marketing, importance is now placed on the value of content, rather than the volume of content. “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues,” said Joe Pulizzi, a leading marketing speaker and subject expert on content marketing.

Content Marketing Essentials

1. A Well-Defined Content Strategy

The first step you should take to ensure your content is set up to resonate with customers and prospects is to develop a solid content strategy. Not having a content strategy in place is like wearing a blindfold at a firing range. Sure, you may get lucky and hit your target a few times, but the majority of the time, your content will fall short of its target, goals and potential. To ensure you create customer-centric content that establishes your brand as a helpful thought leader, start by drafting a document that answers these questions:

  1. Who are my ideal customers?
  2. What are the stages of their customer journey?
  3. What information can I provide to them at each stage that will help them reach their goals?
  4. What are their preferred channels of communication?
  5. What is the ideal communication frequency for my customer?
  6. What pieces in my current arsenal of content have proven to be the most effective?
  7. What pieces do I have now that can be repurposed elsewhere?
  8. What pieces am I missing?
  9. What is my content budget?
  10. How will I measure content success?

Once you have answered these questions, you should have a solid outline of where you stand, what work needs to be done, and a general timeline for missing pieces to be developed and completed.

2. Cross-Channel Content

Leveraging data in order to deliver valuable content across all channels is a strategy that rewards those who do it with increased sales and customer loyalty, reduced content costs, and longer content lifecycles. B2B has long depended on email to do most of the heavy lifting, but incorporating additional channels into the mix has proven to be a great way to revive dead accounts, accommodate customer preferences and increase engagement. However, as important as it is to connect on whatever channel the customer wishes, it’s equally important to ensure they have a consistent experience of your brand across those channels via integrated campaigns. In addition, it’s critical to track which campaigns and channels are generating the most successful outcomes.

Tools of the Trade

  • Content management software – Pulls content from all connected data sources (MAP, CRM, etc.) and organizes it for use in personalized campaigns. When integrated with MAP, it can automate personalization at scale, which significantly reduces the complexity of ABM.
  • Sales enablement software – Enables sales to select, personalize and send pre-approved cross-channel marketing campaigns via the CRM.
  • Data/marketing dashboard —Tracks campaign engagement and success across channels and enables marketing ops team members to share insights via real-time reports

3. Adding Video Content

Google research found that 70 percent of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout their customer journey. Currently, the most popular B2B videos are those that demonstrate product features and enable viewers to learn about, compare, and research potential B2B purchases. A type of content that helps keep the conversation going, videos typically incite viewers to act on what they’ve seen by: talking to colleagues; requesting more information; visiting a company’s website; and/or sharing the video with fellow decision-makers. Google researcher, Kelsey Snyder, says, “Delivering content-rich mobile and video experiences is now critical to successfully reaching your B2B customers and moving them through the path to purchase.”

Tools of the Trade

  • Video Production Company - Unless you have marketing staff on-hand, who are skilled in creating video content, you will need to hire a company that specializes in producing B2B videos. Pricing will vary according to the type of production. For example, animated product videos typically have a starting price around $2k and videos shot on-site using actors, clients or employees typically have a starting cost around $5 to $7K.
  • Video Marketing Platform - Beyond YouTube, there are a plethora of video marketing platforms (VMPs) available that can help you host your videos across all devices and ensure viewers enjoy a seamless experience. In addition to hosting, most VMPs allow you to create live video experiences and streaming events, which have proven to be an excellent way to engage customers through social media. VMPs can also be used to track the performance of both individual videos and live streaming events. Data can be integrated with MAPs and marketing/data dashboards so that valuable insights can be seen and shared. Finally, some VMPs offer video creation services as part of their subscription services.

Video Motivation

Adding video to your content strategy is an investment; but over the last few years it has proven to be worthy of B2B marketing budget dollars. In fact, Aberdeen Group found that companies that use video marketing grow their revenue 49 percent faster than those that don’t. Additional stats that highlight the power of video are:

  • 77% - B2B marketers who say video is an effective content marketing tactic
  • 80% - Average increase in conversions experienced by companies that use video on landing pages
  • 200–300% - Average increase in click-through rates for companies that include a video in emails

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