Last month I promised to look at the seismic shifts taking place in B2B Marketing. Shifts that are leading us from traditional marketing to Marketing 2.0. Understanding these fundamental shifts is important if we are to take advantage of the massive opportunities that Marketing 2.0 can deliver.
So far we’ve covered:
- The shift in power from The Seller to The Buyer
- The shift from Outbound to Inbound
- The shift from Manual to Automation
In this post let’s explore the huge opportunities as we shift from the “art of marketing” to the “science of marketing”.
What do we mean by the art of marketing? In my 30 years of B2B marketing at companies large and small, it means making decisions more often than not by “gut feel”, without the “numbers” to back you. For example, a gut feel for which positioning statement will bring best results; which market segments to target; which visuals and headlines will perform best in a new ad campaign; even down to which colours will be most effective in supporting the marketing message.
Now sometimes this gut feel was supported by actual market data. But B2B market research is relatively expensive, takes months before the results are in, and you often struggle to reach “statistically significant” numbers. And so, unfortunately, unsupported gut feel usually ruled the day.
To make matters even worse, in B2B marketing the link between marketing activity and the ultimate revenue generated is long and tenuous. Weeks, months, even years can pass between creating product awareness and ultimately closing the sale. So how can you ever hope to prove Marketing’s true contribution to the bottom line?
Any wonder that Marketing budgets are always the first to be cut in a downturn? Any wonder that Marketing departments are usually shunted to the corporate sidelines, while first-tier functional areas such as finance, manufacturing, and sales get all the credibility and attention?
Well, Marketing 2.0 promises to lift B2B marketing out of the dark ages. With the shift from Outbound to Inbound Marketing (via your website), and the shift to Sales and Marketing Automation, you can now capture massive insight about your markets, your customers, and your prospects 24/7, in real time. Information you could only dream of in the days of traditional B2B marketing is now at your fingertips.
What kind of insight can you achieve in the world of Marketing 2.0?
- Marketing ROI. By implementing Demand Generation Automation, and linking it with Sales Force Automation (or CRM), you can now connect prospect interaction in marketing campaigns to subsequent sales results, allowing you to automatically calculate a return on marketing investment (ROMI or MROI). For marketers, this means you can clearly see which marketing programs are the most effective in generating actual sales, allowing you to promote the effective programs, while de-emphasizing the less effective ones. This capability also gives you a powerful tool to defend your marketing budgets, or justify additional investments in marketing programs.
- Capture Macro Market Data. On the web, every prospect leaves a digital footprint. With Demand Generation and Analytics software, you can now capture and analyzing the footprints of all your B2B prospects to help you map out the dynamics of your market, such as which market segments offer the most potential for your company, and which parts of your product and service offering are getting the most attention and interest. It’s like turning on the lights, allowing you to see, for the first time, your market in Technicolor.
- Capture Micro Prospect Data. Salespeople can’t get enough insight on their sales prospects. And rightly so, the more insight you have, the more you can deliver products, services, and information that a prospect needs and wants. Armed with such insight you can now develop a meaningful 1:1 relationship with your B2B prospect, which is much more successful than lumping all your prospects together in one mass marketing and sales campaign. Demand Generation Systems can put a name and a face to each of your Inbound Marketing prospects, and highlight their specifics needs and preferences. Deliver that kind of meaningful insight to your sales team, and listen to Sales singing your praise.
- Test Marketing Campaigns on-the-fly. In the good old days of marketing, you would have to wait weeks or even months before you would get any sense of the effectiveness of a marketing program. “Send it out and pray” was the norm. And any feedback you got would be based on a miniscule 2-3% of your target audience and second-hand anecdotal feedback. Today, with automation technology like multivariate testing on landing pages, you get instant feedback on your campaigns. No more guessing which headlines, which visuals, and which product benefits work best! Best-of-breed B2B marketers use multivariate testing to fine tune their message and increase conversion rates by 250% or more.
This is just a small taste of how Marketing 2.0 can help you add some much needed science to the art of marketing. For more information, see our background whitepapers on Marketing 2.0 for B2B Companies, and gaining Priceless Market Insight for free using Inbound Marketing Automation.
Bottom line: As B2B Marketer, what’s in it for you?
- Better results (think raise!)
- More accountability and thus more credibility with the rest of the organization (think prestige!)
- Perhaps a seat at the big table with the rest of the C-level team (think promotion!)
Till next time – Axel