Staff Writer
Feb 16, 2016

Four steps to engaging the ‘self-educated’ buyer: Oracle

Today’s buyers arm themselves with information before they even approach a brand; marketers who fail to adapt to this new reality risk being left behind the curve. A new white paper from Oracle offers an easily digestible guide to solving the B2B engagement challenge

Four steps to engaging the ‘self-educated’ buyer: Oracle

Oracle’s white paper, ‘Marketing automation simplified: the small guide to big ideas’, breaks down the complicated and often intimidating field of automated marketing and gives a comprehensive overview of how to effectively employ data to refine, target and optimise program initiatives, and ultimately win over B2B buyers.

The paper builds on Oracle’s earlier work to define the ‘Five tenets of modern marketing’—targeting, engagement, conversion, analytics and marketing technology—and assists marketers in getting to grips with the latest digital tools, including customising content and automating communications.

The following short excerpts detail a selection of key learnings from the white paper:


1. Digital body language

Marketing today is primarily online-first, online-only. That is a very different game from traditional person-to-person, where marketers can gauge reaction from physical and emotional responses, the paper says. However, behavioural insights extracted from online data form a “digital body language” that allows them to “guide prospects through the buying process”.

“Social media offers visibility into key behavioural attributes, allowing marketers to leverage extended channels for lead generation and brand building,” the paper continues, adding that social sites should be seen as “a hub for information gathering, primarily because the distribution of that information is through trusted networks and communities”.

“If someone is polling your followers for information on your brand, it’s usually an indicator that they are involved in a buying decision,” the paper says. “If sales can see when a hot prospect is sharing your content, they can get better insight into the topics and content that are important to that buyer.”

Marketers should use social media, the paper adds, to build a database of social profiles and behavioural data; common attributes, connections or sharing behaviours; and through monitoring relevant conversations to improve sharing tactics.


2. Maximise data value

A brand’s database forms the “foundational element of successful marketing automation”, the paper says, so it is essential it is kept accurate and up-to-date. “Campaign effectiveness will suffer if you’re unable to target accurately as a result of bad data,” Oracle argues, adding that “SiriusDecisions estimates that B2B contacts become obsolete because of people changing jobs and companies at a rate of 2-3% per month, creating a constant stream of inaccurate contact data”.

Oracle urges marketers to make a strong case to company executives, as at this level the need to invest in data management “is often the least understood”.

“Without clean data, marketers waste precious money and time. When data is accurate, open rates increase, conversion rates improve, and revenue increases,” the report states. “Focusing on data management and cleanliness is a powerful way to make a significant impact on the sales and marketing funnel by improving demand generation, as well as the quality of marketing and sales accepted leads (SALs).”



3. Be timely and relevant

Oracle recommends using trigger-based marketing to enable “critical response to behavioural attributes and actions, such as an email click-through or continually demonstrable”.

“By aligning the content and timing of email messages with behaviour, marketers can optimise their points of engagement and encourage feedback via calls to action. Trigger-based email programs enable marketers to transform existing customer data into measurable rules that help execute on business objectives,” the paper continues. “With marketing automation, you can drive the initiatives and offers that resonate with prospects based on their behaviour and indicated interests. By delivering information at critical moments in the decision-making process, you can cultivate a greater role in the discovery and engagement process.”


4. Progressive profiling

The next stage is to determine a clear set of target attributes that will enable sales and marketing to score leads and “establish agreed upon systems to identify where prospects are in the buying cycle”, Oracle urges. “It’s crucial that this system is established in concert, as the two teams can exchange feedback on the quality of leads being passed to sales.”

“By implementing a scoring system, marketers can effectively assess and qualify leads and better prioritise those with higher scores, as they are considered more likely to convert to closed revenue. They can be passed off to sales while other lead scores can be determined according to the timing of activity or inactivity. Unqualified or cold leads can be routed to lead nurturing programs until they become active again.”



Download the full Oracle white paper: ‘Marketing automation simplified: the small guide to big ideas’

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