B2B marketing is no longer consumer-focused marketing’s less glamorous cousin. Since the dawn of B2B marketing, this space has evolved into the fast-paced, competitive industry it is today. With its continuous and rapid growth, comes more complexity than ever before, in the form of marketers needing to engage with multiple personas in a crowded space to sell their products and services. While the B2C space has found its footing in this area, it can be more challenging for B2B marketers hoping to move big-ticket items.
This added facet has naturally led to more pressure on B2B marketers to be experts on each and every step of the way, driving value at every opportunity. While B2C brands have been able to do this by creating connected, customer-focused experiences, the B2B space still seems to lag behind. Personalising individual experiences was once considered an 'extra' oﬀering in B2B marketing.
However, 52% of customers say companies are generally impersonal and a staggering 73% of customers say that an extraordinary experience with one company raises their expectations of others. Viewing buyers as individuals with dreams, ambitions and emotions coupled with data-driven approach is necessary to create relevance and personalization throughout their buying journey and to creating meaningful connections.
Operating within today’s competitive, omni-channel business landscape to drive a good B2B marketing ROI for clients can prove to be a challenge for many. Wielding the power of technology and more importantly, data, is often the line in the sand that separates the good from the extraordinary.
Driving ROI through data
The past decade has seen a quick shift in the way we see, collect and use data. Data collected from your target audience is absolutely vital – it is the ‘holy grail’ that will enable marketers to understand target personas, behaviours, preferences and pain points. In fact, as of five years ago, 64% of marketing executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hyper-competitive global economy. Data is the starting point for most successful B2B marketing initiatives.
As such, its importance is not lost on B2B organisations whose main goal is to drive value out of their marketing budgets. Activating data to lead customers through their buying journey is crucial for driving the ROI that decision makers seek. The B2B buying process is now facilitated by platforms and tools designed to collect data. Finding the right partner with a team of specialists who are dedicated to every step of this process is key to driving ROI.
Connected experiences on various journeys
The value of data can’t be overstated. It is the catalyst to creating a connected experience for the buyer. It is no secret that marketing eﬀorts that are customer-centric return much better value in terms of brand engagement, consideration of the products and services oﬀered and ultimately, a higher chance at the journey ending with a new purchase.
74% of CMOs surveyed by gyro expressed their desire to have better collaboration with customers, as well as improved experiences for them. The level of customer-centricity involved in this endeavour requires marketers to connect data with business profiles and buyer personas – how will you determine what issues you address for the customers if you don’t know your customers?
Creating a seamless, non-linear approach to planning a buyer’s journey sits alongside a data- driven, robust knowledge of your customer. Connected media experiences based on a thorough knowledge of who you are selling to gives your buyers a much more comfortable, holistic experience. Avoiding jarring linear experiences that customers are less likely to respond to positively is key in this line of work.
This is where finding the right partner comes into play. As the modern CMO’s role continues to change and evolve into one that fits the narrative of its time, outsourcing the mammoth task of successfully merging strategy with data is crucial to successfully driving ROI.
Bridging the gap, shortening the funnel
Today’s B2B buyers are more likely to buy in groups, with between six to ten decision makers voicing their thoughts on a purchasing decision. Therefore, the journey in itself is no longer what it was a decade ago. Simply put, various personas have diﬀerent journeys that culminate at the same destination. This means bridging gaps between each phase, guiding customers through awareness level content to consideration level content and eventually, speaking to your team about running a demo or getting that contract in order.
A customer-centric, connected experience allows customers to weave through various levels of the funnel, informing and then reminding buyers that your product or solution being promoted could be the solution to their problem. The data collected from these personas guides marketers in determining key information about their buyers, such as pain points, needs, and ultimately, helps you relay how their challenges can be solved by your products and services.
Data that’s worth the investment
Data is a crucial part of your wider, marketing engine. Without it, your marketing and sales strategy are likely to stall or return results that are far from hitting targets. Data is key to understanding and determining who this strategy is for in the first place.
Creating a connected, customer-centric experience akin to B2C Marketing eﬀorts is in the DNA of it all – it is the actionable insights that come from data that enable this approach to work wonders for engaging with your audience and by extension, B2B marketing ROI.
Yasmine Mansour is head of channel marketing at Gyro APAC