Marketers are spending a minimum of 25% of their total budgets on digital this year, and that 25% is forecast to double by 2019.
This is no real surprise, I hear you say, and we’d agree. In fact, we would hazard a guess that the rise of digital and demise of broadcast for marketers will happen even quicker than that.
The long-awaited (and predicted) mobile dominance has arrived, with 70% of marketers now believing that mobile is a critical enabler of products and services, and most likely because they see at least half of their e-commerce or action-oriented traffic are now coming from a mobile device.
But as the wave of consumer digital usage swells and reshapes the way people buy and use products and services, how ready are you to capitalise on the trend?
At Brand chemistry, we’re pondering. We have conversations almost every day with b2b marketers who are either spending inordinate sums on broadcast media, OR are throwing a pot of money at a single digital tool (e.g. Google PPC) and expecting it to push the customer through the entire buying cycle. And it has us thinking.
While most b2b marketers would call themselves digitally savvy, just how sophisticated are we as an industry? Are we using the multi-touch, customer-centric opportunities digital has to offer? Or are we applying an above-the-line mentality to our interactions?
Today, we’re going to talk about the top three mistakes we see b2b marketers make, and give some tips for taking a more integrated and measurable approach to your digital efforts. We hope it will give you enough inspiration to convert you, and your customers for good.
Mistake No. 1: Using mass-media approaches to raise awareness
Newsflash: Traditional, brand-oriented advertising is no longer the primary driver of customer behaviour.
The traditional emotionally-led appeals via media such as TV, radio, outdoor, and print no longer drive customer behaviour as they once did. The utility of these channels is declining because people are looking for - no, expecting - more targeted, customer-centric information.
The good news is that the awareness and consideration buying stages that used to be slave to these mass media approaches are now the purview of social media, blogs, search marketing (PPC, SEO) and mobile.
However, don’t be fooled into using any one of these tools on their own. We’ve seen countless b2b marketers trying to use PPC alone to generate awareness, consideration and sales enquiries in one fell swoop. Warning: it doesn’t work, and it will cost you a mozza.
So how CAN we use these kinds of tools to create a more customer-centric conversation?
Here’s an example.
The production of a few blogs that answer the top pain-points of your buyers at awareness stage can help buyers answer some of their most pressing questions. It’s about providing them with some value, for free, that will help them today. Try to include a CTA to some deeper content or an enquiry if it is relevant, and you’ll see blogs work even harder for you.
A pithy social post or two can help you promote the blog, but also help to start a dialogue if you find any prospects who are interested in the topic.
Instead of using your PPC budget to generate an enquiry, you could use it to drive traffic to your blog. Testing of keywords via PPC can also advise you on your SEO strategy, so it’s well worth a shot.
You can measure everything from website visits, sources of the visitors, and the strongest topics of interest to your audience. You’ve also done more than generate awareness - you’ve started building a relationship and established some credibility with potential customers. And lastly, this kind of BTL approach spurs some kind of action that is gleefully measurable e.g. visits to your site, downloading of your content, liking on social - the kinds of measures your boss will love.
Mistake No. 2: Not recognising your customer is in control
Unlike the days when the TV, radio, press and telephone were the primary ways of getting information, customers now have almost unfettered access to all of the information they need to make decisions.
They can speak to other customers online and share what they’ve learned about a product or service. Research shows that they are already at least two-thirds of their way through the buying process before they even speak to you.
ATL techniques will do very little to help you identify those who are actively looking to solve their problems. These are buyers who have passed through the awareness stage, and are actively considering a few specific vendors who can potentially solve their problem.
But what are you doing to listen, monitor and allure an actively searching audience towards your brand?
Digital tools and techniques such as content marketing (including SEO), automation softwares and social monitoring actually help you monitor and track individuals who have a need, are researching the category, are talking about your kinds of services on social, or - hold-the-phone - are looking at your pricing page!
So where do you start?
Interestingly, same place really. Move a small section of your broadcast spend into content and digital tools that will enable you to optimise your site for search engines, do some social monitoring for conversations around your category and get involved, and make sure you have plenty of relevant content on your site for near sales-ready leads.
If you’re feeling on top of your digital game, there are several cost-effective marketing automation systems out there that will help you track, measure and amplify your search, social and content efforts (a few offer month-long free trials too!). We recommend trying HubSpot - as it provides a bit of everything as well as guides you on how to do it.
Mistake No. 3: Sending the same message to all of the people, all of the time
People no longer interact with you in one way, via a single channel. If you’ve generated some interest, your visitors will probably be visiting your website from a number of devices, and looking for different kinds of information as they move through their buying journey.
The implication for you, is that you need to provide appropriate content for each device, and that appeals to different kinds of customers, at different stages of their buying journey.
If you want to get a bit more sophisticated with it, you can use elements of personalisation to deliver tailored website content, content offers or calls-to-action based on their previous behaviour, interests, locations or buying stages.
You can even use personalisation for anonymous visitors in different regions, geo-targeting information, pricing or products based on where they are.
It is these kinds of techniques that truly tap into the kind of targeted, relevant information customers now expect from us. There are plenty of marketing tools out there to help you get started. For one, most CMSs, including WordPress, now come with personalisation plugins or in-built functionality.
In summary, digital marketing offers us so much more opportunity to serve our customers and prospects well. And customers are increasingly expecting us to offer information in a way that suits their lifestyle. So, we either adapt from our outdated broadcast ways, or we get left behind.
What will you do?
If you want to take a more integrated and measurable approach to your digital efforts, download our guide "The 6 Marketing Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About".