The Year-Ender Series Features a Round Up Of The Top 7 B2B Marketing Philosophies of 2017 From Leading Business and Marketing Leaders in the Technology Ecosystem
Fantastic, fantastic…and fantastic!!! 2017 has been that kind of year for B2B marketers where everything they conceived turned into gold—be it sharing ideas through content, CMO interviews, TechBytes with top Product and Technology officers, and of course, the high-octane marketing and advertising events that we covered across the globe. With barely few hours left in the year, we bring you an exclusive series featuring the top seven rip-roaring B2B Marketing Philosophies of 2017.
Content Personalization and Analytics for Account-Based Marketing
If you are a modern marketer, you should know that personalized content is the biggest fillip to breeze efficiently through account-based marketing strategies. Hand-picked content for target accounts sells directly to the ABM and B2B salespeople. This year, LookBookHQ announced their partnership with ABM powerhouse Demandbase after the launch of Explore—the Intelligent Content Platform. Conceived to increase the content consumption and accelerate buyer education by recommending more relevant content, LookBookHQ’s ABM Solutions tracks and measures account-level engagement with content, across all channels.
ABM, as we know it now, thanks to the revolutionary vision of Engagio CEO Jon Miller—account-based marketing is “fishing with spears”.
Elle Woulfe, VP of Marketing at LookBookHQ, provided deep insight into how marketing teams can utilize content personalization and analytics platforms for Account-Based Marketing. Elle revealed, “Account-based marketing tools that can personalize offers and assets are a great way to engage target accounts, but this is only part of the equation. Getting someone to click on something and walk through the door is a great first step. However, combining ABM tools with intelligent content delivery is the best way to maintain buyer attention and efficiently move them through the buying process as quickly as possible. Getting your buyer’s attention is incredibly difficult – ABM tools can help you to attract their attention and intelligent content platforms make it easier to hang on to their attention once you’ve got it.”
Uberflip, too, provided an engrossing idea to sharpen and scale ABM efforts with a well-optimized content experience. By leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) within their content experience platform, Uberflip creates a richer content experience that’s valuable, relevant, and authentic which would absolutely yield better marketing ROI. As part of the Marketo Accelerate community, Uberflip and Marketo enable the creation of such experiences.
Randy Frisch, CMO at Uberflip, said, “For content marketers who are ready to adopt account-based marketing, the best-in-breed integration between Marketo and Uberflip will make targeting key accounts with personalized content, tailored CTAs, and customized content experiences easy and effective.”
Would ABM and digital content finally see some alignment in 2018, thanks to content marketing technology platforms?
The answer could very well be efficacious. As Ed Bussey, CEO of Quill, puts it, “Digital content needs to be on-brand at all levels and touch points in the buying journey, whether it comes in the form of an advert, promotional email, customer service chatbot or a product description. Technology is fundamentally changing consumer expectations of how brands should communicate with them, and as such, winning custom is no longer just about who has the best brand or even the best products, but rather who can also deliver the most relevant and seamless start-to-finish user experience, across all devices and channels.”
Creative Messaging: Shifting Sands with AR/VR, Mobile and the Emergence of Purely SaaS-based Digital Advertising
“Don Jefe” of Choozle fancied the emergence of advertising and visual messaging platforms delivering a seamless hands-free experience. Still in its infancy, immersive VR experiences have the endless potential to benefit and bring together the disruptive marketing and advertising technologies.
Jeff added, “Ad spending on mobile video is expected to reach $18 billion next year, surpassing desktop. This growth will accelerate the development of mobile targeting capabilities. Beyond mobile IDs and lat/long mobile targeting, mobile phone numbers will become a unique identifier, similar to an email address, for digital advertising targeting.”
Creative messaging using AR/VR technologies on mobile devices would deliver a superlative engagement opportunity for marketers to connect with the target audience in an easy, personalized and interactive mode.
Millennial Generation Now Prolific Business Buyers
The past three year’s data show that millennial buyers in the B2B ecosystem are inching towards Baby Boomer population when it comes to buying and promoting products online. The explosion of social media conversations, with a push from personalized content and email marketing, are engaging millennial buyers based on their buying intent.
Aaron Dun, Senior Vice President of Marketing at SnapApp, mentioned how he sees a dramatic shift in the way B2B marketers think about engaging with the ‘millennial generation as business buyers’.
Aaron said, “We are seeing a dramatic shift in how we as B2B marketers have to think. Buyers today are demanding more conversational, more engaging experiences – it’s a buyer-centric world, and we need to create content focused on their wants and needs, not just what we want to say to them. The focus on engaging, interactive experiences is becoming a must-have part of a marketing strategy, not just a nice to have.”
The Art of Social Selling for a Competitive Advantage
Is cold calling nearing its end?
In 2017, we learned the true nature and potential of Social Selling in the B2B landscape. Social Selling ranks as a top business philosophy for injecting a new lease of life to social media marketing for B2B professionals who can laser-target their prospects, and establish rapport and trust through existing connections and networks, and possibly bring an end to making cold calls.
Who better than the Chief Marketing Officer of a leading social media marketing and management firm to enlighten us about this!
Penny Wilson, CMO of Hootsuite explained the rise of Social Selling as a powerful marketing technology strategy and the way Hootsuite chased their business objectives in 2017. Penny said, “To combat the rapid decline of organic reach, marketers are investing in paid social advertising strategies. To meet this need, Hootsuite acquired AdEspresso, to enable marketers to easily manage Facebook and Instagram advertising from a single platform. As social matures, marketers will need to be able to quantifiably justify how social impacts the bottom line. Hootsuite acquired leading social analytics company LiftMetrix to meet that need.”
Recommended Read: TechBytes with Nik Pai, CoFounder of LiftMetrix, a HootSuite Company
Another social selling exponent from Hootsuite, Koka Sexton clarified how “Social Selling, in the right hands, can bring unprecedented opportunities for connecting and engaging with B2B decision makers.” And of course, now justifying your social media ROI with a better intent to connect and delight audiences with social selling!
The Time is Ripe for the ‘Chief Engagement Officer’— The CMO
The job profile, of Chief Marketing Officers in 2017, has changed dramatically compared to last few years. Modern CMOs in the marketing technology ecosystem, come equipped with experience in traditional marketing, scientific approaches, and the new-age fetish— Data Science. All this, to ensure that marketing strategies capture buyer’s interest through personalized, engaging conversations for a long-lasting relationship that benefits all involved.
Recommended Read: Top Efficiencies Gained by CMOs While Procuring and Managing Agencies
Marketo CEO Steve Lucas introduced us to a new philosophy in marketing technology engagements. According to Steve, “CMO is the other CEO— or the Chief Engagement Officer.” Steve said, “CMOs now own engagement and the entire brand experience for not only their customers and prospects but partners and employees too. That means they need technologies that will enable them to deliver experiences that drive engagement, advocacy, and life-long relationships consistently, at scale.”
Right Data versus Big Data
It’s affirmed now that Big Data is not what makes marketers go from Flab to Fab. The secret lies elsewhere, much deeper inside the data pool. The bubble that led to a belief that ‘big data would lead to deeper customer insights, more granular targeting and better campaigns’ has burst.
Modern CMOs wish they had more refined and smooth access to the Right Data for their GTM strategies and CRMs. Marketing and sales campaigns are only as good as the quality of the data driving the automation engines. The trend has steadily moved from leveraging Big Data for everything towards utilizing machine-level intelligence to churn the right data.
In a blog at MarTech Series, Nadjya Ghausi of Prezi, mentioned, “Marketers who regularly present to C-suite executives know that the biggest decisions are only made with the right datasets, and the best ways to deliver data involve graphical formats that assist with a narrative, not with number-laden paragraphs (snooze).”
Read More: Is Data Slowing Down Your Sales Rep?
In an interview with Rishi Dave, CMO of D&B, he mentioned that the real-time buying signals should be used by all people who touch customers to create integrated experiences, whether it is sales, marketing, customer support or other touch points.
Rishi added that the absolute key to getting the B2B marketing and sales team very-relevant information is making sure the systems they are using are “connected and fed by the same real-time, clean, structured data.”
For a clear vision of how to build and utilize right data for marketing and sales tools, Jennifer Grant, CMO of Looker said, “If you’ve already been collecting the data you need for the questions you have, you’ll be in better shape to pull it all together from all the marketing and sales tools now available and get it centralized. Once you’ve done those two things, the rest is fairly easy. With a data platform, you can then figure out what each department needs, create dashboards, and push data into everyone’s existing workflow – Slack or Salesforce – to make it as easy as possible to make better, more informed, decisions.”
Not yet Artificial: Intelligence That Almost Matched Expectations
CMOs of marketing technology platforms and digital advertising agencies felt empowered with the coming-of-age of AI-enabled solutions and products for marketing and sales. For some, AI is like any other innovation, while for others “AI is a job-taker” (#HalfJoking!)
On a positive note, AI will help marketers deliver more personalized customer experiences. Guy Weismantel, EVP of Marketing, Marchex revealed, “Today’s marketing still requires a fair amount of human-based response to increase targeting accuracy. AI will make marketing much smarter— both in prediction and responsiveness; helping marketers to more easily determine purchase intent and predict when prospects are ready to buy. AI will also contribute to substantial improvements in call analytics, providing data points that help marketers improve call center performance, identify high-intent callers by keywords, and retarget non-converting callers.”
Jen Spencer, VP Sales and Marketing at SmartBug Media said, “If implemented properly, AI can enhance our marketing strategies and bring us one step closer to being able to better serve our customers by creating unique, personal, relevant experiences at scale.
CMOs with the background and inclination to dig deep into Data Science realized that AI can be a self-sustaining technology if right data drives the engine. And, that has to be implemented throughout the enterprise.
Julie Lyle, CMO of DemandJump recommended building a balance institutional knowledge with external points of view and forming contingencies that allow tools and process to scale.
New Gigs in Marketing and Sales for 2018
With the growing buzz around AI, AR/VR, video content, ABM, and programmatic email and brand transparency, 2018 should be a year when technologies make their adoption justified with high-return on investments. All that depends on how CMOs modernize their tech stack in 2018. Latane Conant, CMO of Appirio predicts, “In 2018, businesses will increase IT investment to modernize core business areas like marketing operations.” Customer engagement would continue to be a very demanding battlefield for marketers. Marketers who can automate the timing, channel and content of each communication with customers will stand the greatest chance for success.
Recommended Read: Interview with Sydney Sloan, CMO, Alfresco