Digital transformation is an ongoing trend sweeping established companies as they become more attuned to what technology offers. If you’re shuffling after the striking B2B marketing change that’s allowed adopters to drive growth, the competitive market won’t wait for you to catch up.
Think about how things were only ten years ago. With the smartphone boom only just getting started, the internet was a much different place. If they were on social media, people might check only a couple of times per day instead of responding instantly. And ordering household essentials by talking out loud to a personal AI assistant? No way.
All that’s different now. For B2B marketing, you’re not your customers’ only option just because you happen to be in the same town or just because you have the biggest budget to buy the prestige media. There are many industries now where clients are happy to work remotely with vendors across the world. And clients don’t have to stop with the choices they already know. Information — and reviews — about any possible vendor is keywords away.
If your B2B marketing approach hasn’t changed with the times and isn’t taking advantage of the vast swathes of data available to make smart decisions, you’ll be outmatched by those that have.
What Does a Digital Transformation Mean for B2B Marketing?
Let’s break down your B2B marketing strategy into three basic steps:
- Data-based Planning
Maybe this looks familiar. Using information to plan a campaign and applying the lessons of that campaign to the next is exactly what many marketing initiatives always looked at. So what’s the difference? It’s in the details.
You make your decisions based on data now more than ever because there is so much more data. These decisions drive your execution — built on years of monitoring how people respond to digital marketing content — and how you get it in front of customers.
You get data back from your execution, and you use it to optimize. You’re in a constant loop of improvement, discovering and reapplying what works while having the confidence to try and drop what doesn’t. And you’re doing it instantly, mid-campaign, to really nail the results.
Data-Based Decision-Making and Planning
What data are we talking about? How do you get this data in the first place?
It’s what you know about your customers, and those who you hope will become your customers, and deciding how to engage them. Understand what pains them. What are they researching? What do they need to know? What are they likely to respond to? Where are they in their journey, and how can you join them?
Whatever you know at the beginning, you’ll be tracking everything going forward. How many people opened an email? Who clicked? How long did they read your page? Is that as far as they went, or did they take action that indicates they’re becoming more interested in the service? Understand where people are at any given point in their journey, and you’ll build a more effective B2B marketing approach to nudge them along toward the sale.
Execution: Attract with Helpful Content, and Automate your Engagement
This is the heart that pumps the essence of modern B2B marketing. You begin your relationship by becoming a part of a customer’s research. This means producing content: blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, and social media. And you have to produce it consistently. Customers notice when your last post was in 2016, and it makes them wonder if you’re even still in business.
You can use your data to build systems that account for what you know about your customers and your B2B content strategy. The most relevant people see the most relevant message, and depending on how they interact with it, they’re funnelled to the most relevant next step.
When it works well, your SEO-friendly, content-rich, constantly updated website ranks higher and gets more traffic from potential customers. They’re encouraged to move to your next desired step, and your B2B marketing engine is in business. So how you get there?
Optimization: Improving your B2B Marketing Every Day
Here’s how you really get good. Something — some piece of content, post, or offer — will do better than the others. You make note and see if it’s replicable. Whether it’s the wording of a paid search ad, the topic of a blog post, or an A/B test of a landing page, there will often be a difference. Stick with the results and retire the rest. Over time, you end up with the best of the best content and automation.
The Feedback Loop
There’s no need to wait for responses to a print mail out or commission another expensive market research survey to measure impact of your billboard ad. Your new inbound marketing strategy reports instantly, allowing you to respond right away.
Your data-driven decisions inform your content creation and automation strategy. Your results provide more data. This new data creates optimization opportunities. You optimize based on this data, creating new content or repurposing old content along stronger lines, and review your automation.
It keeps going. Your marketing department is responsive, efficient, and always improving. That’s a formidable approach, and it’s the one we advocate passionately. We’ve helped more than 60 B2B organizations across Canada and the US achieve growth through this method and are always happy to meet for a quick advisory call.