If you are a Marketing professional in B2B environments, you are no doubt a versatile person, someone who likes to learn, able to adapt your knowledge to different sectors, with doses of flexibility and practicality. You've almost certainly become a born survivor; it’s a quality that all Marketing lovers end up developing.
What factors are impacting on the future of Marketing?
What are the current challenges for Marketing managers in a changing marketplace and a rapidly digital transforming environment? Today, the influence of technology forces us to move forward in an increasingly digitized and competitive setting. Integration of on-offline communication planning with presence in glittering social networks, creation of content that offers solutions to problems and improving user experience are now essential skills.
Basically, the challenge is to connect with your people, customers and ideas, putting technology at your service and that of your customers while delivering excellent results. Marketing is increasingly involved in business development, carrying out much more thorough follow up of prospects, working with sales and inside sales teams in order to strenghthen customer relationships, heading at full speed towards a more relational Marketing.
Marketing strategy, communication and advertising evolve according to consumer habits, which in turn change largely due to the influence of technological advances and their impact on other industries. Specifically, in the last ten years the penetration of the Internet in Spain and technology consumption have advanced at an incredible pace. This rapid development has forced Marketing professionals to be more versatile than ever, and develop influencing skills to convince decision-makers of the importance of getting on the digital train, amongst others.
The purpose of services’ Marketing remains to retain loyal customers, creating successful long-term relationships and selling more, having a notable brand image. However, factors that do influence this purpose are the communication channels with our target audience, i.e. it is very important to bear in mind that digital transformation is gradually changing the way people consume, interact, manage their leisure, and seek information, for example through their mobile phones.
Some examples of the evolution of marketing, broadly speaking, in B2B environments; in the last ten years we have developed a much more relational mentality. It continues to evolve; selling services/solutions and receiving advice on implementation, taking care of customer experience, from the time someone hears about your business or visits your website for the first time until the completion of the project, and permanently. Another example, from cross-selling we move on to the customer journey, which requires all areas of the business to work internally more coordinated by projects in order to accompany customers throughout their life cycle advising them as their trusted partner. In addition, relational marketing, which is indeed to ensure customers’ satisfaction by acting on their feedback, and sometimes allowing them to interact in product development, turning them into prescribers.
How can we start with digital without investing too much?
If we are not yet clear about a digital strategy or the company is in a process of total transformation, without budget to invest in digital marketing specialists or expensive marketing tools, such as a powerful CRM, sophisticated email-marketing tools or Inbound Marketing tools (e.g. Eloqua, or HubSpot), you could start organizing the planning of the marketing activity by campaigns aimed at "people"/audiences. Remember: "you don’t sell to companies, you sell to people", thus, integrate all possible channels that may be instrumental in achieving the goal, both traditional and online including Social Networks, also adapt the messages to the way these audiences use these channels, in form and time.
If you want an expert opinion on what would be the suitable evolution of marketing in your company towards channel integration and digitization with the resources you have available, we offer a free diagnosis for your marketing planning:
Some initial recommendations:
The customer comes first. Carry out a regular customer satisfaction survey to differentiate between promoters and detractors in order to focus efforts where it is worth doing so.
Company website; review the structure and ensure a good user experience (UX), i.e. ensure you offer the solution they are looking for.
Give shape to an Inbound Marketing strategy, integrating it with your traditional marketing plan. The goal is the uptake and effective monitoring of prospects through pull strategies. Generating content of interest to different prospects and target customers is something that has always been done in marketing, through the generation of content of interest or Thought Leadership, but now, we nearly always do an initial search for information by Internet. For example, a blog on the company website may include interesting content and calls to action to encourage interaction, through downloading of specialized content, e.g. in exchange for recording your data, which allow you to carry out subsequent tracking.
Invest in SEO / SEM to attract the desired traffic to your website. It is also necessary to ensure that the information can be read on different devices.
Email marketing campaigns using free tools like MailChimp for mass mailings which also provide statistics.
Quality content, related to our campaigns, distribution through social networks. It is important to understand how and when your target audience finds and uses the information it needs. As we know, not all social networks are related to B2B businesses, but creating a company profile in certain social networks for instance can bring some benefits such as sending messages to targeted audiences even globally at a reasonable cost. In this respect, my advice is to get some expert advice first from an agency or business development company like IVC, that will transfer the know-how back to you, or provide continued advice on your digital strategy at a reasonable cost, this will allow you to keep learning whilst you get guidance. If you set realistic KPI´s , it might be a not too hight and worthwhile investment compared to traditional methods.
And finally ... measure the efforts. If you don’t analyse you won´t be able to optimize campaigns!
More articles about B2B Business Development:
Start your entrepreneurial success story