The B2B sector has changed dramatically over the last few years.
More specifically, the buying behaviours of the industry have changed, largely due to the amount of information that is available about products and services, and the ease of accessing that information. What this means for the B2B marketer is that it is becoming more difficult to engage with the right prospects— and by extension, grow market share.
Add compliance issues, such as GDPR, in the mix and the risk involved in misusing (or losing) data, and the number of challenges marketing departments face rise significantly. This makes it tricky for them to attract new customers, engage with their existing ones and prove their worth to the business.
It’s time to change
This is signaling a time of change. It is no longer enough to rely on the mass marketing tactics of the past. Marketing teams need to be able to identify and target customers at the right time and hit them with the right message. They need to take a more insights-based approach and yes, change is needed in order to keep up with a transforming environment, but moving away from traditional methods can be daunting and risky.
For the most part, marketers have been using programmatic marketing to target and attract new customers, but this needs to be taken even further, be more personalised and enable them to reach the 2-5% of customers or prospects that are actually looking to and ready to buy.
Enter behaviour-based marketing, fuelled by buying intent data, a way of transforming the quality of leads produced by marketing.
However, this requires a shift in mindset, from generating a massive amount of leads of questionable quality, to generating quality, relevant leads. It’s the age-old argument of quality versus quantity. In the case of lead generation, volume doesn’t guarantee results.
Instead, success comes from the confluence of three factors: context, timing and relevance.
When it comes to context, we all know how useful the right keywords can be in identifying audience segments, in terms of what they’re talking about. But are they talking about a subject in the right way? Is it positive or negative? Context is important here because it can help pick up on accurate behaviour signals and separate the warm leads from the cold ones. Building context into the keyword approach means layering insights onto words — from which sites customers are using to do their research, to whether a specific industry problem is being discussed. Each layer that is added helps build the complete picture of who that customer is and how your brand can meet their needs.
The next element is timing. Simply put, gathering insights about your customers needs to happen in real-time, or as close as you can get. This is critical as you need to interact with them the moment they show you they’re ready to make that decision to buy. Without real-time insights, you run the risk of engaging with them too early or too late in the buying journey. Understanding timing also helps you tailor the message. With real-time insights you can see where they are in the process and be agile enough to send them the right message as quickly as you can to capitalise on the momentum.
Finally, there’s relevance. This step is critical in ensuring you’re sending your prospects and customers the right content that addresses their needs and resonates with them — and of course, reflects your products and solutions as the answer they’re looking for. The type of content and actual messaging depends on where they are in the buying journey (awareness, consideration or decision making).
Importantly, personalisation is about more than knowing a customer’s name. It’s about understanding their pain points, what they’re looking for and how your company’s products or services can solve those challenges for them.
Implementing predictive, intent-based or behaviour-based marketing techniques can yield tremendous value for your marketing team and overall organisation. It’s about using a wide range of information, tracking behaviours, to understand your prospect audience and be able to target them at the right time, with the right message — ultimately gathering quality leads which result in higher conversation rates
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