The last decade has shown that few industries or entities are immune to disruption, or fully understand how best to grow as digital changes the playing field.
Threats to the status quo exist at every level of business, but marketing has evolved faster and more dramatically than other parts of the enterprise because it is outward facing, and has to interact with and understand customers on many levels.
This has led to an increasing capacity for flexibility within marketing, largely because it is the only part of the business in a position to respond to the vacuum created as the realities of selling in the digital age pull away from the outdated beliefs most companies have about their fundamental relationship with their customers and markets.
This is why 90% of companies responding to the new Econsultancy/Sparks Grove report, The Reinvention of B2B Marketing, believe that marketing can contribute more to their enterprise.
How can marketers get consumers to love their brand? It’s a long and difficult process that requires a complex system of tools and tactics.
Yet at Econsultancy’s Funnel event this morning Silverpop’s John Watton managed to summarise the process in just 20 minutes, succinctly laying out the basic premise of behavioural marketing and how it can benefit businesses.
Watton began by describing the relationship he has with a wine merchant in the Chiswick area of West London, which is a neat metaphor for the principles behind behavioural marketing.
Though there are a huge number of shops that Watton could go to for his weekly wine fix, he chooses to return to the same shop due to the relationship he has with 'Bob' the shopkeeper.
Despite the huge attention lavished on social media, it still accounts for only a fraction of the traffic and leads for US B2B websites according to a new report from Optify.
Overall, social accounts for 1.9% of traffic compared to 41% for organic search, however there is potential for it to become a more important and effective channel.
This is a topic we touched on recently in a post about how to use social media to widen your sphere of influence in B2B and in an infographic looking at how B2B companies are currently using social.
Optify’s report found that companies that actively manage social media campaigns (as measured by companies who had more than one lead from social or more than 10 visits per month) have seen comparatively high conversion and engagement rates.
Thought social media was the reserve of consumer marketing? Think again.
B2B marketers looking to build relationships with buyers are rapidly wising up to the possibilities of social media and the need for a tightly managed, segmented social ecosystem.
The traditional B2B buying cycle is changing beyond recognition. More people, more job functions and more territories now need to be influenced over a over a longer time period and these varying personas have different needs, expectations and triggers.
B2B marketing and social media have a difficult relationship, as it’s tricky for businesses to strike the right tone and actually draw value from platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
But unfortunately social is too big to be ignored, despite the inherent difficulties for B2B companies.
In a talk at Econsultancy’s Funnel B2B marketing conference Standard Life’s Craig Johnston looked at how social has disrupted the traditional sales funnel and which channels have proved most effective for his company’s marketing activities.
Most digital marketers have a content strategy they would confidently defend and rightly so. Content strategies ensure there’s always something new and useful on your site for visitors and define how that content will be promoted.
The main problem with this is that something that probably started off with all the best intentions can quickly become lip service and a chore.
Keeping it fresh and relevant is a challenge.
Most content marketing experts say, "engaging content drives sales." In reality even the most engaging blogs, Facebook timelines or LinkedIn discussions fail to produce leads and sales.
For most businesses, engaging customers creates profitless prosperity. They have impressive marketing statistics that ultimately don't directly help generate leads and sales. Businesses who DO create leads and sales using social selling seem to know something the rest of us don't.
In B2B content marketing, what you write about can be as important as what you write.
But there's a hell of a lot of so-called 'thought leadership' out there that isn't leading anyone's thought at all. That's because it isn't written from the company's true sphere of authority -- from the 'sweet spot'.
If you're committed to content marketing (as I'm sure you are) it's incredibly important to think about your sweet spot and keep your content inside it.
As content marketing leaps 'the chasm' and lands in Geoffrey Moore's back garden, more and more marketers are on the lookout for a B2B content marketing agency that can make them famous.
That's a good thing. But almost every B2B agency out there is hurriedly carving a new 'Content Marketing' sign for their front door.
So it pays to have a think before you get yourself committed.
As content marketing goes mainstream in B2B, it's becoming something of a religion. And like all religions, a lot of it is based on articles of faith that are handed down, tweet by tweet, until they're considered gospel.
To question them is to risk being denounced as a heretic and made to do any of those horrible things religions do to their heretics (many involving fire or flaying or feathers).
I'm not in the market for a flaying or a feathering but there's one article of faith that I'd like to challenge here.
The one that says, "Content marketing is not about you, it's about your customers. Great content marketing is as far from old-school, interruption-based, broadcast-style marketing as Jamon Iberico is to Pepperami".
Let's pick that one apart...