In B2B marketing, one thing is certain: Times, they are a-changin’. In a world where marketing buzzwords are a dime a dozen, brands that rethink their thought leadership content to appeal to the new tech buyer will come out on top.
Tech buyers are “putting [their] job and internal reputation on the line when making a decision,” said Mike Weir, senior director of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, at the social giant’s Tech Summit in San Francisco last week. “As marketers, we like to put labels on everything, but the reality is, the buyers go where they can see value.”
Here are the top tips for B2B enterprises trying to make the most out of their marketing:
• B2B buying is unpredictable: There is no singular right person, place, or time to target in the B2B buyer’s journey, according to Weir. Applying the concept of “quantum marketing”—the theory that people act differently at the micro level—allows you to instead reach the right types of people with the right types of messaging at the right range of times. The key, he said, is to be always on and in front of your audience.
• The new tech buyer is community-influenced by a committee-driven process: Are you marketing to all of the functions that wield influence and authority in the decision-making process? Marketers tend to focus on decision makers—and rightfully so, Weir said. However, he added, roles such as implementers and end users cannot be ignored, as they are responsible for driving adoption, managing implementation and deployment, and leveraging the solutions while providing feedback to executive leadership, IT decision makers, and influencers.
• Clicks can’t be the only measure of success: There’s optimizing for clicks or there’s optimizing for awareness, but there isn’t room for both. If you’re looking to build your brand, optimizing for clicks and relying heavily on clickbait won’t help you achieve that objective, Weir said. In fact, it’s insulting to your audience. Instead, track impressions and share of voice, he advised.
• Online content can highly impact purchase decisions: LinkedIn is the most frequently visited destination (55%) for decision makers to learn more about a new business or tech solution (followed closely by product review sites, 37%), per a 2018 study. The key is being where your customers are getting the information they deem valuable in their decision-making process, and directing them back to your owned ecosystem.
• Align marketing and sales efforts: What does your sales team want from a thought leadership or content perspective to help drive deals? Identifying what’s being utilized and leveraged by the sales team, and what content their prospects find valuable, can help inform future content creation and drive toward shared KPIs, Weir said. A bonus, he added: The sales team can champion your marketing budget and efforts.
• Algorithms can help marketers make decisions: Algorithms help humans produce replicable results and can also help B2B marketers produce higher quality thought leadership content. When creating content, Weir said, the SCORE algorithm can help align decision making:
- Structure gives simplicity. Templatizing design works.
- Contrarian points of view make content interesting.
- Ownable content makes your ad distinctive and memorable.
- Replication makes content valuable.
- Expertise makes content profitable—and thought leadership content determines how 63% of business decision-makers buy.
• Go big: Big bets are more profitable and yield the biggest returns, Weir said, while small bets tend to be riskier because they almost always fail. It’s not just limited to creative, either. Distribution matters as well. When your share of voice is greater than your share of market, your brand grows, he said.
As we continue to learn more about the B2B marketing trends, insights, and the decision-making prowess of today’s enlightened tech buyer—the ability to be agile, adaptable, and cultivate meaningful marketing impact remains more important than ever.
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