As B2B marketers brush off the debris from 2020 and assess what to expect in 2021, many will be thinking about the things they can return to that have been on hiatus for the past 10 months, namely sales meetings and events.
These two important elements of marketing will definitely come back, but any marketer that keeps trudging forward with the same old mix of online marketing in the meantime will be left behind as other B2B marketers gain traction with new and old channels colliding like Salesforce and Hubspot with CTV and Digital OOH.
This year, a lot of mid-funnel prospects that went dark will come back to life. It’s a huge opportunity to get the pipeline going and get deals closed. But, at least the first half of this year, if not the whole year, will still be affected by less travel and less in-person events than we’d all want.
Rather than think of that as a reason for pessimism, take this time to think about how new channels can be used to capture as many of those prospects as possible. The real opportunity to close sales in 2021 isn’t a return to normal, but rather a growth in omnichannel performance.
In 2020, B2B marketers doubled down on their favorite lead generation channels, namely email, search, and content marketing. These measurable workhorses are by no means supposed to be replaced in an omnichannel strategy. Rather, an omnichannel approach effectively brings these channels together and makes room for coordinated marketing on new channels.
I know what you might be thinking right now, omnichannel marketing that includes CTV or Digital OOH is particularly hard for B2B marketers, who are faced with smaller audiences, and longer, more complicated sales processes.
But think about this; without the benefit of in-person events and meetings, how better to keep someone engaged than showing a CTV commercial to your target audience while they’re streaming something at home? That’s a super-engaging opportunity that’s worth the added work.
Focusing on omnichannel marketing doesn’t have to mean B2B marketers need to spend money on “every channel.” Rather, it means two things:
I love the concept of “data portability” to explain how data feeds into an omnichannel marketing strategy. It’s important to think about uniting important insights about target audiences and prospects into a single whole, but also to be able to use those insights across a variety of channels, tech platforms and reports.
These are some of the most important steps to creating a high-functioning data strategy:
To make the most of cross-channel execution, this newly clean and portable data needs to be the backbone of a highly orchestrated measurement and analysis strategy. It’s important to have full-funnel attribution and ROAS tracking in order to attribute interested leads from new channels like digital TV viewing to sales, form downloads and engagement.
It’s also important to build in the ability to target specific audiences by important details like job title; device (CTV, Apple TV, mobile, tablet and desktop); streaming platform (Hulu, DirecTV Now, Sling, etc.); geolocation; time of day; and demographic, including gender or even income.
You always start with activating first-party at an account level to create one audience, and then you look at the intent insights those companies have shown and build other audiences from new accounts that display similar intent and then you cut all or some of those accounts by job title to get to the decision maker level.
All of this is meant to create a mix of audiences that allow you to test and optimize.
Nearly two thirds (73%) of top performing B2B marketers nurture leads compared to only 38% of the least successful. People still love email, but their inboxes are full. Everyone values new research content, but they also like variety.
Nurturing leads successfully requires some creative messaging across different channels. The element of newness, surprise and a change of environment can go a long way to delivering value in an omnichannel lead nurturing strategy.
One way to approach this is to take a tried and true channel like Hubspot, and figure out how to connect it to a new one, like CTV. If there are already accounts in Hubspot, test a media campaign to re-activate mid-tier prospects.
Especially in today’s world hubspot has created great new features like in email videos’ that allow sales people to share demos, use cases, or newly added features quickly in an personalized email to a client. That type of engagement tied to an ad a client might have just seen on the TV that is on the background probably scrolling bad news on TV.
These are the tactics that push a lead to close a B2B deal.
When adding any new channel like CTV to a B2B stack, it’s important to remember that it is just a piece of the cross-channel puzzle. B2B marketers should always assess their audience, demographics and KPIs to determine which channel and strategy is best for reaching their intended audiences.
Even before we can do those in-person events again, mixing in the human element and adapting outreach to attain and engage users is ideal for optimal success.
Benjamin Goldman is Senior Vice President, Digital at 180byTwo, a MeritDirect Company. 180byTWO employs data-driven decisioning to create meaningful opportunities for their clients, partners and their customer. They leverage cutting edge technology, analytics, and data insights to drive our approach to data solutions and services.
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