For B2B high-tech marketing, 2017 is — hands-down — the year of account-based marketing and selling and, well, everything. Enough early adopters will have tested the variety of tools to have a set of best practices for others to follow. We all face the complexity of the B2B buying cycle, combined with the need for personalized messaging. It’s a challenge many marketing and sales teams are working hard to navigate. Coordinating thoughtful approaches to accounts who are showing interest is where teams need to spend time — and several vendors promise to help.
I hope we will see more sophisticated ways in which compelling and relevant content will be activated within the process, where teams are able to leverage content assets in a personalized engagement. This all continues to follow the whole notion of personalization in content marketing, and telling more individually relevant stories. We’re at the point now that you can use intelligence about a specific account to craft a message to a specific individual within the account. The days of mass email marketing are over.
Data Privacy, Regulations To Challenge Marketers
Because of the evolving data privacy landscape across different countries, especially in the realm of account prospecting, it is becoming increasingly difficult to automate direct outreach to potential prospects.
Certain countries have begun to employ a “double opt-in” process, forcing marketers to shift their approach away from generic outbound marketing. Our team at Alfresco stopped email marketing in Canada and Germany because of the strict marketing regulations there, and we have had to seek other approaches.
Additionally, despite the rise of Big Data and machine learning, increasing regulations may require marketers to need more human beings (not machines) to hit send on certain promotional messages, and to conduct data cleansing.
Analytics Offline and Online Key To Long-Term Success
Just as sales teams are held accountable to revenue numbers, a marketing team’s contribution to sales success is quantifiably measured by analytics. Marketers can expect greater sophistication in their analytics; however, data aggregation and predictive analytics for account sourcing are still challenges.
Machine learning is on the rise, and will make a day-to-day impact on marketing tools in the coming years. Organizations that figure out how to leverage analytics to understand customer acquisition at every level, and to target customers through both offline and online experiences, will be the winners of the future.
Sydney Sloan is Alfresco's Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for driving customer, product, partner and industry marketing.