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B2B Marketers Look To Modernize Webinar Experiences By Promoting Two-Way Engagement

Webinars continue to be a staple in many B2B demand gen strategies, with studies show that webinars are one of the most useful content formats for generating positive engagement with prospective customers. Findings from Demand Gen Report’s annual Content Preferences Survey show that close to half (47%) of respondents find webinars valuable at the early and mid-stage of their buying process. Also, close to two-thirds (64%) of B2B buyers are willing to spend 20 to 60 minutes watching a webinar — more than any other content format.

B2B Marketers Apply New Tools & Tactics For Segmenting Campaigns To Target Audiences

With targeting and segmentation becoming bigger priorities to support ABM, lead nurturing and related initiatives, new tools and tactics are being deployed to help marketers prioritize and better engage new targets.

For example, commercial real estate software provider Apto was having trouble separating its ideal target prospects (commercial real estate brokers) from the rest of its database (residential real estate brokers and non-brokers in general). The company recently started working with a company called Calibermind to help clean up and segment its database.

“We tend to get a lot of inbound interest and traffic to our website from people in commercial real estate,” said Michael Bevan, VP of Marketing at Apto. “We just inadvertently added others over the years—like appraisers, property management companies, investment companies and developers. So we worked with Calibermind to separate our actual target prospects from all of these other people in commercial real estate that are not really viable prospects for us now.” 

New Tools To Support Segmentation

Calibermind Profile Segmentation is designed to push a segment tag to all CRM systems, allowing for better end-to-end, dynamic segmentation at scale.

EverString recently launched predictive segmentation capabilities to its Audience Platform, enabling customers to create a predictive segment using their own data.

Act-On Software unveiled newAdaptive Journeys solution features, Adaptive Segmentation, designed to help marketers create contact lists based on CRM, web form and behavior insights.

Salesforce’s Einstein release also features an Einstein Segmentation tool to help marketers uncover the right prospects, as well as target new segments with personalized campaigns.

Bevan said he began segmenting brokers from non-brokers by analyzing prospective customers’ websites and LinkedIn profiles pertaining to specific phrases identified through trial and error.

“The residential broker audience is so much larger than the commercial audience,” Bevan said. “Even adding a few of them to the sales funnel will just overwhelm our salespeople, so it’s important to us to filter them out.”

After identifying the right brokers, the next step was to identify which specialty vertical they belonged to, as well as what property types they sell and their role within brokerage. Once these segments are identified, the company leveraged an email nurture program featuring personalized content.

“Once a month, we send out a mass email to the whole database to announce a new piece of content or something that is potentially relevant to any broker regardless of specialty or role,” said Bevan. “Then, we have nurture programs and workflows set up so we can send more frequent emails to people based on their specific challenges or interests. We have workflows for specific functions and titles, as well.”

Bevan said Apto is using Calibermind to enhance its existing database of 100,000 contacts with more information to help “refine and expand those target groups.” While it’s still too early for Apto to see measurable results, the company was able to update and validate 100,000 contact records.

“Our biggest result right now from a strategic standpoint is having this new insight in our database to help us realign our sales initiatives, discover new segments and refine and personalize our messaging in ways that didn’t make sense before.”

Top To-Dos For Effective Segmentation

While agreeing on the potential payoffs of segmentation, industry analysts remind marketers that effective segmentation starts with really understanding your target audience. Experts point out that too many marketers rely on the titles rather than understanding the needs of the buyer.

With segmentation, it’s important to understand the relationships between the stakeholders involved in buying what you sell. 

“I often hear B2B marketers say they have to reach a CXO,” said Ardath Albee, Author & CEO of Marketing Interactions. “With segmentation, it’s important to understand the relationships between the stakeholders involved in buying what you sell. Engaging the role responsible for research and evaluation can be much more fruitful than banging your head against the wall trying to attract a CXO who’s too busy to be interested in what you have to say.”

Allison Snow, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, added that in order to build a robust persona, marketers should build the segment first. “[Figure out] what you need these to look like, and then carefully match your value proposition to that persona,” she said. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why does this person care about what you’re doing?
  • How will it help them with their job?
  • What does their boss ask them for every day?
  • What competitive threats do they see?

“Then, you have to examine your value proposition tools against [the persona’s] problems and translate it,” Snow said. “Segmentation is about not asking people to do that themselves anymore. Personas really guide that.”

Other key tips for successful segmentation industry experts suggest include:

  • Think about the end result. “Defining segments with greater specificity can help you think about how to deliver content that’s more targeted or messaging that’s more personalized,” said Apto’s Bevan. “You can fall into the trap of over-segmenting and being too specific because, if you do that, there is no value to actually speak to one segment audience differently.”
  • Data hygiene is crucial. “You need to keep up with your data hygiene,” said Albee. “Contact information changes pretty quickly. Marketers need to pay more attention to the integrity of their data.”
  • Relevant content is nuanced. Snow said content must be personalized to the point where you are delivering your value proposition and what your company can do for this prospect. It must also be relevant to the prospect’s stage in the buying cycle, as well as the person’s role on the buying team.

5 Industry Experts Sound Off On B2B Content Challenges

Even though the content marketing landscape has evolved into a pivotal part of many B2B marketing strategies, there are still hurdles to overcome before the content can thrive. This infographic from Kapost shares insight into B2B challenges from five content marketing thought leaders, including Ann Handley, Michael Brenner and Ardath Albee.

#B2BMX Preview: Ardath Albee On The Role Of Buyer Personas In Content Marketing

ardathThere is an endless amount of content in the B2B atmosphere, so it’s critical for marketers to ensure theirs stands out above the crowd. One way to do that is by telling a story. But oftentimes, B2B marketers aren’t equipped with the right information to do so. This is where buyer personas can have a significant impact on targeted messaging.

  • Published in Blog

C2C15 Recap: The Indirect Buyer’s Journey, Buyer Centricity And Influencers Hot Topics

Many of the speakers at this year’s B2B Content2Conversion Conference noted that the buyer’s journey doesn’t always follow the path that marketers intend.

Marketers rely on campaigns to move buyers through the funnel, but Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions, stated they can sometimes hinder the journey. “Campaigns are a company construct, not your buyer’s agenda,” she said. (Coverage of her session here).

Webinar: Content, Follow-up And Scoring Key To Converting Prospects

webinars shutterstock 134249441Lead generation remains a primary focus of B2B marketers, but many prospects fall through the cracks before they can even be qualified as a lead for the sales team. In a recent webinar titled: 3 Ways To Convert More Prospects Into Leads, speakers outlined the steps that B2B marketers need to take to properly nurture leads: relevant content, timely follow-up and effective lead scoring.

According to Craig Elias, creator of Trigger Event Selling and Chief Catalyst of SHiFT Selling, B2B marketers need to align their content with the events that trigger a purchase.

C2C Power Panels To Focus On Specific Stages Of The Buying Cycle

C2C twitter logoAddressing the unique needs of B2B marketers, this year’s Content2Conversion (C2C) Conference will offer three Power Panels, each targeted toplanning content campaigns at specific stages of the buying cycle.

The “Keynote” Power Panel is a rare opportunity to hear from key figures in the field as they tackle questions every B2B marketer should be focused on answering. Ardath Albee, Joe Pulizzi and Ann Handley will deliver a comprehensive look at planning content strategy; deploying content in the right formats; and amplifying content across all channels.

Content Thought Leaders To Share Best Practices At 2013 Content2Conversion Conference

Save the dateContent superstars such as Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions, are slated to speak at this year’s Content2Conversion Conference, presented by Demand Gen Report. The event will be held April 22 to 23, 2013, at the Times Center in New York City.

During the two-day event, thought leaders will share their expertise with organizations striving to stand out in the emerging world of content marketing. Touted as a must-attend event for education and networking, B2B and channel executives attending C2C will learn the ins and out of mapping, developing and utilizing content marketing to nurture buyer relationships and enhance conversations with clients and prospects.

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