Attention Marketers: Your Content Marketing Strategy Is Shortsighted

Randy2c UberflipCalling all marketers: it’s time to abandon an outdated mindset around content marketing and embrace change. For the last ten years, we’ve been inundated with the term “content marketing.” While it seems to mean something different to everyone, we can all agree that when it comes to using content marketing to secure and engage leads, sometimes less is more.

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.

Are Bots The Next Generation Of B2B Marketing Employees?

As buyers continue to be more equipped to do their own research during the buying process, a new wave of technology has blossomed to help aid them in these efforts. Virtual assistants—whether through voice or chat—have been creeping into the B2C landscape for some time now, but experts agree their potential in B2B is even greater. B2B companies, such as Coolfront Technologies, have seen great success by avoiding new hires and implementing bots as part of their sales teams.

Picture It: Snapchat As A $20 Billion Public Company

1snapchatSnapchat has reportedly filed for an initial public offering (IPO), bringing the social messaging app closer to a $20 billion to $25 billion U.S. stock market debut. Reuters, quoting sources familiar with the situation, said the company could go public as soon as March 2017.

Measuring Marketing Performance To Enhance Future Campaigns

When it comes to measuring marketing performance, multiple layers come into play. Some actions are deemed easy to measure, such as click-through rates on email campaigns or the number of followers on social media, but these metrics don’t dive into the impact marketing activities have on a business’ bottom line. Companies such as Mongo DB are not only measuring marketing performance on a larger scale, but also on a content engagement level, to help determine this impact and enhance future performance.

Marketing Technologists Play Pivotal Role In Move To Data-Driven Marketing

Data-driven marketing imageThe delineation between marketing and IT is becoming more fluid as data analytics and advanced technologies drive marketing strategies. As the concept of data-driven marketing takes hold and marketing’s responsibilities broaden beyond lead generation, the position of marketing technologist has emerged to bridge the gap.

“IT and marketing are blurring when it comes to marketing technology, probably more than any other department,” said Jason Stewart, VP of Demand Generation at ANNUITAS. “Technologies like marketing automation, social media monitoring and content strategy tools are requiring more marketing expertise and acumen. The need for marketers specializing in the tech aspects of the role is greater than ever.”

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