To drive awareness and engage prospects, B2B marketers are implementing a mix of inbound and outbound marketing techniques.
During a recent webinar, titled: Connecting With More Leads Via Inbound & Outbound, Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, and Janelle Johnson, Director of Demand Gen at Act-On Software, shared insights regarding how marketers can better connect and engage with today’s time-starved, multi-tasking B2B buyers.
In his part of the presentation, Content Optimization: How To Integrate Search, Social And Inbound To Drive Demand, Odden discussed how marketers should embrace content marketing principles to add fuel to their marketing fire. First, he opened with statistics detailing the rise of content marketing. According to an Econsultancy and Adobe study released in January 2013, content marketing was the leading digital marketing priority (39%) for companies worldwide. He also pointed out a 2012 CMI study, noting that 54% of B2B Marketers planned on increasing their content marketing spend in 2013.
Odden then promoted the concept of optimized marketing, which entails the integration of SEO and social media efforts with the publishing of content at every stage of the buying cycle.
“Ultimately, you want your brand and its key messages aligned with being the best answer, resulting in buyers pulling themselves through 70% or more through the sales cycle before they ever contact you,” Odden said. “That translates into a very efficient and effective sales cycle, so everybody wins.”
Johnson started her presentation, “Integrating Inbound and Outbound,” by describing Act-On’s target market of small-to-medium sized B2B companies that are already online marketing.
To confirm the importance of relevant thought leadership, Johnson shared how Act-On teamed up with market research group Forrester on a content initiative that included three assets: a consulting report on “Driving SMB Revenue in a Tough Economy,” a companion webinar, and an E-book.
Johnson emphasized the importance of lead nurturing and lead scoring in the buying process, citing an Act-On automated campaign as an example. The campaign gave both the marketing and sales teams the necessary information to know the tendencies and behaviors of each potential buyer, allowing them to adjust and follow-up accordingly.
“Being able to rank the leads based on the score of what they’re doing allows you to pass the hottest, most sales ready leads to the sales team,” Johnson said, “while marketing continues to nurture and engage the leads that aren’t as far along in the buyer’s journey.”
Getting The Most Out Of Marketing
In the Q&A section of the webinar, Odden advised attendees to go beyond posting standalone content, such as a blog, an infographic, or a video. To get the most out of their content investment, he advised that marketers instead try to stitch a variety of content together.
“People are creating individual content projects and experimenting in a way that doesn’t allow them to reap the rewards,” Odden said. “In other words, they’re doing one-offs, and they’re not thinking of connecting things together.”
He also recommended that marketers use social media as a complement to direct marketing.
“I would not invest, from a linear perspective, money into social and expecting a direct return in terms of leads generated,” Odden said. “I would simply use social media to help amplify my other content
Click here to access an on-demand version of the webinar.