Like the billions of bits of data buzzing through your computer and smartphone at this moment, marketing technology today is moving faster than ever before. And while consumers are quick to adopt new technology without much thought, B2B folks need to consult with peers before embracing new tech. They need to ask themselves questions like:
- Is this the best available solution for my company?
- What’s the long-term ROI of this technology?
With big budgets, project timelines, and jobs at stake, B2B buyers must know the value of marketing technology before committing to it. Here are three valuable marketing technologies that B2B companies should add to their toolkit.
1) Marketing Automation
Faced with challenging market conditions and increasing pressure to prove ROI, more B2B marketers are using automation platforms to manage complex, multi-touch buying cycles. While most B2B marketing campaigns are email-driven, today’s automation platforms extend well beyond that capability. Popular vendors such as Pardot, Marketo, and HubSpot are now offering users the ability to:
- Design emails and landing pages
- Track web visitors
- Capture, score and nurture leads
- Integrate native customer relationship management (CRM)
- Analyze campaign data
Some vendors even offer advanced features like dynamic website content generation, multi-channel campaign management and mobile integration. B2B marketers report that the top benefit of marketing automation is the ability to generate more and better leads. Automation software combines relevant prospect criteria with an effective lead scoring system.
In addition, automation helps to improve the alignment of sales and marketing goals, a common struggle for many B2B companies. Sales and Marketing work together to define lead parameters. It also means that most leads are sales-qualified by the time they come in.
Automate Repetitive Marketing Tasks
Thirty-six percent of marketers who use automation say that the main benefit is taking repetitive tasks out of busy marketers’ hands. They use automation for email personalization, scheduling, executing, sending reports to the sales team and lead nurturing. Other reported benefits include:
- Better customers and prospect targeting
- Improved customer experience
- Better email marketing
- Reduction of human error in campaigns
- Improved multi-channel marketing
According to Forrester Research, B2B marketers that implement marketing automation experience a 10% increase in their sales-pipeline contribution. But, not so fast. With so many vendors in the marketplace, you should take time to shop around for the right vendor. Be sure to look for a vendor that offers the functions that best suit your marketing and sales needs. Take some demos, ask questions and find a solution that your whole team can agree on.
More than 95% of users leave websites without converting into customers. These users most likely browse the web, see competitors’ products and ideas, and forget what they read on previous sites. This makes your job of keeping your brand top of mind difficult. That’s what makes retargeting so valuable. The basic concept is simple: you serve customized online ads to users who previously engaged with your website.
You keep your brand in front of your prospects’ eyes throughout their online travels. And, when you retarget website visitors with display ads, they are 70% more likely to convert on your website.
It works like this: When someone visits your website, the retargeting software places a tracking cookie. After that visitor bounces and visits another site, the cookie then notifies the retargeting software. If that site has available ad space, the retargeting software automatically places a real-time bid on it. By the time the page loads, your ad will appear in that newly purchased space.
Customized ads will continue to “follow” this prospect as long as they continue displaying ideal buying behaviors, such as engaging with your site or searching relevant terms.This retargeting strategy is known as site retargeting. Its main function is to boost top-of-the-funnel leads by displaying the right ads to the right people.
Email campaigns are another way to execute retargeting. Email retargeting uses the same concept of “cookie-ing” a prospect. The only difference is that the cookie code is located in the emails you send to prospects. Retargeted ads will appear one to five times a day while that person browses the web. These display ads complement your email marketing campaigns, reinforce brand messaging and re-engage prospects at multiple touch points.
Another way to “cookie” a prospect is to target ads to people based on the keywords they search for. This is known as search retargeting. After a user searches a term that is relevant to your company or industry, they will see your customized ad while exploring options based on that term. This puts your brand in front of them at the very moment that they are searching for relevant solutions.
Compared to traditional online advertising, these retargeting strategies help B2B companies prevent wasted impressions and make the most of company ad budgets. In fact, according to the editor of www.CMO.com, retargeting can boost ad response up to 400%. Yet, unfortunately, 46% of search engine marketing professionals believe retargeting is the most underused online marketing technology.
3) Responsive Design
According to the latest IDG Global Mobile Survey, 77% of business decision-makers use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business. Another study from software company Ariba found that more than half of B2B buyers use tablets and other mobile devices to conduct research and make purchases.
These numbers will only rise in the coming years. Today, users expect to have flawless mobile access when they visit websites. For this reason, having a responsive website is no longer optional. It is crucial for success. Your website should automatically scale to any screen size. This is especially important considering that frustration and confusion are the leading causes of website bounces.
Improve User Experience
Responsive design enables your company to provide an excellent website experience for all users. This is a crucial part of digital marketers’ jobs. If you’re going to spend time populating a site with valuable content, you also need to make sure that every single prospect is able to access that content effortlessly—whether they are in the office, at the airport or on the floor of a tradeshow.
Marketers who implement responsive design report an average 20% increase in clicks and conversions. This is partly because responsive design increases mobile traffic to your site and encourages more engagement. This may seem obvious, but imagine a site that isn’t mobile-friendly. After a bad mobile experience on the home page, why would anyone want to continue browsing?
On the flip side, if you provide users with a positive mobile experience, you will see increased traffic. Furthermore, you will also increase conversions, page views, time spent on your site and repeat visits.
Rise Up In Search Engine Rankings
Another benefit of responsive sites is that they leverage the power of Google search. The search engine giant actually tailors search results coming from phones and tablets to favor mobile-friendly sites. This means better search engine optimization (SEO) for your responsive site, which results in overall higher online visibility for your brand. In addition, the price of creating a responsive site is less than having separate desktop and adaptive mobile sites, so it makes perfect sense from an economic standpoint.
When your company is ready to adopt these marketing technologies, it is important to shop around. Search for the most relevant solutions that can help you meet your company’s sales and marketing goals. There are hundreds of retargeting and marketing automation solutions, and many have different features for different types and sizes of companies.
Contact several vendors and ask questions. Consult your company’s web team to discover their responsive design capabilities. Most importantly, establish a team of employees that can oversee the campaigns and track results. All of this will help you get the most ROI out of your new technology investments.
All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.