Over the past few years, there has been a humungous change in content-led engagement for B2B marketing strategies globally. The change and its repercussions revolve around a few major aspects, as I see.
Firstly, a big factor in its impact is the diversity of content and the speed of publishing on media platforms. Its effectiveness increases with the type and the speed in the GTM of this content- how fast you can get the right content to your target customer segment. More emphasis is placed on conversions as B2B brands’ marketing matures. We know that targeted content in the form of whitepapers and product information e-mails can drive a significant amount of traffic, which can be funneled towards the gated content that can get converted into leads. But how valuable is a lead that never actually makes it to the bottom of the sales funnel? It is estimated that a great percentage (41%) of B2B firms are looking for content marketing to be a veritable revenue center. Using paid search, retargeting, video testimonials, case studies, and free product trials can help prospects towards a move from cognizant consideration phase to actual conversions.
Secondly, when you have identified the right customer segment, your job is half done. Over the last eight years or so, the B2B demand generation industry has become more structured. Before that, it was rather like shooting in the dark and hoping for a hit. Businesses did everything to connect with the leadership of companies and their prospective clients, but the success rate with that strategy was minimal. However, in recent times, we have been talking of ABM (Account-Based Marketing), and now, the hottest strategy IBM (Intent-Based Marketing), has been helping businesses make a transition to account and user-centric targeting. The post-adoption benefits witnessed by the organizations in terms of revenue, speaks volumes about how these two have impacted the scale of the businesses. In both these approaches, we are, trying to pinpoint where to throw the dart- Defining the strategy around prospects.
The third most important element is the advent of marketing process automation. A decade ago, the biggest technology business automation was Salesforce. It is a good and effective CRM, but today, a CRM platform alone is not adequate for performance marketing. As we see today, Salesforce has evolved by acquiring organizations in automation. Today, over 50 % of B2B brands have dedicated marketing automation platforms, and most automation platforms are further infused with Artificial Intelligence(AI), to make it more intuitive and effective. This automation is more targeted towards the marketing dollars spent so that we can manage costs better. Programmatic advertising marketplaces are integrating AI into their ad-buying techniques, connecting advertisers with more efficiency, accuracy, and speed – and at a price point that’s already pre-set within the system. Goes without saying that such platforms enable better customer experiences, engagements, conversions, and hence improve marketing performance.
AI is relatively at a nascent stage in the content marketing industry. What AI does is, it helps decipher structured data sets and pulls out key insights through machine learning (ML). From keyword research and creation to distribution and measurement, the proliferation of AI in marketing automation tools, plugins, and platforms has made content even more efficient and effective than ever before.
In my mind, the integration of self-tracking mechanism in communications from such automated platforms is priceless. These platforms enable us to identify everything about the potential prospect, even the best time to send e-mails.
B2B marketing has changed considerably over the last decade and phenomenally so. B2B Enterprises and marketing enablement have it better than ever before.