The technology has been wonderful for B2B marketers: it has the ability to target with accuracy never before possible. Regardless of how precise your targeting may be, the increase in sales still depends on the effectiveness of the marketing message you are delivering.
All the technological bells and whistles in the world cannot make up for a message that does not resonate with its goal on a personal and emotional level.
To successfully increase sales in today’s highly competitive B2B environment, marketers need to find ways to tie their branding and demand generation campaigns together. Hyper-targeting and targeted conversion efforts make up a large part of the demand side, of course, but it’s important to include elements of the emotional core strand that characterizes most branding as well.
Successful campaigns need to be driven by the emotions and unique challenges of your customers, not just the product you want to sell. This is the only way to break through the noise and confusion of a B2B market that has become “cluttered” to say the least.
ABM for profit
Account-based marketing (ABM) gives B2B marketers the ability to target customers and potential customers with highly personalized messages – and break the clutter. There’s no magic ABM switch, however, and the challenge is how to effectively scale content.
Customers look for customization and personalization based on their unique goals and challenges. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but customers have one thing in common: They are all human. And at the simplest level, customers want to partner with B2B companies that understand their needs.
That conclusion – customers want customization and personalization – is something that traditional, person-based marketing cannot adequately deliver.
Open up the brand for the emotional element
How can B2B marketers address customer needs, challenges, and goals on a buyer-specific level? You start by showing empathy and understanding.
The role of the brand campaign in this collaborative effort is to bring an emotional element into the mix: what is this person’s challenge? Can I empathize with this challenge? Can I build a relationship with my goal based on my understanding of what it takes?
When your brand and demand marketing efforts are properly aligned, you should be able to access your branding campaign to find the right emotional notes in the personalized messages for your demand campaign.
Needs assessment options
Personalization should be a defining characteristic of all B2B marketing messages, whether you target an entire organization, a group of decision-makers within that organization, or a specific buyer or person. To achieve this level of personalization, you need to understand the individual needs of each company at all levels. It cannot build on the kind of broad assumptions that underlie person-based marketing.
Realizing these needs is an important first step, and there are several ways you can do it. Primary research, especially face-to-face interviews with customers and prospects, can be very informative if you have the time and budget. Another option is keyword research, which provides insights into the goals and mindset of potential customers.
One of the most valuable needs assessment resources B2B marketers have at their disposal is their peers on the sales side. With sales reps and salespeople at the forefront, they often have firsthand knowledge and up-to-date insights into what their customers are talking about. Conversations with the sales team can help marketers identify trends and topics to use in their campaigns.
Marketing and sales orientation
Personalization of marketing efforts can only reach its full potential when there is real alignment between sales and marketing.
Experience has shown that such collaboration is most effective when it is a top-down phenomenon, ideally starting from the C-suite. Sales and marketing alignment is most successful when leadership positions the initiative as essential to attracting accounts and increasing sales.
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The ability to personalize marketing messages at all levels of a business has become even more important since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The B2B buying cycle is still complex and often involves multiple stakeholders. However, purchase decisions tend to be more centralized in the C-suite. This means that personalization efforts need to consider not only discrete goals and weaknesses in terms of revenue, costs, and the like, but also the overall goals of the company. If C-level executives do not feel they implicitly understand what they are trying to achieve, then you are not considered.
Hyper-targeting, personalization, and ABM are a successful strategy for such an environment.