Like many other marketing and business leaders, I have had my fair share of sleepless nights because a challenge or upcoming initiative consumed my mind. Last month, I looked at the top five challenges keeping B2B CMOs up at night. This month, my goal is to help marketing leaders and practitioners get a better night’s rest.
In this conclusion to my two-part series, I share solutions to overcome these challenges, launch successfully into the second half of 2021 and be ready for a successful 2022.
Think Outside the Box With Your Marketing Strategy
The pandemic made it impossible for companies to do things the same way and expect favorable outcomes. The development of new, innovative marketing strategies to drive demand, engage buyers and result in revenue was not only necessary but critical. While a more stable environment may be on the horizon in some industries, marketing innovations, taking some calculated risks, and keeping up the current momentum will remain central to marketers’ continued success.
B2B marketing leaders and practitioners have adjusted to the new business environment and will need to remain diligent. Not only must they dedicate resources and technology that will allow them and their team to devise ideas and initiatives around already-proven tactics, they must launch new initiatives that will set them apart.
- Dig deeper into the customer experience to create more human engagements.
- Get even more out of your technology and data by creating experiences that are more responsive and personalized, which builds trust.
- Improve content to better align and support the decision making and purchasing processes and the challenges that your buyers face.
- Double down on analytics and marketing attribution to ensure that every dollar is well invested.
Related Article: When Did B2B Marketing Become So Complicated?
Outpace the Competition With Content Innovation
The competitive landscape for marketers continues to intensify with each passing year. Marketing leaders need to expand and penetrate new markets and gain net-new clients, in addition to furthering relationships with their existing customer base.
CMOs can position their brands as industry leaders by engaging their audience with relevant, innovative, engaging content that the buyer can use to learn and advance themselves as well as your offering within their organization.
I’ve seen our B2B clients engage the most elusive of audiences and increase their engagement by 30% by generating timely, valuable and educational content. Your target audiences are looking through a myriad of content resources when conducting research — yours and your competition’s. By investing in the development of exceptional thought-leadership content, you are providing something of real value. Consider how you will align your content to the buyer’s unique needs and share it in different media to make your message easy to consume and promote internally as the buyer’s interest intensifies.
- Consider and plan for both the message and the medium in your content marketing strategies.
- Matrix your content by the customer’s journey and try to flip your image of content marketing to see things from the customer’s experience (this takes time to really get right — you may fall short if you just use your instinct or what you already know).
- Move content from afterthought to forethought. As we see clients making this shift, they are reaping the rewards of this approach.
- Report on your content’s performance at every stage and step, from every perspective.
Related Article: Rethink Your Content Strategy for a Headless CMS
Differentiate With Customer Experience
Within the next several years, customer experience (CX) will continue to emerge as a primary differentiator. In our day-to-day lives, we tend to spend our money with the companies that provide us with the best buying experience. Your customers are no different. It’s their experience with your business and its products or services that makes the difference.
To achieve an Amazon-like experience that keeps customers coming back, marketing must step up as the leader of CX. We call this the marketing-led customer experience (MLCX). MLCX supports a more cohesive and intuitive experience by placing the customer journey in the hands of the CMO, in partnership with every customer-facing team within their organization.
Power your business’s MLCX through a marketing tech stack capable of generating, managing and protecting meaningful, accurate and trustworthy data that informs and supports the entire journey. If you effectively tap into the transformative power of data collection methods, integration and analytics, those insights will help you better know your buyer and deliver a customer experience that deepens loyalty and drives conversions.
- Improve how you use your website and other online channels to capture more behavioral data.
- Ensure that your practices are compliant with all global regulations.
- Focus on what you really need to create a truly noteworthy experience for your audience (sometimes less is more) and enable solid reporting.
Related Article: Customer Experience Starts – and Stops – With Emotions
Assess What Works and What Doesn’t
The impulse for some companies during a downturn is to find the easiest areas to cut expenses and start slashing. While sometimes unavoidable, these cuts can come with unexpected repercussions for your business and your customers. Be proactive about impending budget changes.
To support your go-forward planning, take a strategic assessment of your initiatives and in-house costs. Cut any initiatives that yield little to no results, like live events during a pandemic. Keep doing the essentials, like optimizing your processes. Assess where you can add in some of those innovative, high-yield initiatives mentioned above. The Cut, Hold, Accelerate Decision Matrix is a great resource to support you in this process.
Prove Marketing’s Success With Attribution
Even as many sectors begin to recover from the pandemic, CMOs will continue to be expected to do more with less. They will have to account for the effectiveness of every dollar spent and be able to quantify the benefits of their marketing initiatives.
For C-suite executives, revenue attribution provides hard evidence and confirmation of the important contributions of marketing and allows marketers to connect their activities to revenue. It allows marketers to extend their reach beyond brand equity and engagement. It provides a unique opportunity to examine both lagging and leading indicators, as it allows for faster decision making and execution.
- Ensure your data is reporting ready by properly managing it, from acquisition to augmentation.
- Maintain an organized and integrated tech stack to pull and leverage data from all your organization’s sources to provide attribution reporting.
- Create a 360 degree view of the customer that supports your initiatives and ties back into analytics.
I can’t guarantee you won’t still experience restlessness from time to time, but understanding today’s challenges, analyzing changes and developing strategies to help turn the dial are all essentials to success and a better night’s sleep.
Rhoan is the co-founder and CEO of DemandLab, an agency she launched in 2009 in response to the disruptive impact of technology in marketing. She is a leading authority on marketing-led customer experience and continues to explore next-generation technologies and analytics that accelerate revenue, prove marketing’s impact, support engaging customer journeys, and deliver valuable customer insights.