Adventures In B2B Marketing: Quest For The Golden Buyer
Growing up, my dad was an award-winning novelist. As you can imagine, bedtime stories were always highly anticipated. His tales always began with “seven seas and seven mountains away…”
My dad’s adventure stories had all the good stuff: A hero (or heroine); a challenge, like a monster or dragon, for the hero to overcome; and a “golden apple” – some ultimate goal the hero was working toward. Looking back, my dad’s adventure stories were a lot like B2B marketing is today.
The marketer’s quest for the golden buyer
In the adventure story that is B2B marketing, a marketer’s “golden apple” – that one shiny thing we truly desire – is the ideal buyer. And, while most of us marketers aren’t fighting off monsters and dragons like the heroes in my dad’s stories, we must overcome many challenges on the road to reaching those buyers.
I hear many of my fellow marketers say, “I have a great campaign with amazing content that is informative and engaging running to my target audience. Emails are sent Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. Then, I cross my fingers and hope to hit my numbers.”
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, as we all know, successful campaigns takes more than crossed fingers.
Other challenges that can stall marketing campaign success include:
- Email spam filters. When the filters check an email, it can register as an ‘event’ which will throw off metrics and reporting.
- Flooded inboxes. Messages can get lost amongst the storm of email communications (often also arriving on Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings).
- One-and-done email nurture program that aren’t delivering information at the right time or on the right channel for individual buyers. We live in an on-demand world. Consumers expect to be served relevant information where and when they need it.
- It’s sometimes hard for marketers to know exactly who we are speaking to. There are two main audience types: Influencers and decision makers. Influencers want to consume as much information as possible to help their decision maker make an informed choice; however, decision makers only want to consume the necessary information.
The buyer’s battle against the content dragon
Buyers face challenges as well. Purchasing a product is a big investment for a company from a cost, resource, and training perspective. And there’s the added challenge of ensuring the new products integrate with their existing technology stack.
B2B buyers face ‘monsters and dragons’ in pursuit of their own ‘golden apple’ – the information that allows them to make a confident, informed decision. These include mountains of content and data they have to sift through, as well as frustrating emails that overpromise and underdeliver.
Earlier this year, for example, I wanted to purchase a car. I knew what I wanted and thought the decision would be an easy one. Turns out. . .not so much. Not long after starting my research, I found myself more confused than ever. Every night I’d spend an hour scouring websites and reviews, and every night I felt like I was wasting my time. The mountain of irrelevant content kept growing larger. The car company emailed me unhelpful, irrelevant articles and reviews. The information was disjointed, incomplete, and, worst of all, not memorable.
I felt like one of my dad’s adventure story heroes trying to find his golden apple. But as soon as I defeated one monster, two more would appear in its place. My experience quickly became overwhelming.
The B2B marketing hero’s journey
As marketers, it’s our job to help buyers overcome the challenges of the B2B world: Mountains of content, broken communications and lack of time.
It’s important to remember that buyers have a finite amount of time for their research. And they put measures in place to help with that, such as spam filters and email rules. All in all, our customers’ expectations have evolved. They want a tailored and personalized buying experience, such as getting content recommendations based on their behavior. As these expectations evolve, we modern marketers need to change accordingly if we want to reach our goals.
Marketers leading the charge already use sophisticated tools like Marketo, Eloqua, Demandbase, and PathFactory as part of their technology stack. With these next-generation tech stacks, they not only solve these buyers’ challenge but also their own by gaining visibility into important metrics like content consumption data.
These integrated tech stacks unlock powerful, intelligent data that can be used to:
- Create proper segmentation (i.e., funnel stage audience)
- Focus on meaningful engagement metrics over vanity metrics, such as clicks
- Develop accurate lead scoring models to better enable sales
- Build attribution models that support marketing spend
- Create baseline reporting to better understand the change in conversion velocity of new tactics
With such sophisticated technology at our fingertips, marketers are becoming technologists and data scientists as well.
It used to take travelling seven seas and seven mountains to get to the golden apple, but with the new generation martech stack, marketers can guide buyers through their own hero’s journey faster than ever before, no monsters or dragons required.