The B2B marketing press is awash with talk of the ever-evolving buyer. We know they’re doing it on their terms: self-educating through their buyer journey. In fact, they’re spending more time, more resources and taking longer than ever to come to their own decisions.
The age of the customer
We’re witnessing a shift in power. Today’s buyers say that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. This mindset makes inbound marketing more relevant than ever. Although not a new concept, it seems a lot of B2B marketing organisations are slow to move away from traditional campaigning reliant on outbound tactics like advertising and email. It’s not just the tactics, but our quarterly-driven campaigns themselves that are out of sync with these new buyers and their ongoing search for information.
Aligning the stars
Outbound marketing, long the norm in the B2B world, doesn’t work in isolation. What’s the sense in hoping the stars align in our favour and our buyers are “in market” at the exact time we’re running our campaign? Better to let the right customers find us in their arduous buying journey, right? Well, it’s not only outbound that’s proving ineffective in this new age.
The hare or the tortoise?
Content marketing allows us to engage earlier in the buying process, even before prospects are thinking about specific purchases – but we haven’t made our campaigns any longer to accommodate that. So many campaigns still have the plug pulled come the end of the quarter – or the budget – despite promoting solutions that might take over a year to decide upon.
An excuse for nurture
We’re so keen to generate engagement, often we’re not prepared to deal with situations where the engagement doesn’t equate to a sale within our time frames. Of course, nurture is the answer, but are we really considering behaviour and nurturing in a relevant way – or are we just spamming our warmest prospects?
Ding-Dong! The campaign is dead
If traditional campaigns can’t cope in this new world, what’s the solution? “Always-on” marketing is the latest trend on the lips of savvy B2B marketers. We’ve developed a definition: A programme that delivers consistent, audience-centric messaging and content, that generates engagement throughout the buying process, through a process of ongoing optimisation in content, messaging and marketing tactics.
Three steps to building an always-on marketing programme:
Audience-centric messaging and content involves building buyer insight and feeding that into your messaging and content strategy.
Engagement throughout the buying process means considering the buyer journey and not dropping the ball on engaged prospects.
Ongoing optimisation allows for real-time adaptation of tactics and messages to ensure buyer engagement and best ROI.
The always-on approach lets marketers focus attention and build consistency. At the same time, they’re able to benefit from economies of scale because they’re no longer carrying out so many random acts of marketing. Always-on marketing programmes can house multiple smaller campaigns, but because these hang off a consistent theme, they align to today’s always-on buying process. It’s marketing’s response to the age of the customer.
This post formed part of our B2 Magazine. If you haven’t seen this, check it out here >