Monday, 4 November 2019

Digital Marketing Funnel: B2B Strategies for 2019

Digital Marketing Funnel: B2B Strategies - marketing plan with testing
Digital marketing in 2018 was defined by several major trends — there was more targeting, more technology and automation, and of course more concern about privacy as spurred by GDPR.
B2B marketers moving into 2019 should know some critical things about the digital marketing funnel that will change. While the strategy of providing helpful, relevant content is always a solid foundation, the means and methods of moving leads through your funnel is evolving.
Major digital marketing funnel objectives for B2B in 2019 include:
  • Respecting customer privacy with ABM rather than outbound
  • Putting the customer in control
  • Acknowledging multiple buyers with your content messaging and format

Privacy + ABM

GDPR, a regulation on EU data protection and privacy, caused many companies to rethink their approach to generating leads. Besides being largely ineffective, outbound tactics are also now against the law within GDPR territory. GDPR is a European standard, but it is expected to become a global standard in the coming years. Marketers and sales teams need to be prepared for the massive shifts to their markets.
As a result of GDPR and the rise of inbound methods, traditional outreach channels will continue to decline. Cold calling, cold emailing, and even relying on website forms to create your email list is going to become more legally ambiguous, or downright illegal.
So in 2019 companies will shift towards legal targeting channels, using account based marketing (ABM) more heavily as traditional outreach channels disappear.
By creating targeted content and remarketing campaigns, and deploying them to the target leads in their normal browsing experience, companies can still reach their high-value leads while staying within the lines of legality.
Targeting individuals may be more difficult, but companies can still target specific audiences on platforms such as LinkedIn ads and Facebook ads. With strong content, such campaigns won’t be invasive, but will drive interested, qualified traffic into your lead pool.

Customer in Control

The digital marketing funnel is less linear than ever before. Trends from previous years continue. Several years ago, 61% of survey respondents said their buying journey has changed because they “conduct a more detailed ROI analysis before making a final decision,” according to DemandGen. This is even more true today as competing companies provide helpful tools and content to help inform a purchase decision.
B2B companies need to put power in the hands of buyers to take multiple conversions, explore and evaluate ROI, and self-educate. Moving into the forefront are new strategies that put prospects in control of their journey down the digital marketing funnel. Including many different calls-to-action across your website, and nurturing leads with targeted email nurtures, are both enduring strategies. Chatbots are another such strategy.

98% of customers say their winning vendor won the sale because of timeliness in their outreach, according to DemandGen.

Companies who wait a full day or more to follow up — and that is still most B2B companies — significantly decrease their chances of winning the sale. You need to capitalize on momentum when someone does engage with your brand. Chatbots can replace invasive email outreach and allow the prospect to easily make contact.
Your company should route chats to the correct person: customer service, sales, or automation. This will help you accommodate someone no matter what their needs are in the funnel. In fact, some companies are using AI to set up responses that come in a timely way and appear to come from a real sales rep.

Innovative Content

The single most influential aspect of any vendor’s website is “relevant content that speaks directly to [my] company,” says the DemandGen report, with 69% of respondents saying content was very important to a purchase decision. This has been more true in 2018 than ever before, with content now expected in both the marketing and sales journey.

Innovative content marketing is taking the forefront in 2019, at the helm of every paid campaign and nurturing strategy. Companies should be trying different formats to see what resonates with their audience. Traditional sales one-pagers should be supplemented with fresher educational formats.
Webinars were highly successful in 2018, and were one of the highest-converting campaigns for new leads for Ironpaper B2B clients through paid advertising and ABM outreach. Case studies were also a high converter, especially those for recognizable brands or positioned within a similar industry as the target audience. Videos in general continue to be critical through the digital marketing funnel.
As in 2018, more decision-makers move online for research, so it’s likely that many buyers are playing a role in the decision process online. Everything from your content marketing strategy to your target audiences should reflect a room full of decision makers, with different skills and backgrounds who respond to very different value propositions.
As a result, messaging research and refinement will be critical to position yourself throughout the funnels of different buyers. Whether you’re raising awareness, helping provide context for consideration of vendors/partners, or hitting home for the final purchase decision, this messaging should drive you. Creating content for multiple buyers requires more research and resources. Therefore B2B marketing teams should budget accordingly.
2019 brings potential for B2B marketers and sales teams who strive to stay ahead of the curve by shedding outdated (and soon-to-be illegal) outreach tactics. Targeted, well-researched content that speaks to decision makers will help you generate leads and fill your digital marketing funnel this year.
DemandGen and DemandBase, “The 2016 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report”


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