As B2B marketers continue to navigate the digital-first, hybrid world of marketing, they are looking for new ways to engage their key accounts in meaningful ways to conversions and build their brand. This new mindset has challenged organizations to become more creative with their campaign strategies and go-to-market programs in 2021, but marketers are rising to the challenge.
The 2021 Campaign Optimization Series, hosted by Demand Gen Report, spotlighted some of the high-touch strategies B2B marketers are adopting to engage their buyers in a digital-first world, combining them with new digital initiatives that drive pipeline and scale. The series featured 16 sessions from some of the best minds in the business, who offered their perspective on modern buyer engagement.
Throughout the series, experts explored the idea of customer-focused approaches that target the human behind the account by leveraging customer feedback, creating more personalized buyer experiences and more. Attendees also learned about the shift in global go-to-market strategies, and how marketers can scale their ABM and demand generation programs for digital engagement on a global scale.
Putting The Human Back In B2B Marketing
The #COSeries focused primarily on how marketers create more personalized buying experiences that keep audiences engaged and informed, as well as the new mediums and strategies they are adopting to generate that engagement.
Highlighted throughout the webinar was the concept that bigger isn’t always better — sometimes small, meaningful gestures are more appreciated. When deciding on a personalized gesture, Klokkenga and Darnell agree that it’s best to put yourself in the receiver’s shoes.
“Simple gestures, such as congratulating a buyer on their marriage or asking about their dog, are so important,” said Klokkenga. “Having those human touchpoints and mindfulness of societal issues is the No. 1 priority in 2021 and beyond.”
Cheri Keith, Head of Strategy at ON24, echoed a similar sentiment in her session, suggesting B2B organizations need to adopt an audience-first, experience-driven approach to their marketing and sales strategies. By putting the audience first, marketers can directly cater to their needs.
“We have to make sure that we are not on our heels anymore, but we also have to create experiences that are more audience-centric,” said Keith. “Buyers want to have more control over their journeys, and it’s up to marketers to create those engaging journeys for them. If we drop the mentality of operating in silos, then we can really engage and market to our buyers in a more engaging, experiential way.”
GrubHub stepped in to highlight the various uses of meals in marketing in the appropriately titled, “The Power Of Meal-Based Marketing In The Digital Era.” The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t quell prospects’ appetites — instead, the adaptability of meal-based marketing was showcased as organizations got creative in how they took clients “out” to lunch. To increase client conversion and retention, GrubHub’s Serge Voronov, Enterprise Sales Executive, explained that meals are applicable through all stages of the sales funnel, from lead generation to retention.
Leveraging Customer-Focused Strategies To Drive The Journey
Many sessions during this year’s #COSeries revolved around data and engagement, with sessions that highlighted the importance of data across all stages of marketing, plus the new demand for meaningful experiences.
Gabriella Di Fazio, Senior Demand Generation Specialist for SurveyMonkey and Corrina Owens, Director of Marketing for Profisee, dove into the world of analyzing customer insights to improve future and current campaigns and create better ABM experiences. Di Fazio explained that marketers should utilize all forms audience feedback — including follow-up calls, surveys and more — to gauge a prospect or customer’s satisfaction with their experience. Of course, the experts explained, these same methods are applicable internally to ensure teams remain motivated and can change course as necessary.
“Feedback requires a ton of customization,” said Owens, in the webinar. “You can hold workshops with clients to determine how you categorize and classify their data in a way that makes sense and solves their business problems. Make no assumptions — a lot of times you’ll have everyone at the table, you’ll present and train them, but you’re not sure it’ll resonate or stick, so you have to gauge that.”
Tyler Lessard, VP of Marketing at Vidyard, also spoke to the impact creativity can have on the customer experience. Marketers who tailor their marketing outreach, content and strategies for specific accounts have more success with their creative marketing programs than those who don’t.
In his session, Lessard explored how personalized videos can help marketers establish a 1:1 engagement strategy that grabs the buyer’s attention. Personalized videos allow a brand’s message to resonate with buyers. Not only is it engaging, it also simultaneously prepares them for any potential future interactions with a brand.
“Personalized videos are great because it is now so simple to sit down, hit the record button and give the buyer a unique, personal interaction,” Lessard explained. “Videos add that ability to create rapport and build trust, but also to simply stand out from all the other things your competitors are sending around. Every seller I hear doing this has higher response rates, more meetings booked and higher show rates because buyers feel like they’ve already met them and are more inclined to meet.”
In another session from Drift, Sr. Director of Demand Generation Charm Bianchini also spoke to the importance of knowing who your buyers are to craft a more customer-centric buying experience. Bianchini explained that conversational marketing creates better customer experiences through real-time conversations, allowing marketers and salespeople to engage buyers, understand their needs and pain points and provide recommendations for next-best actions.
“Conversational marketing allows you to engage buyers immediately and recognize when they are showing intent,” said Bianchini. “You want to follow up with people when they want to be followed up with. This framework allows marketers to provide buyers with what they want or need right away without having to make them wait, and smoothly move them through their buyer’s journey.”
Scaling ABM For A Digital Demand Gen World
In this digital age, B2B organizations need to be more prepared to engage their buyers from anywhere, at any time. This year’s #COSeries also emphasized the growing importance of scaling go-to-market strategies for the global stage.
Caroline Van Dyke, Head of Content at RollWorks, explained that knowing your audience and framing them are keys to the ABM battle, and those insights are generated from data. The data used seems to be twofold: On one hand, it’s usable to generate account profiles; on the other, it’s eye-catching and engaging as a component of content. However, this isn’t a venture that organizations can dive into headfirst — they must create an account map to determine the best course of action for the accounts.
Tenessa Lochner, Director of Enterprise Marketing and ABX at Demandbase, discussed the shifting world of ABM, and zeroed in on building campaign experiences through an account-based lens. She said account-based experiences (ABX) rely on intent data and advised organizations to follow the F.I.R.E. (fit, intent, relationship and engagement) model to define the journey and identify MQAs throughout the account journey.
She cautioned, however, that ABX requires thoughtful and careful planning to see optimal success. It also requires a close eye on the goal without being swept away by big ideas.
In another session, Integrate’s Chief Growth Officer Scott Vaughn and Ivanti’s VP of Global Growth Marketing Leslie Alore walked attendees through the process of generating demand on a global scale. As the speakers dove into the world of growth marketing, they highlighted the need for organizations’ thought leaders to drive internal cohesion and communication. Internal teams should be aligned on managing campaign and digital strategies to successfully scale.
“Our goal is to create an omnichannel experience for our buyers,” said Alore. “For example, our digital team knows the intimate details of our email campaigns. Siloes form really easily in bigger teams but busting them is something you have to do.”
All of the sessions and insights from this year’s #COSeries are now available on-demand here.