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B2B Engagement Marketing
 

B2B Engagement Marketing

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    B2B Engagement Marketing B2B Engagement Marketing Document Transcript

    • Silverpop From First Click to Lifetime Customer WHITE P A P E RB2B EngagementMarketing:It’s Not All AboutYou AnymoreEngagement Marketing Solutions
    • Silverpop Engagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER B2B ENGAGEMENT MARKETING: It’s not all about you anymore Introduction B 2B marketers, like their B2C colleagues, have diligently worked at perfecting the art of shaping customer and prospect perceptions. They have years of experience developing precisely targeted communications comprised of finely tuned content directed at the specific audiences they want to influence. Traditional brand marketing requires the engineering of messages that engender the right impressions about the company’s products in the marketplace. The traditional art of branding has grown and flourished for many years. But that’s all begun to change. Brands, whether B2B or B2C, are no longer defined by marketers. Instead, difficulty developing an online dialogue. Some marketers wrongly believe they are now characterized by the very people marketers hope to influence– that sales are ultimately driven by the sales force alone. But in today’s customers and prospects. But a new opportunity is emerging that will catapult interactive word, buyers are seeking as much information about new marketing to an even higher level of effectiveness and influence. This new products and services as they can obtain. They want to do business with world of marketing takes advantage of the Web 2.0 phenomenon by allowing companies that are willing to have conversations with them and form more marketers to participate in the dialogues and forums occurring in the market- of a partnership, rather than limit interaction to a selling opportunity. place that are undermining the traditional approaches to branding. Establishing customer loyalty and prospect respect through marketing This new world is called engagement marketing. programs that fully engage with the marketplace will become increasingly important to remain competitive. This white paper provides strategies and Engagement marketing is all about developing a two-way dialogue between tactics for B2B marketers to implement programs that create dialogue organizations and their markets. And B2B marketers, especially those closely with customers and prospects, build brand value and customer loyalty, and aligned with their sales forces, fully understand the vital importance of listen- help drive revenue. ing to the customer. B2B engagement marketers have imbedded in their DNA the need to not only sell but to listen, understand and react. They know that business buyers have just as many choices regarding, for example, the kind of printer ink cartridges they buy for their offices as do consumers. Business buyers just buy more. A whole lot more. And so busi- ness buyers of ink cartridges will seek out more information before making a purchase decision than will a typical consumer. Consequently, B2B market- ers are quite familiar with the growing expectations on the part of customers and prospects to be treated as a partner as opposed to a lead. B2B engagement marketing calls upon buyers to not only voice their opinions about the brand, but to actually help enhance it to participate in the brand’s evolution. Rather than looking at customers and prospects as passive receivers of messages, B2B engagement marketers believe that both the marketplace and the brand are best served when communication and understanding flow freely from one to the other. So when the office manager suggests to his or her vendor’s sales rep that ink cartridges should be packaged by the dozen, the manufacturer listens. Interestingly, in some cases organizations with a very strong sales focus struggle to implement engagement marketing. Some B2B companies that have traditionally relied upon a strong and aggressive sales force can havewww.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 © 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 2
    • Silverpop Engagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER Defining Engagement Marketing waters. And while a difficult economic environment is a good reason to start listening more closely to customers and prospects, the benefits of engagement While studies find that marketers recognize the importance of customer marketing will continue long after the recession has passed. engagement, the latest “Online Customer Engagement Report” from Econsultancy found that fewer than half of organizations actually have Because engagement marketing puts customers and organizations a defined customer engagement strategy in place.1 How to go about in partnership with each other, the improved ability to identify “brand establishing a deeper and more beneficial relationship with customers and ambassadors” among customers becomes a key outcome of such prospects eludes most organizations. initiatives. Engagement marketing creates cohesion and purpose between companies and their markets. By taking a customer-centric view, not Forrester Research defines online engagement as “the level of only toward marketing messaging and channels but to product features involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence an individual has with and enhancements, marketers are able to position their companies as a brand or company online over time.”2 To further define engagement customer advocates. And customers can be more easily transformed into marketing, it’s important to recognize that “targeting” is not “engagement.” brand advocates. Engagement happens when people are actually waiting to hear from you and find your communications personally relevant to them. And under the Obtaining testimonials and recommendations—a necessary element of current economic conditions, engagement marketing makes more sense many B2B sales situations—more easily becomes part of the conversation now than ever before for B2B marketers. when engagement marketing practices are put into place. In fact, when asked what value engagement marketing would bring to their Customers and prospects want two-way conversations with the companies organizations, 58 percent of marketers said the ability to turn customers they do business with, especially when considering entering into any type of into brand advocates—recommending the company’s products and long-term relationship. Business buyers want the ability to offer insights and services—was important to them.1 As it should be. observations about a company’s products or services, and to play a role in the development and enhancement of products they care about or that are impor- In a series of surveys, Forrester Research asked more than 7,000 North tant to their own company’s success. They also want the ability to control the American and European enterprise IT decision makers about the sources buying process, engaging in discussions when they feel the time is right. they turn to for information about products and services. More than eight out of 10 respondents said word-of-mouth recommendations are the most When you reach out and listen to customers and prospects in authentic important source when making buying decisions.2 ways, you build relationships that can have significant impact on your com- pany’s growth and longevity. Working from a clear understanding of custom- The Strategy of B2B Engagement Marketing ers’ needs and business goals drives engagement marketing strategy. The nuances of how you create an engagement marketing program In 2009, you can expect marketers—especially those promoting big-ticket that’s suited for your company, your offerings and business products, solutions and services—to place greater effort on your marketplace varies by the industry and building customer loyalty rather than acquiring new prospects. Managing the customer experience will be a focus of successful marketers. Attempts to remove the threat of client defection and revenue loss will be a key strategy employed by most companies. Six out of 10 customer relationship managers say that’s their top goal this year.3 Implementing programs that more fully enhance customer experiences with the company’s products and services or that streamline the buying process of new prospects will help keep companies moving forward through these turbulent and largely uncharted economicwww.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 © 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 3
    • Silverpop Engagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER offering. But the core strategy upon which you build brand awareness and loyalty and move prospects farther along in the sales cycle revolves around communication. Engagement marketing is not “push” marketing or “pull” marketing. It’s collaborative marketing. The messages emanating out the company are no more important than those coming from the marketplace. Ultimately, the goal of engagement marketing is to create relationships that benefit both customers and organizations. In the Econsultancy survey, 38 percent of marketers said the value of engagement marketing was found in increasing customer lifetime value. But nearly the same percentage (34 percent) said it was about increasing the value the company delivered to the customer. In fact, it is both. B2B marketers create a win-win scenario by continually supply- ing customers with information that helps them reach their own business goals. By giving audiences the chance to respond, you help build brand loyalty. Strong content and thought leadership aligned with the willingness to listen also helps build company credibility. With the wealth of today’s user-generated content, buyers don’t need your Web site or your product brochure. But they do need you to listen to them, and will reward you for doing so. Take the time to actually ask for input on the types of content the marketplace wants to receive. You may well find that it’s not just the CEO that people want to hear from, and that opportunity to gather information the topics you’ve selected for the monthly newsletter are falling flat. Don’t about interests and needs. assume you know what they want. Ask them. Econsultancy found that marketers believe email newsletters are most When you talk to clients, you may hear gripes, but it’s important that likely to help strengthen customer engagement, and nearly six out of 10 you hear them and respond rather than allowing them to fester in the (59 percent) plan to increase their spending in this area.1 marketplace. And bringing clients together with various members of your organization can create dialogues that enable the company to better But newsletters aren’t the only method engagement marketers use to understand user needs. reach customers and prospects in new and meaningful ways. Just under a third of respondents to Econsultancy’s survey (30 percent) said the In this regard, B2B marketers are somewhat more likely than their B2C development of microsites helps them keep Web-site visitors informed of colleagues to instigate real, two-way communications with their custom- new product offerings and services. ers and prospects. With often complex product and service offerings, plus long sales cycles and multiple decision makers, it’s incumbent upon B2B B2B marketers create strong, brand-building programs when they reach organizations to listen carefully to the marketplace and zero in on indi- out to decision makers through a diverse network of touch points. Use vidual needs. B2B marketers understand that the better they can provide email, RSS, landing pages, surveys, white papers, byline articles, newslet- information and value that resonates with prospects, the more likely the ters, direct mail, telesales and other marketing channels to communicate. company will be to close the deal. Spread the message wide, but keep it focused. Engagement Marketing Tactics That Work Monitor the marketplace. B2B marketers must keep tabs on prospect and customer behavior in far greater detail than B2C marketers. Often Web 2.0 tools have created both the need for, and solution to, engage- faced with varying combinations of decision makers and influencers ment marketing. Customers’ ability to easily communicate with each other, for each sale, B2B marketers must deliver a wider range of messaging access brand information and reach decisions independently of brand through a wider array of channels. And messages must be finely crafted marketing has never been stronger. But the very online tools custom- and tailored to the changing information needs of decision makers as they ers use to take control of the message can be shared with organizations move through the buying cycle. willing to meet customers halfway. Following are Web 2.0 tactics to help broaden customer outreach and input. To create messages that resonate, you must know what the topics are under discussion. Begin by reading blogs relevant to your industry. Use blog search Spread the load over multiple channels. Engagement marketing requires engines to capture posts about your company and your competitors. By much more than a strong pay-per-click program, and even more than a monitoring the conversations regarding your brand and others, you’ll better comprehensive email marketing plan. It’s not enough to bring people to your understand how your marketing messages affect customers and prospects. Web site. Once there, you must entice them to stay awhile, giving you the Or know when they don’t have much of an impact at all.www.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 © 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 4
    • Silverpop Engagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER In their book “Groundswell,” authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff safely Incorporate customer conversations into lead-scoring methodologies. point out that monitoring the marketplace helps what they call the “no- Talking to customers gives B2B marketers a jump on better communicating more-being-stupid” factor. 4 When customers complain in public forums, with prospects. Be sure the information you gather from customers flows it’s hard to deny product flaws or poor service. back into your lead-scoring process, and use it to influence both the infor- mation you provide and the future questions you ask of leads. Work the Web. B2B marketers need to improve their offerings of unique and branded online content. Surf through a random selection of B2B Web To show that you are listening, avoid requiring a prospect to provide the sites and you’ll find generic “marketing speak” content with a lack of focus same information multiple times. Instead, create a series of questions to on customer and prospect interests and needs. That’s a shame. ask that allow you to enhance your understanding of the needs and inter- ests of the lead. Enhance understanding of the customer and prospect by Business buyers turn to the Web. Forrester Research found that nearly engaging in questions, personalizing interactions and gaining insights that 84 percent of IT purchasers, for example, find information contained on a add to depth of understanding. vendor’s Web site important.2 Unfortunately for many prospects, their Web experience is less than rewarding. Maintain uniform messaging. When email campaigns or banner ads lead to a landing page or microsite that doesn’t match in content or B2B buyers don’t leave their consumer-oriented online experiences at tone, there’s a disconnect. When creating marketing campaigns, keep all home. They’re used to gathering content from fabulous and richly format- prospect touch points in mind. Messaging in emails, banner ads, direct ted B2C Web sites. Too often B2B sites don’t compare to their more flashy mail pieces, telesales scripts, blog postings and other channels should be counterparts, and they fail to engage. unified and support each other. An engaged Web site is one that speaks to individuals, not a wide swath Gather together a cross-function task force (not just marketers) and cre- of online users. Messaging should be customer-centric rather than ate a formal brand document. Identify the key aspects of your brand that marketing-centric. Know who you need to reach with your marketing should be presented to the marketplace. Then use the brand document to campaigns and make sure the content matches their expectations. You develop key points for all the various communications. can do this by creating customer personas to help guide the organization’s discussions. Build a community. B2B marketers know that both customers and pros- pects want to reach out to one another and compare notes about products Leverage Your Sales Team. Talk to the people that talk to your custom- and services that have captured their interest. Companies capitalize on ers and prospects every single day. Compensated and incented to know this desire by creating online communities where information and ideas the needs, interests, issues and concerns of customers and prospects, can be exchanged. By fostering dialogue among participants, B2B sales reps are an encyclopedia of customer data. They can provide B2B marketers are able to “listen in” to the needs and frustrations of the marketers with a wealth of marketplace information. marketplace. If you have a large and geographically dispersed sales force, send Don’t be afraid to let clients and prospects communicate with them monthly surveys that are easy to complete but provide you with a one another. They will with or without your assistance anyway. richer understanding of customer proclivities. Formalize the gathering of It’s better to be a part of the conversation than to have it go information from sales by integrating sales force data into your marketing along without you. automation platform. Of course, creating an active community while building Bottom line, don’t delay in using the sales force as a sounding board for new loyalty to your brand requires compelling content that promotions, changes in your marketing channels or discount offers. Obtain recognizes the customers’ passions and needs. Quality buy-in from sales before considering radically different approaches to your content will make the community “sticky” and keep marketing program. They know the market. Ask for their input. it bonded. Don’t just encourage input. Seek it out. B2B marketers must gather important information from prospects and customers throughout the sales and buying cycles. Gaining an in-depth understandingwww.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 © 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 5
    • Silverpop Engagement Marketing Solutions WHITE PAPER of customer pain points is an important component upon which to build Tells colleagues about your brand not only messaging, but product development as well. Keeping prospects • Forwards your emails to others involved and talking during multistage consideration processes prior to • Recommends your white papers as a source of market insight purchase helps move leads more smoothly through the pipeline. Recommends your brand to friends Send surveys. Make calls. Meet at conferences. Ask for feedback. • Agrees to be quoted about your products or services in press Drive relationships through data. A richly nuanced database of releases customer and prospect interactions is the fuel that drives engagement • Approves the use of his or her quote on your Web site marketing. In order to ensure marketing suitability, B2B companies must • Eagerly tells industry analysts about the terrific offerings your company not rely solely on sales force automation (SFA) or customer relationship provides management (CRM) applications to house actionable data. Instead, • Taking the time to measure customer engagement can provide a demand management platforms with sophisticated lead scoring and wealth of feedback to incorporate into your marketing program as nurturing capabilities should be utilized to manage and manipulate you move forward. customer and prospect data. Conclusion Forrester Research reports that successful B2B database marketing delivers three key benefits:5 Online engagement marketing serves customers, prospects and organizations, delivering tangible benefits to all. The more engaged a 1) Marketers are better able to reach customers and prospects with more company is with its marketplace, the better the chance prospects will timely and relevant messaging obtain the information needed to make the right decisions, and the more 2) They can better close the loop between sales and marketing with improved likely it is that customers will be reminded they made the right decision lead-management capabilities that detailed customer profiles deliver in doing business with you. The company gains stronger customer loyalty, 3) A strong B2B database improves the efficiency of marketing programs higher conversion rates and enhanced revenue. Because of the wide range of data sets available for many B2B marketers, Begin by setting realistic expectations about the effort and costs involved a strong analytics capability will help ensure content is relevant, timely and in orchestrating engagement marketing. Understand that once you distinctive for each customer or prospect. Lead management and marketing begin to actively reach out to your customers and prospects to obtain automation technologies can house customer and prospect data and make their opinions and gather their insights, you can’t easily shut the flow of it easily available to marketers to understand a person’s online, digital profile. communications off without damaging relationships. Don’t start such a program if you and your company aren’t committed and serious about Measuring Engagement engaging with the marketplace. Every marketing initiative should be implemented with a clear understand- ing of how the results will be measured and how those results impact New demand-generation and demand-management technologies have business goals. Yet when it comes to engagement marketing, too often the created the opportunity to reach out and touch individual customers suggested metrics get fuzzy, or worse, don’t enter into the planning at all. and prospects in unique ways. As budgets tighten and pressures rise to show value, lead-management solutions with solid marketing When calculating the level of involvement customers have with your automation capabilities can enable companies to achieve more customer brand, remember that it’s a sliding scale you’re looking at. Customers can engagement with less effort. By combining new technologies that support a become more or less engaged with the company and its products as time comprehensive lead-management program, and capturing data to expand goes by and interactions occur─or fail to. Key measurements of B2B cus- your knowledge of what makes your customers and prospects tick, you will tomer engagement follow the customer lifecycle. They include measuring generate a substantial return on investment from your marketing dollars. prospect activity in the following areas: Interest in the brand category FOOTNOTES: • Downloads a white paper 1. “Online Customer Engagement Report,” Econsultancy and cScape, • Attends a trade conference December 2008 • Registers for Webinars 2. “How To Take B2B Relationships From Indifferent To Engaged,” Researching your product offerings Forrester Research, January 2009 • Spends time on your Web site 3. “How To Avoid B2B Marketing Obsolescence,” Forrester Research, • Downloads a product brochure January 15, 2009 • Opens all or most of the emails you send and clicks links Makes a purchase 4. “Groundswell,” Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Harvard Business • Receives a proposal Press, 2008 • Short-term trial offer 5. “Database Marketing Fundamentals For B2B Marketers,” • Long-term commitment Forrester Research, June 2008www.silverpop.com/b2b 1-877-484-7704 © 2010 Copyright Silverpop. All rights reserved. The Silverpop logo is a registered trademark of Silverpop Systems Inc. 6