The Customer Journey: The Future of B2B Marketing?

5 Mar

It’s Not Just a Buzzword—It’s a Requirement

AA029354

When examining the future of B2B marketing, it’s impossible not to think about the impact of the customer journey on marketing strategy. It’s not just B2C companies that are making it a priority; it’s a frequent discussion with B2B clients I deal with every day. A recent whitepaper by LinkedIn® and Salesforce, “The State of Marketing Leadership: How Senior-Level Marketers are Redefining Succcess and Integrating the Customer Journey,” addresses this issue with details about the current state of the customer journey and where companies and marketing agencies should focus their efforts to be successful.

What I’ve seen with my clients is the same as what the whitepaper says—that the customer journey isn’t just a buzzword, it’s actually a requirement for companies who want to succeed. It’s more important than ever to deliver very personalized brand experiences to customers if you want to get true engagement out of them. But when push comes to shove, it’s easier for many B2B marketers to maintain the status quo than to meet this new challenge. My favorite part of the whitepaper that proves that—and this is a classic marketing mistake—is that despite the widespread agreement among B2B marketers that the concept of the customer journey is important, only 37% of B2B marketers surveyed have adopted the term into their business strategy. Huh?

So why is that? Because it’s a challenge and clear roadmaps aren’t necessarily laid out for adopters of the customer journey. The whitepaper goes on to say that marketers who integrated the customer journey into their strategy found the most effective tactics for success were tools like marketing analytics, CRM tools, and content management. Nonetheless, one of the largest obstacles expressed by them was that these tools and data systems were not always integrated with each other.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.42.06 AM

There are a few things that B2B marketers will need to do to enhance the customer journey experience:

  • Better integration and analysis of data systems
  • Faster and more thorough adoption of mobile marketing
  • Mapping the customer journey by designating important touchpoints
  • Testing new tools like marketing automation, videos, content marketing, guided selling, and landing pages

For more insights from the whitepaper, click here to download.

Share via email

5 Words You Should Include in Your Next Subject Line

27 Feb

…And 5 You’ll Want to “Miss”

GettyImages_187847542

Did you know there are programs out there to help you test your subject lines before you even send them? One of the best ones is Subject Line Gold by the Touchstone Platform, and Marketing Profs recently used it to help determine the five most effective (and ineffective) words in an email subject line.

Subject Line Gold analyzed these subject lines based on the results of 21 billion marketing emails sent by 2,500 brands spanning from sectors like B2B, Financial Services, Consumer Services, Telecom & Tech, and more.

In conducting their survey, they determined that the five words that most increase open rates (on average) are:

    1. Upgrade – open rate = 65.7%
    2. Just – open rate = 64.8%
    3. Content – open rate = 59.1%
    4. Go – open rate = 55.8%
    5. Wonderful – open rate = 55.1%

The most detrimental words to your open rate are:

    1. Miss – open rate = -4.6%
    2. deals! - open rate = -4.4%
    3. Groovy – open rate = -4.3%
    4. conditions – open rate = -4%
    5. Friday! - open rate = -4%

So if you think your email marketing is pretty groovy and you want to tell the world, you might want to think again.

Another insightful part of this study was the consideration of symbols for marketing emails. A lot of marketers might not even be using them, but the industry data suggests that they do have an impact—regardless of mixed consumer reactions. As it turns out, the snowman symbol is the best for subject lines, while the sun symbol is the third worst. So maybe sunshine doesn’t always beat the cold after all.

symbolsinemail

To check out more of Marketing Profs’ findings, click here for the full article.

*Disclosure: ER Marketing uses the Touchstone platform for subject line testing.
 

Share via email

Using Mobile in the Building Industry and Beyond

23 Feb

485228919

Tablets and smartphones enable people to text, send photos, use mobile apps and communicate faster then before. The key to utilizing mobile technology in the building industry is to make sure we have communication flowing; giving the right information to the right people so they make the best decisions on the job.

Some stats to consider:

  • Global smartphone use will reach 2 billion by 2015 (Bloomberg)
  • Across all industries, mobile traffic is increasing by 3.5 percent per month (Televox)
  • Tablet users access search 73.9 percent of the time, more than any other activity (eMarketer)
  • Local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are projected to exceed desktop searches (84 billion) for the fist time in 2015 (eMarketer)
  • 33% of contractors use a tablet ((The Equipment World 2014 Connectivity Study))
  • 46 percent of mobile users say they are unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing from their phone (Gomez)

There are many other components to consider when developing your mobile strategy. Working with a marketing firm with mobile expertise can help you to build the best approach.

Mobile Website:

In the past, we had to develop separate mobile sites for users accessing information via smartphones, but now, we develop these with responsive sites.  54% of contractors have internet enabled smartphones (The Equipment World 2014 Connectivity Study), yet many companies are still slow to develop a mobile experience.  At a minimum, have mobile friendly content and contact information.

Mobile Apps:

Develop an app with purpose, in order to help in achieving a specific goal. For example, apps are often developed for customers to access information when there is no cell signal or access to Wi-Fi.  Consider possible features.  Is this to show information and tips or actual mobile tools to help customers in the building industry? You must understand your audience and have a clear development and launch plan that includes app updates.  In addition, have a clear marketing strategy for getting your app downloaded and utilized. *could link to mobile app development article

168345052

Apps for builders and developers

Hundreds of mobile apps have been developed or are currently being developed with the building industry in mind.

 iTopoMaps and Gaia GPS: Used to evaluate potential properties and puts USGS topgraphic mapping capabilities in your hands at the site.

Construction Estimator: Helps estimate materials and cost of a project.

Planimeter and Geo Measure: Curious about how many square feet or acres are in a potential development parcel or house lot? Use this app to also estimate the amount of material needed for a job. (Such as a driveway or decking, based on area.)

Construction glossary: Construction Glossary provides a comprehensive list of more then 700+ construction and civil engineering terms with a short definition.

iRuler: Turns your iPhone or iPad into a measuring device.

Easy Measure: Use Easy Measure to determine approximate lot lines by measuring from your location to a landmark in the distance. The app can also measure the dimensions of a room or building footprints for existing homes.

Mobile Coupons:

Many companies are starting to offer mobile coupons. These are delivered to mobile devices through an app, mobile website, or text.  This has been B2C driven and more B2B companies are starting to follow suite.  If you’re a dealer or a distributor, consider using mobile coupons to help drive business to your locations.

Location Based Services:

Location based advertising in B2B works well for people attending trade shows. You can also target people working in certain locations with more specific offers and information.  50% of respondents of JiWires’ Mobile Audience Insights report indicated that they wanted to receive location-specific advertising such as mobile coupons.

Social Media and Mobile:

Contractors are using social media sites at an increasing rate. Many businesses use these channels for marketing purposes as well as keeping in touch with their community.

Most visited social media sites per The Equipment World 2014 Connectivity Study.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn

Recap:

Why consider mobile? The stats do not lie. This industry is growing.  You need to make sure your content is mobile friendly. Companies who take the next step to develop mobile tools such as mobile apps and push out content to social media sites will inevitably beat out their competition.

Share via email

Using LinkedIn to Market Your Business

17 Feb

Digital Image by Sean LockeDigital Planet Designwww.digitalplanetdesign.com

Social media use has grown over the years. We have mastered branding messages in 140 or less characters to gain followers on Twitter, built up our likes on Facebook and pins on Pinterest, all in an effort to reach the largest audience possible. However, sales enablement strategy tells us that quality is at times more important than quantity.

Since going live in 2002, LinkedIn has become a powerful tool to help nurture and close leads. Unfortunately, many marketing and sales teams do not know how to use LinkedIn properly.

Here are some tips for using LinkedIn to market your business and generate leads.

Profile:
The first step is to have a proper profile as well as a company LinkedIn page.
All images should be professional and high quality. Highlight expertise, link webpages/portfolios and include key contact information. Optimizing your profile with keywords will help prospects find you and your company.

Post Content and Questions:
Create posts about industry trends, find motivational quotes and ask general business questions. These types of posts help build a persona within your network.

Discussion Groups:
LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 discussion groups. You can easily find a discussion group in the industries you are targeting. This is a great place to start contributing to conversations. Keep your content helpful, relevant and reduce sales-pitch messaging.

Use LinkedIn Answers:
Search for questions that are within your knowledge base and offer solutions. This builds up credibility and trust. After you respond, ask the person to connect. This becomes a potential lead.

Profile Views:
You can easily see who visited your profile and then reach out to these contacts to see if you can help them. For a more meaningful connection, it is recommended to write a personalized invitation rather than using LinkedIn’s default messaging.

Search Features:
Search for connections by company and relationship; advanced functionality allows you to search job function and seniority level. LinkedIn search features show if you have any first or second-degree connections.

LinkedIn Ads:
Consider, for a small cost, running a targeted LinkedIn campaign. Be specific. The more detailed you are when setting your target audience, the more likely you will have higher engagement. This is a great way to direct people to specific content on your company’s website.

Whether you are a marketing professional, a business owner or a salesperson, LinkedIn has many advanced tools show people your expertise and create valuable leads.

Share via email

Mobile App Development Process: Part Two

11 Feb

157073292

In part one, we walked you through the beginning stages of mobile application development. Now, in the final stretch, the process will come to a successful end.

The Pretty Picture:
These are the skins for the mobile apps. At this stage, develop a high-resolution version of the designs from wireframes.

Lucid Chart is another tool that allows you to develop diagrams and has a full range of icons that you can use when developing buttons to screen swipes.

Testing, Testing and more Testing:
Now that the design is done and the backend is set up, you can start to test the functionality. A recommendation is to have Alpha and Beta test groups. The Alpha testing is always done in-house. Review for bugs, text issues, server and database problems. Once the Alpha test is complete, you can release for Beta testing. This would include the client and any other people designated in this group.

Framer and Solidify are test platforms to consider that allow you to import your design skins.

Revise and Release
Taking feedback from Alpha and Beta test groups, you can polish your app and anything in the backend. Each type of operating system has its own unique processes for testing in live environments. Apple iOS will require a platform such as Test Flight. Android can test its functionality in a live environment with no need for a specialized testing platform.

Marketing:
This is a step that usually is pushed aside and not thought out until the app is in the app store. You need to develop a marketing strategy to get the word out on your app and to attract users. Upon the key stakeholders approving the final app revision, you can begin the process to release your application to the public. Android has a very simple process that allows you to instantly add your app to the Google Play store. Apple iOS will review your app but is more complicated so, there is no set time frame for them to approve.

As you can see, understanding the key points to launching a mobile application will help you put together a plan to reach your objectives and stay on the right track throughout the process.

Share via email