Remember when marketing was done through human interactions? It seems like it was ages ago. Although the emergence of digital has changed our methods, there is one fundamental rule that has not changed: people buy from people they like and trust.
Unfortunately, that rule has been ignored for quite some time. With the advances in technology and the CRM, our focus has become tech-first instead of people-first, getting more and more depersonalized.
So, how do we go beyond one-to-one marketing and create an experience in the moment that each unique individual is interacting with us? It’s not as hard as you may think, but fixing it requires us to look at the problem first.
Marketing Automation’s Downfall
Too much of anything is a bad thing. As marketers, we love to consume ourselves with the latest and greatest marketing strategies and technologies. We post content, we automate content, we email, we automate email, and we do this over and over until we oversaturate the market. Consumers get inundated with too much content and irrelevant communications and grow more and more annoyed. Ultimately, we’re forced to come up with the next cutting-edge strategy, and alas, the cycle begins all over again.
Marketing automation is one of the biggest offenders, but also a necessary component to marketing in this digital age. We need marketing automation and the efficiency that comes along with it. It’s true that it helps B2B marketers prioritize and execute marketing tasks in a more streamlined way; however, it doesn’t come without a couple downfalls:
1. You may be marketing to a person that is simply not interested.
Your marketing team could be spending valuable time and money on a person or account that is not interested in what you’re sharing. Somehow these people made it to your pipeline—maybe it’s a student downloading your eBook for research, maybe they’re a competitor snooping around. Either way, you now believe they are in your buyer’s journey, and you’re trying to nurture them down a path to purchase they’re not interested in.
2. You could be pushing your best targets away.
The problem with not carefully automating your marketing is that you risk spamming your potential customer. Even if you don’t mean to, if you “set and forget” your automation, you run the risk of coming off as spammy and a bot. Please, don’t be a bot.
So, how do we fix this?
Bring a Human, One-To-The-Moment Experience to B2B Marketing
We believe that the CRM is in the midst of the most significant transition since its creation. It has the ability to personalize interactions with customers and foster greater customer relationships if used correctly.
How we accomplish this:
1. Vet individuals and their interactions with your brand.
You need to separate the people that may actually be interested in what you have to offer from the people who are just snooping around. Platforms like Lead Forensics can help you identify these individuals and accounts. Lead Forensics gives us the ability to see which pages specific organizations are visiting, how much time they’re spending, and if they’re engaging with our content—behavioral data points that help us determine if they sit somewhere in our buyer’s journey.
For example, due to the nature of our company, we get a lot of hits from .edu sites and competitor sites. We can decipher by their behavior on our site if they may be interested in our services, or if they’re just interested in gathering info for their own purposes. This allows us to communicate meaningfully with those people that we can help; and just as importantly, it allows us to let the students and competitors browse on their own, reserving our marketing resources.
2. Send highly-targeted and specific content to a narrowed audience
“To stand out from the swell, we must quietly say only what is important. Briefly and with care.” – Brian Solis
Nearly 5 billion pieces of content are published every single day. With all this content floating around, people only want to receive information that is highly customized to their needs. In fact, a recent study by Kapost reported that up to $958 million is “wasted” on content that doesn’t cut through the noise.
Vetting individuals that interact with your brand first will give you an idea of what type of services and/or content they are likely to be interested in. If someone begins to visit the site frequently, displays intent on which type of services they’re interested in and spends time engaging with our site, we serve up content that matches their behavior. Essentially, they’re walking into our store, shopping around, and we’re asking them “how may I help you?”
3. Be Human
Years ago, owners of a general store would remember details about each customer and his or her preferences. Customers felt listened to, and in return, the business earned customers’ trust. More often today, marketers segment customers into groups rather than treating them as individuals. The disadvantage of bucketing customers is straight forward: segmenting customers into groups based solely upon demographic characteristics or interests often causes you to miss out on consumers that fall outside of these segments. If you’re practicing one-to-one, in the moment marketing, you’re treating the customer as a segment of one. Personal connections and conversations with customers will lead to conversions and advancement in each individual’s buyer’s journey.
We are all also operating in a time full of marketing jargon and buzzwords. Confusing words like “clickability” and “snackable content” are thrown around and used when talking to clients. Content isn’t edible, so let’s not call it a snack, and let’s go back to using lingo our clients will understand.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, good marketing essentials are the same. We are all emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection. Maybe it’s time to take another look at your marketing strategy—and put some human back into it?