Insight50: Ask Your Questions on Optimisation in B2B Marketing

During this month’s Insight50 webinar, we’ll discuss how B2B marketers should be approaching optimisation. Sign up for the session to get all your questions answered.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been covering the topic of optimisation in B2B marketing on the ON24 blog.

Ahead of our panel session where you’ll have the chance to ask all of your questions, we’ve put together a few points to think about before you sign up to the session.

Data should make optimisation in B2B marketing easier

As covered in ON24’s e-book on The Engagement Imperative, B2B marketers have access to so much more data than they used to. Using digital technologies, any marketer with the right skills, tools and resources can reach and connect with any buyer on the planet. And by measuring this performance, it should be easier to set benchmarks that any optimisation goal can be aimed towards.

Within webinars, for example, there are a whole host of metrics that can be measured to determine success. In addition, you can use data from other marketers to gauge your own performance, such as the figures in our Webinar Benchmarks Report.

But B2B buying has become more complex

Digital technology has made things easier for the buyer too. During any research phase, they can access far more information than was previously available – and the amount of that information keeps growing over time.

However, this creates a problem for the B2B marketer as buyers don’t take linear journeys. They choose how they want to engage and on what terms. But this makes identifying what areas to optimise a lot harder to determine.

This also gets even more complicated when one looks at a buyer journey from an account-based marketing perspective, as each person influencing the purchase takes their own journey.

So where should marketers focus their optimisation efforts?

Ultimately, where you choose to start with optimisation is down to you. By assessing your own performance, you can identify where you might be able to make the biggest changes going forward.

That being said, remember to keep the entire B2B customer journey in mind. Just because your team’s targets might be focused at a particular stage, this is arbitrary in the minds of your target customer. A narrow focus should even lead to a sub-par performance if it creates friction or confusion at a later stage.

So what are your optimisation challenges? Where is your team focusing its efforts? Sign up to the Insight50 session on “How Should B2B Marketers Approach Optimisation?” to share your stories and ask your questions.

What Are the Challenges of International Marketing?

Our upcoming Insight50 session will be exploring how marketers can simplify their international marketing. Sign up for the session to get your questions answered, with expert speakers including Michael Meinhardt, CEO and Founder at Cloudwords, Peter Bell, Marketing Director at Marketo, and Paula Morris, Senior Director and Founder at Pi Marketing.

Digital technology opens up a literal world of opportunity when it comes to B2B marketing. Teams no longer need to stick to targeting companies that are based close enough for a face-to-face meeting, as both identifying and connecting with prospects can be done from anywhere with an internet connection.

But scaling efforts to reach a global market isn’t as straightforward as it might sound, as there are a whole host of potential challenges that can get in the way.

Ahead of the webinar, we’ve put together a few thoughts to consider before you run your campaigns internationally.

Engagement differs across markets

An obvious challenge when marketing internationally is language. Your target audience may not speak the same language as you so translations need to be consistent and accurate and your content needs to resonate.

But it’s more than language. There will be local challenges for each target audience that are different and could present a challenge. You will want to be conscientious about cultural factors may exist and, depending on the area you are dealing with, the regulatory and competitive landscape may vary. Another thing to keep in mind is campaign performance can also vary significantly.

Aligning efforts need effective coordination

Even in a single market, it can be easy to step on a colleague’s toes when it comes to running campaigns. It can be even more complicated when you’re dealing with global and regional teams that may not interact regularly and may have some crossover of accounts.

Communication is really the key here. To avoid crossing streams and getting in each others’ way, it’s important for the different teams to establish clear ownership of accounts and establish targeting rules. Through effective and ongoing communication, regional and global marketing teams can actually help instead of hinder each other.

Small teams can struggle to be heard and win resources

Depending on your organization’s structure, local teams may find it hard to get the resources and buy-in they need if they require approval from head office. Other factors such as language and vastly different time zones can exacerbate the problem making smaller teams feel stranded out there on their own.

Technology can help

The good news is that technology can assist with all these challenges and others.

Language barriers can be overcome with translation technology, which has improved considerably in recent years. A centralised and well-maintained marketing technology stack (including CRM and marketing automation) can avoid different teams getting in each others’ way or approaching the same targets. In addition, collaboration software such as Slack can narrow the gap between teams within the organisation as well as bring smaller groups into the loop with the head office.

Furthermore, technology can also help simplify your efforts, which can help you reach more markets even when resources are limited.

So while there may be challenges to marketing internationally, these will always be outweighed by the opportunities.

To find out more and ask your questions, make sure to sign up to our Insight50 webinar on Simplifying International Marketing.

What are the Barriers to Human-to-Human Marketing at Scale?

Our upcoming Insight50 session will be exploring how marketers can humanize the digital marketing experience. Sign up for the session to get your questions answered, with expert speakers including Leanne Chescoe of Demandbase, Joel Harrison of B2B Marketing, and Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing.

We’ve all received those emails and LinkedIn messages that request “10 minutes of our time”. Even though they use our first name and appear to come from someone’s personal email address, they are clearly automated – and annoying.

But against tough targets – and equipped with technology that makes it easier than ever before to reach buyers at scale – it can be easy to fall into a trap where attempts at building a human connection simply fall flat.

So why is the case and what can be done about it? Ahead of the webinar, we have put together a few thoughts.

Poor quality data leads to poor quality connections

If the data is wrong, chances are that any attempt to market to individuals will also be wrong.

When creating campaigns, it’s all too easy to quickly build or use a list that hasn’t had enough thought or checking behind it. Obvious examples would be:

  • Failing to exclude existing customers or competitors from new business lists.
  • Bought data that is old and hasn’t been cleansed, appended or processed.
  • Leads that are missing information on other communications received – for example, where sales activity hasn’t fed through to a marketing automation system, meaning active prospects get new outreach.

Beyond the above, there is also the chance that engagement data – or perhaps disengagement data – hasn’t been applied effectively.

If a prospect hasn’t engaged with any marketing for several months, is your offer compelling enough for them to do so now? And likewise, if someone has been actively researching solutions, what if that engagement hasn’t been connected to a lead score and targeted outreach?

All of the above can lead to both poorly-targeted marketing and missed opportunities to build connections.

Linear buying stages don’t reflect the complexity of the customer journey

Even though the funnel is used as the foundation for much of B2B marketing, in reality, it doesn’t reflect the way that people buy.

Countless scenarios mean that it is very challenging to build automated campaigns to fit every eventuality. As such, the law of diminishing returns will come into play, meaning that there will be a point at which adding further granularity to a marketing program will not make commercial sense.

At this point, growth can only come from approaching people as individuals – which places a greater emphasis on identifying who those individuals are.

Automated marketing is yet to pass the Turing Test

The reality is that despite advances in artificial intelligence, instances where machines genuinely convince people that they are human are very rare.

And while there are some simple examples where computers have helped (such as Google Assistant being able to book appointments by phone), applying this to complex sales is still a long way off.

In the meantime, marketers might be better off if instead of using technology that pretends to be human, they use technology to prove they are human.

Obviously, webinars are one way of doing that, but there are many others. Email can be used to send messages that carefully address known (rather than assumed) needs. Dynamic creative can be used to drive prospects to account-specific landing pages that have been crafted individually. Social engagement through personal accounts can open up individual conversations.

When you compare this to marketing in the pre-digital era, it’s clear that marketing at scale can be human – as long as there is actually a human behind it.

To find out more and ask your questions, make sure to sign up to our Insight50 webinar on Humanising the Digital Experience.

What Is Topical Marketing and How can It Drive Engagement?

Our upcoming Insight50 session will be exploring the issue of topical marketing – and in particular, using Brexit as a case study for how to tie your message to key events. Sign up for the session to get your questions answered, with expert speakers including Leanne Chescoe of Demandbase, Joel Harrison of B2B Marketing, and Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing.

Great marketing is delivered to the right person, at the right place, at the right time. That’s something all marketers learn early in their career. But capturing attention never easy.

However, when a theme is on your buyer’s mind, you can get them to listen by aligning your message with their thought process. And while customer journey maps help map out the questions they will likely be asking, that’s not everything that they will be thinking of on a given day.

Topical marketing is one way of getting that alignment between what’s on their mind and what you can offer.

So what is topical marketing?

We’ll discuss more of this on the session, but essentially it’s talking about a particular theme happening at a particular point in time.

While news cycles provide a steady feed of hooks on which to hang your message, topical marketing doesn’t have to be limited to that. Some examples include:

  • Particular events, such as trade conferences and summits
  • Holidays
  • Deadlines for regulatory change or compliance
  • Major market events, such as M&A, IPOs or updates from central banks and finance bodies
  • For sectors with a fixed season (such as higher-education or even sports and fashion), key calendar dates
  • Even editorial calendars for major publications within your industry

How can topical marketing drive engagement?

If a particular theme will be on the minds of your target audience, creating content and campaigns based on this theme can help satisfy their need for information when it’s top of mind.

Another benefit of topical marketing is how it can potentially fit into a variety of time scales. Some events will be planned or known about for years in advance, allowing you to establish a share of voice in that space.

For topics that emerge rapidly, a fast approach to getting a message out can help you cut above the slower-moving competition when it’s otherwise hard to stand out.

How can webinars help with topical marketing?

A key benefit of webinars versus other content is that they allow you to have two-way communication with your audience. As such, they can be used at any stage of your topical marketing campaigns.

For early-stage topical campaigns, webinars can help you test the water and understand what questions matter to your prospects. Panels and Q&A sessions can elicit this feedback. Determining what assets get the most engagement can also help you figure out what’s working.

Later on, webinars centered around taking direct action can bring your prospects closer to conversion. For example, if one of your topics involved an upcoming regulatory change, an engaging session that answers questions from specific customers can be converted into sales conversations and follow-ups. Demo sessions can lead on strong calls-to-action to take out a trial, while those aimed at existing customers can look to increase retention or upsell activity.

To find out more, make sure to sign up to our topical marketing webinar.

Webinar World 2019: Getting to Marketing Innovation with Cheri Keith and Joel Harrison

The rapid climb in social media spend, the advent of account-based marketing and the need to design everything for mobile — all of these changes to marketing took place within the past ten years. And while it feels like marketers are just starting to get a feel for the digital ground underneath their feet, the reality is that rapid change is going to keep coming.

Marketing’s evolution has gone into hyperdrive thanks to advances in technology, but good tech isn’t the only factor for innovation. Today’s game-changing marketers aren’t the ones adopting new technologies, but the ones who use tried and true marketing tactics to drive innovation.

To help marketers identify the elements of innovation, Joe Hyland, CMO at ON24, Cheri Keith, SiriusDecisions Senior Research Analyst and Joel Harrison, B2B Marketing Founder and Editor-in-Chief, will down together at Webinar World 2019 and discuss the differences between hype and reality and what makes for an innovative marketer.

Join us on Wednesday, March 13 at 9 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, California to take part in this panel discussion and learn the elements of innovation.

Three Key Questions – and Answers – From Our Latest Lead Gen Webinar

Last week ON24 ran its latest Insight50 session on lead generation and pipeline wins – where we provide fellow Webinerds with 50 minutes of expert insight and answer the questions that are important to you.

The below is just a brief wrap up of insight from Isabel Montesdeoca at SiriusDecisions, Ryan Grable at Genesys – and of course, you the viewers! If you didn’t manage to see it, view it on-demand here.

The first month of the year is the time when targets are set, budgets are confirmed and everyone starts thinking about the year ahead.

For B2B marketers, that often comes down to figuring out how leads are going to be generated and pipeline built up. But given the constant change in the market, the approach from last year won’t necessarily work going forward.

So what should marketers focus on? Below are a few insights from our most recent session.

What’s critical for lead generation and pipeline in 2019?

In the first question for the session, Isabel Montesdeoca from SiriusDecisions stressed the fact that marketers now need “better focus and clarity on who you are targeting.”

Previously, lead generation efforts looked to cast a wide net, prioritizing quantity over quality in an attempt to keep up with the pressure to drive results – “a constant daily struggle that both marketing and sales need to deal with.”

But as the noise gets louder and inboxes get more crowded, getting through means doing your homework up front. This enables targeted messaging and helps to build a better understanding of the group buying dynamics. As Isabel added:

“If we’re not starting to look for and find those connections there as well, we’re missing part of the puzzle.”

Ryan Grable came back to some key marketing fundamentals.

“It’s about engaging with people – the right people, at the right time, through the right channel.”

Grable also stressed the importance of making sure that marketers customize their approach in the way prospects want:

“It’s not just about allowing email marketing to social to be the only types of channels you use. Use the channels that matter most to the people you want to engage with, so you can excite and engage their passion to learn more about your organization or more about your offer that you’re providing.”

How should marketers move from lead quality to lead quantity?

Many marketers now seem to be moving towards a model that emphasizes the quality of the engagement over the quantity of their leads.

For those attending live, the results of the poll showed that more than half described their organizations as either intermediate, advanced or cutting edge in their approach to lead generation and pipeline.

This is a picture recognized at SiriusDecisions. But there is a danger in falling back. So how can marketers either get away from the quantity trap – or stay ahead?

According to Isabel, the next steps involve both nurturing and bringing in other members of the buying group, both of which can affect overall conversion rates and how successful we are in getting to the revenue goal.

Both of these factors mean better leads and nurturing – not just filling up the top of the funnel.

For Ryan, it’s about making sure your organization doesn’t stay still – regardless of the level of maturity:

“No matter where you are in your journey, continuous improvement and growth in lead generation is good… I really see companies looking at the trust, recognizing quality over quantity, and gleaning from that the big shift of just getting the volume of leads, into the getting the right leads.”

How does data privacy impact lead generation efforts?

Data privacy regulations such as GDPR have caused marketers to rethink how they go about generating leads. But there’s also a business case – prospects that have given consent are more likely to buy.

Ryan summed up how they viewed this at Genesys:

“The reality is, if a person does not want to engage with you, or hear from you, what value does that bring to your organization? But if you go deeper into building trust, that I think is critical to an organization’s success. It enables you to move, engage and convert that account through the journey.”

Isabel added that marketing shouldn’t simply be viewed through the lens of what’s legal and what isn’t – but rather, how you treat your prospect:

“First of all, we need to be compliant, which means we need to understand and respect people’s need for privacy… but we need to understand it’s more than just respecting actual physical data. It’s about respecting a prospect’s desire for when to talk to us, when not to talk to us, how they want to engage, how relevant is every conversation, showing respect for our prospect’s time.”

On this note, technology can act as an enabler of this respect.

“Without some of the advances that technology is going to enable us to do, we probably won’t be able to get where we’re going… it starts with GDPR, it starts from being compliant and respectful, but then it will go into using things such as artificial intelligence to help us.”

Hear more on our Insight50 session

The quotes above are just a small sample of what was discussed and answered on January’s Insight50 session. Make sure to register to watch on-demand and strengthen your pipeline for the coming year.

How can you get more engagement from your webinars? Learn the tips, tricks and tactics that make webinars work at Webinar World 2019.

Three Lead Gen and Pipeline Trends To Look Out For in 2019

Next week, ON24 will run its latest Insight50 session – where we provide you with 50 minutes of expert insight and answer the questions that are important to you.

As it’s the start of the year, January’s session will focus on lead generation and pipeline success and feature experts from SiriusDecisions, Oracle and Genesys, so register for the session here.

2018 was a busy year for marketers and the ON24 team. Privacy regulations such as GDPR have changed the way we have to market – for the better – and the number of technology solutions on the market has continued to soar.

That being said, businesses still have to keep their eyes firmly on generating revenue, which means optimising their lead generation efforts and strengthening their pipeline. So what do we think will be important in the months to come? Here are a few trends we’ve seen emerge.

Lead generation focuses on quality over quantity

Marketers have continued to list lead generation and traffic as one of their top priorities, with 63% citing it as such in a recent HubSpot study.

But buyers are increasingly switching off from automated spam and endless emails asking for a “15-minute call”.

On top of that, privacy regulations means that only engaged prospects that have given consent for marketing should be the ones receiving communications. The good news for marketers is that these are the prospects that will be more likely to convert.

Account-based approaches become more important as buying decisions become more complex

Research from CEB has shown that the average number of people involved in buying decision has grown from an average of 5.4 people to 6.8 in just the space of two years.

Increasingly, this means that generating opportunities requires more than just one contact. Instead, marketing will have to generate multiple leads and engagement from a single account in order to support consensus-driven buying.

Predictive insights and artificial intelligence take a role across the entire pipeline

It’s always been best practice for marketing and sales to work closely together, but new technologies will place an increased emphasis on such an approach.

Signals captured from marketing automation will proactively inform sales reps into what messages might resonate with their active opportunities. Cognitive technology will provide marketers with the ability to send new communications to prospects while they are researching solutions, while buyers have the most relevant information surfaced automatically.

What will you be doing for lead generation and pipeline success in 2019?

Come and ask our experts your questions and share your views at the next Insight50 webinar on January 30. We would love to hear your views.