B-to-b and b-to-c marketers think their markets are vastly different and the ways they reach customers and prospects couldn't be more dissimilar. And if they are, in fact, reaching out to their respective target audiences using widely different tactics, they're doing it all wrong.
There are some techniques successful b-to-c marketers use that can be tremendously profitable in b-to-b campaigns as well. For example, marketers must develop programs that communicate to prospects one at a time through highly relevant content.
You can begin to improve relevancy by using some of the advanced segmentation techniques. If you're not already, begin to segment messages based on recipient actions. For example, you might send customers who opened your e-mail and clicked through to download a white paper a message for a related webinar. For those who opened your initial e-mail but didn't click, send a survey requesting more information about their interests so you can improve relevancy going forward.
It's also important that b-to-b marketers use a more multichannel approach, much like their b-to-c peers. Savvy marketers recognize that since customers and prospects are moving in and out of different communication channels throughout their day, taking an integrated multichannel approach significantly increases the chance of getting your message in front of them.
More marketers are integrating marketing messages across both social and traditional channels. To do this successfully, you must involve customers and prospects in the process by inviting them to select channel preferences. And leverage each of your channels to bring subscribers to other communications vehicles. Use your Facebook profile page to capture e-mail addresses or Tweet about an exclusive SMS promotion. By reaching out across a variety of touch points, you achieve maximum impact.
While e-mail is the cornerstone of an engagement marketing campaign for b-to-b marketers, in a Web 2.0 world, multichannel campaigns enable you to expand your efforts in new and exciting ways. Whether it's using Web analytics, social media or an inbound marketing tool, digging into contact behavior beyond e-mail interactions allows you to improve your understanding of prospects and adjust and optimize future initiatives.
Hooking Web analytics into your b-to-b marketing program can help you monitor what prospects do on your site after they leave your e-mail. These actions can give you valuable information regarding a prospect's interests and location in the buying cycle that you can use to send targeted communications. And new technology also enables you to see what actions visitors took on your site before signing up for your e-mail program, webinar or field event. This form of Web tracking gives you a huge advantage because you can leverage this behavior to identify a new subscriber with specific interests or characteristics and can send highly relevant messages immediately following registration.
Given the challenging marketplace, b-to-b marketers need to employ every tool and tactic that might give them an edge. And that means taking a careful look at all the techniques marketers are using with success and modifying and employing them to your advantage. From dynamic content and Web analytics to social media monitoring and multichannel messaging, to A/B testing and real-time content, these tactics can help move you from listcentric prospect blasting to behaviorcentric campaigns that connect more strongly with prospects and move them through the buying cycle more effectively. By taking steps to achieve extraordinarily relevant, personalized communications, b-to-b marketers can drive new levels of loyalty and revenue.
Scott Voigt is VP-marketing for online marketing solutions company Silverpop (www.silverpop.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.