What are some of the hot trends in b-to-b marketing and online advertising?
Rousseau: Validation of story and analytics. Marketers are having a hard time validating their b-to-b or technology stories to enterprise. The value proposition for marketers has become very complex because they're doing a lot of partner marketing with their solutions, so one trend is “multiple messaging” among marketers. The other is analytics and nurturing: how demand and lead-gen programs can lower marketers' costs at the bottom of their sales funnel so they can sell more efficiently to their buyers.
What are some of the more unusual ways marketers can reach their audience?
Rousseau: Right now it's probably outbound social media or community programs. The hottest thing in the market is community and outreach programs—how to reach influential authors on the Internet who [may] have positive things to say about a brand. It's what's being called “disruptive marketing budget.” CMOs are looking for disruptive ways to break through the clutter and reach these real authors and bloggers who can influence their brand sentiment. Companies are trying to figure out how to put their corporate bloggers out into the Internet to do word-of-mouth-type, two-way conversational marketing. Corporate bloggers are being told, “Your job is to get out into the Internet and talk about their product [or service] from a thought leadership or technical aspect. Get out there and get these two-way conversations going.”
What's the best way to use online advertising as part of an integrated marketing plan?
Rousseau: Banner advertising is only at about 5% to 7% growth in the industry. It's slowing down for marketers. So right now they're making their banner ads more enriched and putting more of an offer with the right asset exchange. An asset can be a white paper, tech brief, case study—anything that helps a buyer learn more about what your product is. Digital 2.0 assets are the most critical thing in integrated marketing today. Digital 2.0 assets can be a video or a podcast—anything that can tell a great story because [buyers] have become so self- selective. Self-selection of the buyer is at an all-time high, and that's a massive problem for the b-to-b marketer. Marketers have lost complete control of the way b-to-b buyers are going to source their information to make a quick and smart decision. You have to make sure the story or offer is validated and is a benefit statement to the buyer. You have to nail the story, put it in multiple digital assets and make sure you're not losing the story as you go to multiple platforms to reach the buyer. That's another challenge to marketers—they want help communicating in the proper way with Web programs, so a four-minute video is very different than a business story on how something is going to increase productivity. Marketers have a real talent challenge customizing content with the right message and then taking the last 10 % and saying, “Why buy from me?” M