Prospects prefer to think they found you all by themselves, thank you. If you’re a tech marketer, you have to re-think the rules.
Still chasing after prospects using traditional B2B marketing tactics? Good luck with outbound product-pushing. It might have worked before, but it’s a brave new world, where customers prefer to feel as if they discovered you.
Inbound marketing is the name of the game today, and it follows a multifaceted approach. You disseminate helpful, relevant content. Prospects searching to validate their problem find it. Engagement begins. Thoughtful interaction ensues. The sale is made.
B2B inbound marketing has almost no similarities to one-way, outward “this is the solution you’re looking for” messaging. Here’s what’s rising to replace it.
1. Seeing is believing
The central components of tech marketing remain. Blogs, white papers, and infographics continue to be the steady diet for IT professionals and technology decision-makers.
But take a hard look over your shoulder, because objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Video is quickly becoming the preferred method to consume information used to make a purchase decision. According to HubSpot, when both video and text are available on the same page, 72% would rather use video to learn about a product or service.
With nearly three out of four of us professing a preference for video, it’s not difficult to swallow the idea that, on average, we each watch more than 90 minutes of online video content daily. One of the main reasons is our smartphone. Thanks to inexpensive production equipment, B2B videos can have entertainment value equal to the educational value.
2. In the palm of your hands
Watching video isn’t the only thing we prefer to do on mobile devices. Search – particularly voice search – is exploding. And we have a profusion of smart speakers led by Amazon’s Alexa making discoverable content exponentially more valuable as a way for prospects to become aware of products and services.
Mobile marketing has very little push associated with it. For inbound B2B, it’s more like a nudge. Consumers are okay with asynchronous SMS messages that allow them to choose the optimal time for further engagement. The biggest challenge for tech marketers is slicing and dicing what’s best to deliver on a small and interactive touchscreen, versus content that’s better consumed on a desktop screen.
3. It’s everywhere
The choice to take it with you and interact with inbound marketing on the fly means that marketing departments must record and interpret new data streams. It’s only by using data-driven marketing that we can truly understand the customer journey. This interpretation is transforming how we create content, and even the contents of that content.
Data – often in real-time – informs us of every step a prospect makes along the purchasing path. We’re recording what appeals to them, and we’re using algorithms and AI to actually build the next step of the inbound marketing journey as the prospect gets ready to take it.
Why should your targeted IT professional prospect not arrive at a personalized landing page that assembles and reiterates the content which elicited their highest levels of engagement?
4. The double-edged sword
Prospects don’t want it both ways, even though it might seem so. Their email spam filters are ramped up to be as sensitive as a hair trigger, and yet they grow more insistent on highly customized online experiences – especially on their mobile devices. And privacy issues truly are the bane of any tech marketer who’s attempting to engage in successful inbound B2B marketing.
Maybe it was a bit simpler when you went for the conversion and then ran for the goal line using the sheer muscle of email marketing to make the sale. This was the B2B staple. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way anymore.
Today, it’s a delicate digital dance. Multiple gentle touchpoints are set along the sales funnel. They may seem totally unrelated, yet they are precisely timed and humming to a four-part harmony.
Prospects are searching, but they don’t necessarily wish to be pursued. And it doesn’t matter whether the product is a scarf or a server farm: They prefer to think they found you all by themselves, thank you.
If you’re a tech marketer, you have to re-think the rules. You may be the hunter, but your objective is to become the game.