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OUR BLOG

2018 is the year to leave the B2B marketing crack (mass marketing spam) behind

Posted by Jon Clarke on Thu, Nov 16, 2017

Don’t worry, I’m not about to bore you with yet another annual pilgrimage to the end of year ‘Top strategies for next year!’ blog. However, 2018 does feel like it’s going to be a pivotal year. And here’s why:

  1. We should all know by now, unless you’ve just crawled out from under a huge rock, that new data privacy laws are due in May 2018.

Despite the astonishing amount of fake news on the topic, which has resulted in, at best, confusion and, at worst, fearmongering, our world is going to change to some degree and we need a plan to ensure we follow best practice around our customer data.

Now I’m not a lawyer, but in my opinion, which has been formed by speaking with many subject matter experts, including specialist media law firms and the ICO, the main objectives of GDPR and the tightening of the e-privacy laws are twofold;

Firstly, to protect our individual rights with our personal identifiable information, stored across the diverse digital world and secondly, to stop the mass marketing crack many B2B (and B2C) marketers have been hooked on to for many years!

You need a plan to keep your customer data safe, clean and up-to-date at all times. It’ll no longer be acceptable to not have any proof that you comply with these new regulations around data privacy and security.

I’m reliably informed that these new regulations want us to communicate with our customers and future customers in a relevant, timely and helpful way and stop drowning people with white noise. This means stop spamming people with unwanted marketing and sales messages. Those marketers that find protection from the fragile shield of doing stuff to feel productive will soon be found out.

Instead, consider implementing new ways to capture customer behaviours and use that to fuel an Account-Based Marketing approach. This will not only help you to demonstrate compliance, but it should also help you generate better results for less effort. What’s not to like?

  1. If you’re considering setting yourself some New Year’s resolutions in 2018, I urge you not to deny the fact that the way people in organisations make buying decisions has changed forever.

So, unless you’re in a constant state of denial with the mountains of evidence around you to support this notion, your marketing strategy should consider how insight into relevant customer buying behaviours, can and should influence how you target, communicate and engage with your audiences.

A simple formula I use to help determine how to target an audience and personalise my messaging is as follows:

Customer behaviour (web search x website visits x activity on website) + relevance to me (value I can offer) + personalised messaging based upon behaviour + relevance + timing = more leads/sales for less effort + happier customers

I’ve over-simplified this concept, but I hope you get where I’m going with it.

  1. We’re now hurtling towards the ‘digital economy’ whatever that means?!

I like to think it means that people still buy from people, but the way they research about solutions, products and future suppliers means they’re more likely to use online sources through web search to useful apps and communities. You may not agree with this opinion, but I suspect at the very least, your customers will increasingly find out about events, products and your competitors through some form of digital channel and stay connected using online resources. Our ever-connected world means there’s a wealth of opportunity going begging, if only we can tap into this world of online behaviour.

According to the 2017 Gartner CMO Strategy Survey, customer experience and customer retention and growth will be the most vital strategies to support marketing outcomes over the next 18 months. As a result, marketers are exploring technologies that can unify and augment customer data to engage with audiences across a myriad of touchpoints in an informed and consistent manner. Key takeaways from the Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising, 2017 enable marketers to prioritise marketing technology investments that support data-enriched customer experiences.

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Explained in a slightly more succinct way:

 “Marketers pursuing tailored, real-time engagement require a strong, flexible data foundation that increasingly involves transformative applications of artificial intelligence (AI),” says Bryan Yeager, research director, Gartner for Marketers.

So, using my best Alan Partridge-style metaphor, I’m going to borrow a line from one of my kid’s favourite artists, Dizziee Rascal, we all need to ‘fix up and look sharp’ in 2018!

 

Posted on Thu, Nov 16, 2017