A version of this article was originally published on MarketingLand.
Inertia. Momentum. Mojo.
We try to build and capitalize on these powerful forces every day to change and accelerate the initiatives that matter. Individuals thrive on it, teams crave it, markets rely on it, businesses require it, and CMOs are demanding it…again.
B2B marketing has been notorious for having a stop-start-stop-start mentality. For the last decade, the B2B world has been lead-centric and therefore, we’ve been programmed to think in terms of “campaigns.” B2B marketers are quick to launch a new program or react to the next thing sales asks for, making it difficult to gain customer momentum and scale revenue. CMOs have felt the pain and more are migrating to an always-on marketing effort.
Say ‘hello again’ to always-on marketing
Why now? Today, B2B marketing and sales teams are increasingly on the hook to deliver BOTH:
- revenue generated from target accounts with multiple decision makers that require personalized, sustained touch to engage and win business AND
- well-timed outreach to expand existing customer revenue and relationships.
All this needs to be on our customers’ terms and timing. This reality requires a persistent motion, one built around our customers and markets, not around our company agenda or timeline. Always-on marketing is generally described as having a consistent presence, message and communications targeted to key audiences, markets, and accounts. Engagement timing is essential and hard to deliver when you’re starting and stopping. This is not to say, “set it and forget it.” Markets are way too dynamic and performance optimization is essential to drive and maximize outcomes. This may seem like a very basic concept in communications, but it has become a lost discipline for many B2B teams.
Here are few of the always-on plays CMOs and revenue drivers are putting in the market to accelerate momentum and results. They include brand relevancy at every stage of the customer lifecycle, sustained and timed communications with target prospects and your best customers, and high-value story building to create and dominate markets.
Invest in building sustained brand relevancy
Brand building is not just about awareness. Brand has an impact at every stage of the customer lifecycle impacts customer trust, confidence, price/value, viability and customer advocacy, to name a few. The challenge is B2B marketing departments have become lead machines. This has unintentionally masked, possibly damaged our brands’ relevancy and potential. CXOs and B2B marketing teams are waking up to the neglect and are deploying strategies to keep a sustained brand effort in market. This is not a traditional flighted brand or ad campaign. Rather, this requires integrating your brand into every touch, program, and experience.
We see display ad campaigns reimagined into always-on digital nurture communications across in-market accounts and the buying committee personas. Gone are the days of brand or demand ads, but rather, branded contextual messages and content delivered across channels, based on your prospects’ needs and where their organization is on their customer journey. It also includes branded experience and personal touch when a recognized visitor comes to your web site or makes an inquiry. This means not coming at them with a pushy offer, cumbersome form or spam email at every outreach, but creating a unique experience and branded value message.
Persistently target account communications, engagement, and conversion
If you want to win the minds, hearts, and wallets of your best prospects and customers, you can’t continuously stop and start. You need to stay in front of them – on their terms – delivering to their needs.
Companies make decisions and buy on their timeline, not yours. And the various members of the buying committee may appear at different times. It’s marketing’s job – working in unison with sales and customer success – to orchestrate this effort and ensure your business is visible with the right message, at the right time. This means communications and engagement efforts must be sustained, targeted and optimized all the time, not on your business quarter, when your budget gets approved, or when your team can get creative into market. It’s “GO TIME,” all the time.
This has never been more important as B2B teams shift to account-based strategies. The reliance on hitting revenue goals with a target set of accounts requires this persistent precision.
Orchestrate storytelling to differentiate your brand and offerings
We live in an incredible time of innovation and noise level. Entire industries are getting disrupted. Companies of all sizes can compete for customers like never before, making it hard to stand out in a crowded and confusing marketplace. Your brand must be relevant and differentiated.
When done correctly, an always-on approach has the power to paint a clear picture of a better, smarter way and allows you to show you’re the right company/product/solution/approach. Always-on consistency shows you’re a player and you’re here to stay. This also allows you to communicate what you stand for, what you believe in and what your customers say about you. Always-on does not mean blasting a volume of stuff like annoying emails, ads (queue rich pop-ups), direct mail bombs or endless phone calls.
Additionally, an always-on approach lends itself to showcasing and telling your story in smaller, digestible bites over time. This approach screams simplicity and clarity of message and your unique value. An analogy an enterprise CMO shared with me recently was taking a “billboard” approach to marketing (not necessarily literally the type of stands along the highway). This translates to delivering a clear message and memorable visual that appears in different formats through the right mix of channels, consistently. It allows your customers and prospects to naturally put the pieces together and see the full picture of your brand and offering as they engage, evaluate, consider, buy, onboard and buy more of your solution.
We’re one-third of the way through the year. If you haven’t bought in, there’s never been a better time to re-evaluate your 2019 marketing plan to see if and where an always-on strategy can move the needle for your brands and companies.