We all recognise how significantly technology and the internet specifically have changed our lives. As consumers we live by the mantra faster, easier, more. We can book our holidays, manage our finances and socialise with friends and family all over the world from anywhere with a strong Wi-Fi or 4G/5G signal on any one of our multiple devices.
This same attitude has spilled over into our business lives, especially when it comes to our roles as consumers in the world of B2B world. We’ve come a long way from relying on brochures and chats with sales reps to get the information on the product, solution or service we need. Now we have a world of information at our fingertips to build our knowledge, from forums, LinkedIn discussions, online reviews, to research and whitepapers created around our specific business challenge and associated solutions.
Modern challenges for traditional marketing
It’s this wide range of choice that’s making it harder for marketers to identify and reach their desired target market. Today, in the B2B buying journey, the majority of research (66% according to Sirius Decisions) takes place before we’ve even spoken to a person working for a potential supplier. As a result, as a marketer you need to be able to reach your target audience much earlier on in the buying cycle.
So how do you do this? By applying a data-driven approach, focusing on rich insights that can help you identify the section of your target market that is actively demonstrating the desire to buy – only about 2-5% in reality. The best way to do this is to use behaviour-based marketing (BBM) to help you strengthen your marketing efforts, whether that is integrated marketing campaigns or account-based marketing (ABM).
The benefit is that you can reach the right prospects, at the right time with the right message. But more than that, you can generate high-quality leads that can rapidly be passed to sales in order to increase conversions.
Looking at behaviour, identifying intent
Taking a step back; what is BBM? It helps marketers get more personal and more targeted. BBM is a qualitative approach that has its foundations in buying intent data. This is all those signals that buyers give off during the online research process — such as what they are looking for, what they are looking at, where they are looking and who they are talking to about it.
Delivered from a technology platform, BBM identifies and collates these buying signals based on pre-agreed, relevant keywords across tens of thousands of websites, forums and downloaded marketing collateral. The platform then helps marketers understand the intent of buyers by analysing these online activities. In turn, this generates insights which triggers the bespoke publishing of relevant content to help the customer and transform initial interest into a quality lead.
If you have a better idea of who your target customers are, what they’re looking for, and where they’re looking for it, (and where they are in the buying cycle) you’re in a better position to engage with them using the right messaging.
While there may still be a place for traditional mass marketing methods, the way the discipline is evolving and the way B2B customers are changing, it makes more sense to adopt a more targeted approach. This is especially true when it comes to driving your business forward, increasing revenue opportunities and improving your growth trajectory. If you can improve the quality of your leads and, as a result, the number of conversations, you can stay ahead of competitors, and use marketing as power asset within your overall go-to-market strategy.
The B2B buying journey will continue to evolve and the demands and expectations of buyers and decision makers will reflect that change. For businesses to remain relevant, grow revenue and engage with their customers and prospects in a meaningful way, they need to understand the addressable and then active market and the customers within it. Using behavioural insights and buying intent data as a key enabling aspect of your overall marketing approach, can be a key differentiator in a fast-changing and competitive environment.
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