As usual, I started my day reviewing various opt-in emails and visiting favorite blog sites.
Inbound and outbound B2B marketers may fight over which method is best, but elements in two of the communications I read today reminded me of the big challenge common to both — and that is “control.”
First I read Steven Woods’ excellent Digital Body Language post on “Who and What Do We Trust?” In it he talks about how today’s access to information is changing the way businesses build trust with prospective customers. He says, “With the changing dynamic of how the conversation happens, there is also a changing dynamic of how trust is developed.”
Then I received an email invite from BtoB Online to attend their Sept. 30th Webinar “Beyond Content Management: 4 Ways to Engage Your Visitors and Achieve Online Marketing Success.” The opening of the invitation states, “Marketers need to be able to take control of their site visitors’ online experience in order to increase conversion.”
Although these two communications are focused on different areas of the B2B marketing and sales process, they both address the issue of “control.” Prospective business buyers do what they want, when then want and how they want. It’s a marketer’s job to do everything possible to influence those actions.
Inbound B2B marketers conduct SEO, are active in social media, conduct AdWords campaigns, post content on targeted informational Websites and more. Outbound B2B marketers send out content or sales offers through direct mail, email, and telemarketing. These two groups fight and debate, but both approaches are essential for success in today’s B2B marketing worlds and both groups have the same challenge of attempting to “control” the actions of their target B2B market.
Every B2B prospect and situation is different, but there are human traits and circumstances that B2B marketers can leverage to help take more control over their prospects’ actions.
B2B marketers must know that today’s prospect has limited support resources and is over the top with work. Every marketing decision, practice and communication should be based on seeing the prospect in that light, as follows:
- Keep communications short and to the point.
- Make it clear, quick and easy for prospects to act on what is being offered.
- Speak to prospects in the first person and communicate the benefits they will gain from acting on the offer.
- Be sure to offer information that has real value to your target market. Check out Ardath Albee’s Marketing Interactions Blog on “When Thought Leadership Isn’t” for insight on how marketers can help make their company a prospect’s trusted resource.
- Communicate differently to different titles. Goals and problems vary from title to title. Communications should be versioned to address those differences.
- Communicate and make contact often enough so that the company being marketed is top-of-mind as the prospect moves through every step of the buying cycle.
- Give the prospect a clear ‘next action’ in every communication.
From tweets to AdWords to landing pages to email invitations to Website pages and content libraries, the marketer’s ultimate goal is to control the prospect’s actions as much as possible. Control comes from understanding human nature and using the practices that leverage that understanding.