Creating and implementing effective B2B marketing and communications campaigns requires a deep understanding of your business and industry. Our associates offer our clients decades of combined experience and a passion for complex industries. Melinda Green, web developer, discusses the evolution of digital marketing and why marketers need to broaden their digital approach to keep up with today’s audience.
What are some digital marketing trends you expect to see in the years to come?
I think that the seller-free economy is going to increase its foothold. The buyer is now in control, and customers are empowered by their research and analysis and want to be in control of their own decision making. According to a recent Gartner survey, sales representatives only have about five percent of a customer’s time during a typical B2B buying process. Companies that withhold information until a prospect is deeper in the funnel are going to start seeing their prospects looking elsewhere for vendors with a more hands-off approach that educates, not interferes.
I think the Inbound philosophy is going to compete with and overtake the old funnel model as marketers realize that Inbound focuses on the holistic customer experience. We’re heading in a more customer-focused direction every day, and that’s a really good thing. Happy, engaged customers help you grow organically, and that’s a huge boost to ROI.
What are some of the most essential digital marketing tools brands need to thrive in today’s marketplace?
The most essential tool a brand needs to navigate the digital marketplace is a bigger, more robust toolbelt. Whether it’s fully integrated, enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) systems, social media platforms or AI content generators, having the ability to leverage multiple tools and platforms is critical. As these tools become more and more accessible to all brands and company sizes, creativity and hustle will be more essential than ever. Brands need to be vigilant for emerging trends and ready to switch gears to jump on board. Disruption is powerful.
What are some tactics brands can use to get the most out of their existing digital marketing campaigns?
I always stress the importance of investing in your digital marketing. We’re not entering the digital age; we’re fully there. If you’re thinking of digital marketing channels as “nice-to-haves” or believe your current website will last you another five years, it’s time to maybe rethink your approach.
You have to be nimble and never think of your existing campaign as a final product. It’s the agile approach in software development, where you’re always making incremental changes. Dedicate time to researching what your competitors and household-name brands are doing. The content and platforms that worked for you a year ago may not be what your audience is looking for now.
Marketers are going to have to broaden their approach, since opportunities are expanding every day. Lastly, remember that customers follow trends, so think about how you can capitalize on what’s attracting their attention.
How has digital marketing evolved since you began your career?
When I became a full-time web developer 15 years ago, digital marketing was mostly just CRM systems and email marketing. Email blasts at that time were long, elaborate and covered everything a client wanted their readers to know, with a myriad of web links and calls to action. Now, best practices focus on targeted emails with a single call to action, and the body of the newsletters are much shorter.
You’d hear the mantra that “content is king,” but search engine optimization (SEO) back then was still focusing on meta keywords and repetition of key terms on the page, rather than considering the inbound marketing philosophy of delivering engaging, customer-focused content. The union of that philosophy with digital marketing is pushing marketers in a direction where the approach is not what we want our customers to know, but rather what our customers actually want to know and how we can provide those answers.
What have you observed as cornerstones of the most successful client-agency relationships?
As digital marketing becomes broader, having an agency with both depth and breadth of expertise becomes more important. Having only a marketing department isn’t enough anymore for B2B companies. Digital marketing is a vast practice that requires areas of expertise in content, social media, automation, SEO/SEM and email marketing. Each of these disciplines requires their own expertise, and an in-house generalist is going to have trouble covering all these bases. What we excel at is providing experienced teams that work well together and focus on current and emerging best practices. And we can deliver a great ROI because of all of that. We also have a deep commitment to transparency and accountability. We meet clients where they are, work to understand their story and build trust through transparency.