3 Things Marketers at Successful Companies are Doing Differently

February 7, 2017

Man on elevator

Editor's Note: This post was contributed by Brianne Carlon Rush, VP of Operations at Kuno Creative.

Marketing changes fast, with new opportunities for companies to reach potential customers emerging every day. Yet many organizations, especially those in slower-moving industries like manufacturing and healthcare, haven’t updated their marketing strategies for years—maybe even decades.

Many chief marketing officers at these slow-moving organizations know their approach to marketing needs a dramatic overhaul, but are not sure where to start. They know they need to incorporate technology that allows for automated targeting and personalization, encourage creativity without going over budget, and better align marketing with sales operations.

Three techniques have emerged that allow companies to accomplish these goals: social media advertising, content marketing and account-based marketing.

Target Leads with Social Media Ads

As of January 2016, more than 30 percent of the world’s population—or 2.3 billion people—was active in social media. That’s up 10 percent from just one year prior. In the U.S., 65 percent of all adults and 76 percent of internet-using adults use at least one social media site.

All this is to say social media use is increasing—rapidly. There has never been a more captive audience with such massive buying power.

This isn’t just a B2C audience either. A recent study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that people spend at least one hour of their workday on social media. Social platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook help B2B marketers target their audiences by company size, function, industry and role to help reach decision makers.

Social advertising is also cost-effective—for now. While big brands still spend millions on television commercials, more agile companies are spending dollars more effectively online.

Marketers can make those dollars stretch the furthest by offering access to high quality content in their ads. “We’re not going to take a piece of low-value, spun, irrelevant or thin content and pay to amplify it,” writes Jackie Van Meter, a sales and customer satisfaction representative at Kuno Creative. “We’re going to take the best we have to offer and then get it in front of the right people using the extensive targeting and filtering options of platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.”

Hook Leads with Content Marketing

Smart marketers know they cannot simply advertise products and services anymore because, according to Gleanster Research, between 30 to 50 percent of the leads who enter a pipeline represent future opportunities but, for whatever reason, are not yet ready to buy. To persuade buyers to click on an ad or spend time on a website, marketers will need to offer them something of value.

Content marketing helps organizations be relevant to consumers every day, furthering their path down the sales funnel toward purchase. Why? Customers are educating themselves via online information, reviews and video demos, drastically delaying the point of contact with a sales rep. Organizations not producing this content for buyers’ education will lose customers to competitors that are producing the content.  

Hard sells turn off buyers, so giving them something of value is often the best way to grab their attention, turn them into a customer and expand their lifetime value. Here’s how to get started.

  • Determine the content mission. What are you looking to accomplish with each piece of content?

  • Identify the audience. Who are your buyer personas and who are their key influencers? What are their challenges and how can you solve them without pushing your product?

  • Decide on a format. Your audience may prefer videos to blogs or infographics to eBooks. This can only be determined by speaking with your target audience.

  • Write, produce, design. Find the people who can create high-quality, creative content. You may have these people in-house or you may need to search out an agency or freelancer within your budget.

  • Publish and promote content. Your content should live on your website, but it should be promoted where your audience lives online, whether that is in social networks, associations and groups or on Google.

  • Monitor key performance indicators. Content marketing is not a one-time endeavor. It is a strategy that can be improved by identifying and measuring results. Use this checklist to calculate content’s impact on the bottom line.

Align Marketing and Sales with Account-Based Marketing

Organizations with ample resources have the power to land big sales with account-based marketing (ABM). The idea is you identify target businesses as your target audience. Say a solar panel manufacturer wants to work with automobile manufacturers. The accounts they pursue may be GM, Ford and Chrysler.

ABM is perhaps most useful for organizations with multiple buyers or stakeholders, according to HubSpot. The goal is to “address the needs of the organization by connecting with all of the stakeholders within it,” says Corporate Marketing Manager Sam Balter.

Executing ABM is similar to content marketing: One must identify a target audience, research that audience, create content, publish and promote that content and measure results. However, an extensive amount of research is needed upfront.

Identifying target accounts should be a collaborative effort between marketing and sales, and should pinpoint industry, company size, location and annual revenue. Then team members will need to research further to determine who within the company is involved in the purchasing process—who are the influencers and who has decision-making power.

At the conclusion of the ABM campaign, HubSpot recommends asking these three questions:

  • Are we growing our list of known individuals within the target account?

  • Have there been any changes to the way these accounts are engaging with our brand and its content?

  • How much revenue have we generated from these target accounts?

While it can be hard to turn a large ship, organizations will need to pivot their marketing in 2017 or get lost in a sea of pamphlets, trade shows and commercials.

Have you tried one of these marketing strategies? Share your success stories by tweeting at us @LinkedInMktg.

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