Mastering nurturing in an always-on world
Contributor Sonjoy Ganguly explains how to win today’s B2B decision-maker by knowing exactly how to use one key strategy.
Like most B2B marketers, your challenge is threefold: The consumer’s day has changed; martech is maturing; and so is the B2B sales and marketing landscape.
For one, the consumer — and in the B2B marketplace, the prospect or decision-maker — is always on and has the tools to be so. Focusing on B2B vs. B2C for the purposes of this discussion, your business consumers expect to be able to connect, receive, engage and transact within whatever channel, format and utility they choose at any given time.
No big deal. Your assets and your means of doing business in this new reality have improved and multiplied. And there are increasingly powerful technologies and solutions available for you to leverage as a B2B marketer.
So, what’s the one key to ensuring that you are benefiting from and delivering in the context of all of this that you may not yet have mastered? Nurturing.
What you need to know about the always-on B2B consumer
Marketers and even advertisers have long thought in terms of dayparts and the consumer or decision maker’s “day in the life” — considering what might be the most appropriate period for appeal and to trigger engagement.
But the new, highly literal always-on mode takes this to a new level. People are absolutely always online, whether at work, at home, at the airport or in the bathroom. For all intents and purposes, the conduit is nearly constant, as they are always in front of a digitally accessible device.
B2B decision-makers are always in research mode and find pockets of their time — even just five minutes here and there — to look up what’s interesting to them. It’s in these small but bountiful “micro-moments” you need to find, then entice and engage them based on their surges of indicated interest.
It’s 2018 — and your assets have never been so plentiful
As a testament to the nearly constant but varied flow of opportunity across the consumer, decision-maker journey, SiriusDecisions last year introduced the new Demand Unit Waterfall, a construct I happen to find infinitely useful.
Taking the metaphor into account, what you need is a virtual content waterfall aligned with every stage of your buyer’s journey. In other words, you need to adopt an agile model for content, whereby assets can be modified to both the target and their consideration stage.
In the past, in the product management world, the traditional development life cycle involved creating a single governing requirements document to map and drive the entire project. This was generally time-consuming, and your document was guaranteed to miss the mark because it was static, not fluid, not allowing for variant journeys.
The more modern and more effective agile models have product managers developing requirements at each and every explicit stage of development. The content nurturing I describe relies upon the same foundation — you want to deliver the relevant message to the right audience, at the right time and specifically in the right, almost tactile, format.
Is it a content-driven ad unit? A white paper that suits their quest? A call to action to sign up for a webinar? How about an interesting infographic that grabs their attention? It could even be a traditional banner that merely serves to reinforce your brand message throughout the buyer journey.
Technologies and solutions situate you for success — now, how exactly do we nurture?
The most effective solutions require a few strategic changes to the way you think about media and nurturing. You need to look at paid media as an integrated component of your nurturing strategy, not as a silo tactic separate from marketing, as it is traditionally considered.
Your nurturing process is always on, and your paid media strategies are creating the pipeline for those activities. It’s all nurturing!
In the beginning, I said martech is maturing. While that may be true, it’s just getting more complicated, not easier to manage. These days, you need an integrated solution that unifies your CRM, cross-channel paid media, marketing automation, sales development and sales enablement strategies.