Many businesses have recognised that embracing modern marketing technology can help to drive business growth. Sophisticated marketing technology can help us understand a buyer’s journey and their engagement, target them precisely and automate personal messaging to them.
But it is not as simple as logging into the software and pressing go! The potential, but equally the limitations, of each piece of technology need to be clearly understood so that an overall strategy can be used that gets the best from integrating each marketing channel and technique.
“New technology is common, new thinking is rare”
Sir Peter Blake: yachtsman, adventurer, environmentalist.
Keeping up with changing technology
Digital marketing is moving quickly and the number of marketing channels continues to expand dramatically.
A small marketing department or a single marketing manager needs to allocate a significant amount of their time to keeping up with the latest development; this is time dedicated to learning, not delivering campaigns.
Along with the explosion of new digital channels there are thousands of products and applications that claim to be able to help Marketers; from delivering content on multiple social media platforms, to analytics tools to help us plan website user journeys and marketing automation for targeting and communicating with prospects more effectively. For example, there are over 50 different marketing automation platforms alone to choose from! Identifying, evaluating and integrating the right products can be complex, time consuming and confusing to say the least.
Integrate traditional approaches, don’t abandon them
Many of the traditional approaches taken by marketing to generate leads have become less commonly used and replaced by the latest digital approaches. Methods such as telemarketing, direct mail and events can still however deliver powerful results.
This is particularly the case when they are used in a targeted way and integrated with other activity. The traditional marketing channels should not be immediately discounted as old-hat (particularly at the expense of being drawn to the latest thing – as yet untested and unproven in your business).
Strategy first… technology second
Developing an overall Strategy with clear objectives, an understanding of your target market, who the decision makers are and what messages will attract, engage and motivate them to start a dialogue with your business needs to remain the No.1 priority and starting point for all Marketers.
Once you have developed a clear and compelling message and understand your buyers’ personal and professional motivations, then and only then should you focus on which technology or solutions will be able to deliver your message effectively.
Contrary to the belief that new technology will enhance marketing campaign effectiveness, the danger is that budgets and attention are diverted from marketing approaches that work well and time, money and effort is drawn towards new technology simply because it’s new.
Of course using the right technology can drive marketing effectiveness. But most commonly this is achieved as part of an integrated approach alongside choosing appropriate channels, and with regular analysis, testing and refinement.
Are we asking too much of our marketing people?
With an ever more complex set of marketing channels and technology on offer the depth of knowledge across strategy, traditional and digital marketing techniques means today’s Marketers often struggle to keep up. And that is before we even touch on the variety of skills needed for campaign delivery, measurement and analysis!
The reality is that it’s probably unrealistic to expect a business with a single Marketing Manager, or even a small team to have expertise across the entire B2B marketing landscape.
Increasingly businesses use external expertise such as marketing agencies and consultants to help manage these internal resource gaps. After all, developing and delivering a marketing strategy that enables your business to grow is every bit as important as the Finance, HR or IT strategy.
Whilst there is no denying that technology is a big part of modern B2B marketing, more than ever it’s the brains behind the strategy that is key to unlocking business growth.