One of my favorite components of the ITSMA* study “How Buyers Consume Information Survey” (free to members) is that it identifies its participants as 50% IT/50% Business. This is, in my mind, one of the most thorough studies on how those of us in the technology world spend our employers’ marketing investments. I identified a couple of points that are top of mind for many of our clients.
Observation #1: Personalization is no longer optional
“60% of buyers view personalized content as Valuable or Very Valuable” (Julie Schwartz, 2016)
This statistic does not surprise me; in fact, I expected it to be higher. Personalization is happening now at scale, but many marketers are still missing out. We are seeing increased emphasis on data quality, preference centers, and real-time web. Many savvy digital marketers are also hyper-focused on personalization of email and landing pages.
The good news is that business buyers still want personalized content from vendors across the purchasing lifecycle from prospect to customer.
Observation #2: Channels are evolving and information sources proliferating
One thing that hasn’t changed, despite the proliferation of information available online, is that there is quite a bit t of deliberation offline —and most of the time it is not with a solutions’ sales team. The top providers of early stage information are peers, consultants and subject matter experts. Web search is next followed by a number of digital based options, eventually making it to “solution sales.”
More web pages, corporate publishers, “fake news,” email and digital experts will appear in 2017 to add to a noisy world. A focused communication and content strategy is critical, powered by marketing automation that helps you segment, personalize and adjust on the fly.
Observation #3: You shouldn’t forget about Expansion
DemandGen considers Expansion to be a critical section of your Demand Factory. Typically it is those marketers that are exceptional at deriving revenue from their client base and have mastered the customer experience. Post-sale is when new customers want hands-on, personalized, and, in many cases, high-touch engagement. Many of our clients are focusing closely on this experience now more than ever. In the past, I believe customer marketing had been a separate engine focused mostly on the loosely defined “cross-sell/upsell.”
The Expansion component. . . what we are seeing in Expansion:
- Sales and marketing functions focused on expansion within their client base work together with their peers in new business Demand Generation with parallel skills, budget, and revenue goals
- Client scoring and nurturing — we are seeing a lot of success here, especially with nurture where they expect a personalized, high-touch engagement
- Customer analytics that are driving decision-making, with KPIs including utilization and engagement
“Expand” is a crucial component in building your Demand Factory™.
Where to go from here
The ITSMA report is loaded with useful information so I recommend acquiring it for review. At DemandGen, we are seeing the marketing and sales pitfalls identified in this report every day.
The good news is that we have come up with multiple assessments and detailed roadmaps to solve these challenges. Drop us a line or visit us at DemandGen.com if we can help.
*ITSMA is a leading marketing association for technology, communications, and professional services providers.
Will Waugh is a consultant for DemandGen focused on helping clients with demand generation, lead management and leveraging marketing technology. He genuinely believes that data can change the world. Follow him on Twitter. Listen to his DemandGen Radio episode, DemandGen Radio episode “How the Pros Do Lead Management,” and read his post on “What is a Marketing Technology Roadmap?”