According to Hubspot’s 2014 State of Inbound Marketing Report, more than 85% of B2B companies are practicing inbound marketing, up from 65% in the previous year. But the customer-centricity of inbound marketing requires a different way of thinking – and a new way of planning.
In short, it requires a new marketing blueprint.
In Building a Blueprint for B2B Marketing Success, now available on demand, Yesler CMO Tyson Roberts discusses six things you need to include in your strategic marketing plan for successful inbound marketing. Together, these building blocks create an infrastructure that puts your buyers and customers at the epicenter of your marketing efforts.
Here are the six elements:
Buyer research. First, marketers must understand who they are talking to. Organizational purchasing is managed by committee and inbound marketers need to get to know every player on the buying team. What motivates each one of them? What problems are they trying to solve? How do they define success? Why do they disqualify potential solutions and green-light others? Where do they go for more information? Last but not least, how do they work together to choose the solution that’s right for their organization? The answers to these questions will help you create buyer personas, research-based profiles of your buyers, and a buyer persona content map that aligns the information needs of your buyers with their role in the buying journey.
Market research. If buyer research results in creating a mirror image of your buyers, market research describes the world in which they live. Market research reveals what other solutions compete for buyers’ attention and the trends that keep them up at night. Thanks to social listening, you can find out what’s top of mind for them. And with keyword analysis, you can find out how they go looking for answers. Together these elements provide a rich, multi-faceted picture of your buyer’s world, the landscape in which they live and breathe.
Messaging strategy. Inbound marketing has shifted the currency of competition from dollars to ideas. Once upon a time, messaging was synonymous with product and solution features and benefits, but this inside-out perspective no longer suffices. Buyers are hungry for information, not propaganda. Marketers, in their new role as publishers, now have an opportunity to share their knowledge and engage their buyers in conversations. Your messaging strategy is your thought leadership platform; it’s the insight you share with your buyers to inform and help them.
Content strategy. Content is the fuel that sparks and sustains inbound marketing. Feeding the content beast never ends, so having a good plan in place is essential. At its heart, good content strategy is tactical – it sets the tone, voice, guidelines and cadence for content development and curation. Think of this as the marching orders for your content team.
Communications strategy. Creating content itself is not enough. Jeremiah Owyang of Alimeter Group estimates that we are bombarded with more than 3,000 branded messages every day. That’s a lot of competition for your content, so you need to employ the most effective paid, earned, and owned channels you can to promote your content. And no longer are these channels separate parallel tracks. For example, you can purchase paid LinkedIn advertisements that drive to your owned LinkedIn company page that, in turn, can help generate earned feedback from your LinkedIn followers. Smart marketers strive to make the most of their investment across all their channels to reach their buyers and customers.
Measurement strategy. In today’s digital world, marketers can – and do – drown in data, so it’s critical to outline what you’re going to measure up front. An effective measurement strategy develops different metrics for different stakeholders that take into account the 4 Vs: volume, conversion, velocity, and value (to borrow a page from Big Data). For example, the C-suite wants big-picture value-based KPIs, including marketing’s holy grail, return on marketing investment (ROMI). Demand generation managers need performance and measurement optimization metrics such as conversion ratios to assess and fine-tune their efforts. And campaign managers will want to see volume-based metrics such as clicks, visits, and shares.
Want to learn more about developing a customer-centric B2B marketing blueprint? View the entire webinar now, available on demand.
Image credit: Walnut Studiolo