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Get the basics right and the rest will look after itself.

This may sound like a simple premise but in an industry where perpetual flux is an industry standard, the work of B2B digital marketing is far from simplistic.

To add to this, thanks to technological acceleration new concepts, along with their buzzwords, are constantly entering the marketing lexicon. Take for example the new emerging AdTech jargon infiltrating the B2B ad buyer space thanks to the rapid adoption of Programmatic Ad buying.

For more on AdTech terminology, check out A Jargon Busting Guide to B2B Programmatic Advertising

What’s more our arsenal of marketing tools has never looked so shiny; marketing automation, AI, precision based data-driven targeting and real-time optimization through dynamic creative – to mention just a few players to elevate the tactical mix.

What does this mean for the modern B2B marketer?

All this technological innovation makes the marketing sphere an exciting vertical to operate in, however it can also make it overwhelming. It’s hard not to fall in the trap of throwing all these new capabilities into your campaigns without ensuring the basics are up to standard.

For example without a strong grasp of analytics and marketing control mechanisms, big data can equate to a big marketing mess.

The strength of the best marketing campaigns lies in the knowledge of how they fit strategically in the overarching marketing agenda, along with the tactical understanding of how and why they’ve been deployed.

This article is dedicated to helping us get this right, through addressing some common marketing questions.

We’ll cover the difference between:

  1. Corporate & Marketing Objectives
  2. Strategy & Tactics
  3. Unique Selling Points (USPs) & Value Propositions
  4. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) & Marketing Metrics
1. What’s the difference between; Corporate Objectives and Marketing Objectives?

Objectives set direction and form the rationale behind all planning decisions. They are important because they ensure all activities and efforts are focused towards achieving the same vision. The following example shows how objectives exist within a hierarchy in most businesses:

Corporate Objectives: Overarching business goals that translate the company’s mission into strategic targets (often profit orientated).

Marketing Objectives: A set of goals designed to achieve the overarching corporate objectives (often product or service orientated).

For more a more detailed breakdown of how these objectives fit into the organizational framework, read The B2B Marketing Plan – Why it Should be Top of 2019’s Agenda

2. What’s the difference between; Strategy and Tactics?

Marketing strategy and tactics are essential components of the marketing plan, but are you confident explaining their integral relationship?

Strategy: This provides a blueprint of how you’re going to navigate your marketplace and organize your internal capabilities in the most efficient way to achieve your marketing objectives. Your strategy will often feed from marketing knowledge gained through market and audience insights.

Tactics: These are the mix of corresponding marketing programs that support your strategy to deliver your set objectives. They provide pathways for matching your business agenda with customer need, in the most profitable ways.

To deviate slightly, here’s analogy we like to use to explain the relationship between the two:

If you were a football coach, your strategy would be how you are going to coach your team to win the tournament. Your tactics would be how you formulate your team and player tactics to win each game.

3. What’s the difference between; Value Proposition & Unique Selling Points (USPs)?

Knowing what makes your business stand out is key to any marketing function, however many businesses don’t have a formal process for documenting their key values such as:

Value Proposition: This is how you articulate to your target audiences how your products/services will fulfil their needs better than anyone else.

Unique Selling Points (USPs): These are the aspects of your business offering that set you apart from the competition (often relating to your marketing ‘P’s). If you serve a number of markets, you may have a variety of audience specific USPs.

For more information on how to tie your USPs and value proposition into your B2B marketing strategy, read B2B Marketing Plan; A Compelling Case for B2B Content Marketing

4. What’s the difference between; Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Marketing Metrics?

Key Performance Indicators: A critical marketing measurement directly associated with your overarching strategic objectives and goals. These give you an indication as to how well the performance of your marketing programs are succeeding in achieving the overarching targets.

Marketing Metrics: These are quantifiable measurements directly aligned to your tactical goals. Often a set of metrics are selected to support an overarching KPI. These metrics help provide more granular insight into the various components such as actions, activities or events that contribute to success of a KPI.

For example

Key Performance Indicator:

  • Number of new online customers

Marketing Metrics

  • Number of web sign-ups
  • Number of returning visitors
  • Number of new visitors

For more marketing myth-busting we’ve put together an essential B2B Marketing Handbook:

The Ultimate Guide to the B2B Marketing Plan

A refreshing approach to unifying all your marketing campaigns into one powerful B2B marketing strategy, this resource has been a big hit with our marketing community. Request yours now to discover:

  • How to structure your market research
  • How to build accurate buyer personas
  • How to select the right marketing tactics

Learn more here.

The post B2B Marketing; The questions we’re too ashamed to ask. appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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If you haven’t changed your approach to B2B marketing in the last 5 year, this article shows why you should.

Digital transformation, workforce rejuvenation and customer experience innovation, are just a few of the big disruptors that have re-energized the B2B buyer process. The strongest B2B marketing plans have adapted and evolved to meet the new buyer dynamic. This has meant making digital marketing tactics an integral part of the B2B marketing agenda, rather than an extension.

As part of our B2B marketing plan series, this article looks at what’s been going on in the world of B2B marketing and how you can turn this knowledge into an actionable plan of attack.

What’s Changed in the World of B2B Marketing in the Last 5 Years?

Here are 7 big changes you can’t afford to ignore:

  1. Millennials have come of age – 73% of Millennials are involved in B2B purchasing decisions (Forrester)

  2. B2B buyers have taken their search online – 70% of the decision-making process is made up of researching digital content and utilizing social channels like LinkedIn to get access to key information (Ryan Erskine, Forbes)

  3. Customer Experience (CX) prevails – 73% of B2B executives say they want a personalized, B2C-like customer experience (Accenture)

  4. B2B buyers have a large appetite for content – more than 50% of B2B buyers view at least 8 pieces of content during the purchase process, and 82% of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the vendor prior to purchase (Forrester)

  5. Snackable insights are key for early engagement – 76% of buyers say infographics are a valuable content format in the early stage of the buying journey (Demand Gen Report, 2018)

  6. Buyers are more susceptible to certain content formats – studies show people have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later (HubSpot)

  7. Trustworthy sources hold influencing power – 65% of content consumers strongly agree they have higher preferences for credible content from industry influencers (Demand Gen Report, 2018)
3 Tactical Take-Aways;  How the Strongest Brands are Turning this Knowledge into the Best B2B Marketing Tactics  Marketing Tactic #1: Data-driven targeting

Audience segmentation has evolved over the last 5 years thanks to proliferation of digital data and analytics. This means, we no longer need to strike out in the dark in order to attract the right professionals for our business. We can use data analysis to interrogate our CRMs, pin pointing who the most valuable customer segments are.

Thanks to the transparency afforded by centralized management platforms, we are also able to better plot, track and improve customer lifetime cycles – from early engagement right through to post purchase behaviour.

This has seen the rise in account-based marketing strategies that leverage knowledge from existing accounts to formulate the targeting characteristics for new account acquisition.

What’s more, our segmentation criteria has become a lot more sophisticated. Digital body language, intent signals and content consumption patterns are just a few performance related data points we can use to accelerate our audience understanding. All of which help us to design, deliver and evolve the best content experiences that bring in the right business.

The rise in AdTech that enables marketers to translate their segmentation criteria into precision based targeting to the right in-market B2B buyers has added a third dimension of tactical sophistication.

Dynamic creative triggered automatically based on user information such as behaviour, context or location is another big break through that is changing the face of B2B advertising as we’ve known it – the rise of Programmatic advertising is a prime example.

Bring yourself up-to-speed with B2B programmatic advertising here.

Marketing Tactic #2: Optimized content formats for digital consumption

B2B buyers are not just content consumers – they’re content connoisseurs. This is because we live in an information rich, yet time poor world. Therefore, the digitally savvy millennial B2B buyer is far more selective about the types content they are willing to their invest time in. In fact, studies show many buyers are not willing to invest more than 5 minutes reviewing content (Demand Gen Report, 2018).

What does this mean for your content strategy tactics?

The strongest brands don’t just accept this paradigm, they actively work with it to inform their tactical approach.
This means rather than investing the majority of their marketing content budget on one long-form piece of content, they recognise the importance of creating a range of digital content formats optimized for different devices, attention spans and information needs.

Content re-purposing is a great example of how this can be achieved through creating multiple content assets from one pillar piece of content. Whilst providing a greater level of choice for your discerning readers, this operates well on a tactical level through widening the amount of touchpoints you create for your target audiences to intercept and engage with your message.

Explore further: 6 Popular Content Re-Purposing Quick-wins You can Use Today

Marketing Tactic #3: Content amplification with flex appeal

The modern B2B buyer cycle is longer and more complex than it was 5 years ago. Buyers are more likely to flex across the buyer stages in a non-linear fashion, especially when you consider how members of the decision making unit (DMU) enter and exit at different stages.

To add to this, 2019’s B2B buyers aren’t just after content, they’re after content experiences. This means you need to work harder to meet their demands.

One solution is to build content rich environments that give them what they want, when they want to hear it.

This can be achieved through leveraging a multi-channel approach that builds out fully emmersive digital eco-systems that surround your audiences with the right messages, at the right stages of their buyer journey.

In order to achieve this, you need to consider all the assets and channels you have at your disposal, and consider how they will work together. Not only is it important for you to be wherever your customers are, campaigns that span multiple channels have greater impact.

The more you can understand your target audience’s digital footprint, the better you can build out an accurate digital eco-system that reflects their behavior. The strongest brands use a combination of first party along with second and third party data to gain visibility over the digital behaviors of their intended audiences. They then translate this knowledge into multi-channel campaigns that trigger the right messages, at the most relevant times.

To learn how to surround your target audiences with the right content, check out our multi-channel approach to demand generation.

The post The Future of B2B Marketing; New Tactics for a New Generation appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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Part 3 of our B2B marketing planning mini series, this article tackles the Marketing Strategy stage of the B2B Marketing Plan.

As with our previous articles, we’ll examine best practices and their underpinning theory to help you plan, execute (and justify investment) for the best marketing programmes to achieve your wider business goals.

In this instance, we’re focusing on B2B content marketing as a key strategy many CMOs and demand generation specialists are leveraging to accomplish overarching business objectives such as business growth, new revenue and customer retention.

Key Concepts we’ll cover:

1. Content Marketing StrategyOverarching strategy for creating and amplifying content to specified target audiences to generate value exchanges, in order to achieve high level marketing objectives, such as:

Customer acquisition
• Increased revenue
• Business growth
• Marketplace longevity

2. Content Strategy: Formulation of tactics, such as:

• What content assets to create
• Which channels to distribute the assets through
• Which audiences & buyer stages to target
• How data-driven insights will be deployed to improve targeting

The aim here, is to achieve the objectives set out in the content marketing strategy, through organizing the above tactics in the most effective and efficient way, to maximise profit and minimise waste.

3. Content Plan (Roadmap): Documented processes and workflows required to deliver the content strategy. This includes the deployment of control mechanisms such as key performance indicators (KPIs) and campaign marketing metrics along with allocation of resources such as people, timeframes and budgets.

Now we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s see how you can create a winning B2B marketing strategy that delivers the outcomes you planned for.

The B2B Content Marketing Strategy

From our previous article: B2B Marketing Plan; Why It All Starts With Market Research we covered the importance of market research to establish:

Market conditions (short & long term)
• Your internal capabilities
• Your competitor landscape
• Your most profitable audience segments

Read more about the B2B research planning process here

Whilst directly addressing your marketing objectives, your B2B content marketing strategy should act on all your key research findings, prescribing the best methods for organizing your internal capabilities to meet demand and offer superior value to your target segments – through producing quality content that is highly relevant.

For example, your top line objective may be focused around increasing sales by entering new a market that your research identified as being a good fit for your product/services. In order to stimulate interest in this market, you must consider how to produce and distribute content to your identified audience that captures their attention, reflects their needs and provides tangible solutions, whilst also clearly articulating why they should choose you over any existing market offering.

What’s more, you need to consider how you can leverage audience insight (whether that be from secondary research and access to second and third party intent data sources) to acquire the most accurate understanding of your chosen audience segments.

Most likely you’ll have more than one marketing objective, in which case you need an overarching strategy that addresses how each objective can be achieved. This may include outlining how a set of interconnecting content marketing programmes (with their own strategies) will work together to achieve the ultimate goal.

As many businesses recognize the importance of full customer lifecycle marketing, demand generation is a key area many marketers are focusing on to provide a holistic content marketing strategy that embraces both effective customer acquisition and customer retention programmes.

Take this example:

Marketing Objective 1: Increase new sales by 20% by entering new territory in 12 months (requires acquisition strategy)

Marketing Objective 2: Increase repeat revenue from existing customer by 10% in 6 months (requires customer retention strategy)

Through creating a demand generation engine, you can design a range of content marketing programmes spanning the full customer lifecyle, helping you achieve both marketing objectives.

This could include:

Acquisition: Leveraging publishers with established readership to launch content marketing campaigns in EMEA to grow awareness and reach new audiences that fit criteria

Retention: Running customer success programme through a range of educational content assets that builds loyalty and brand advocates

Complementary strategies:

Digital Marketing: creating a digital ecosystem to guide your target audience through the buyer journey using the right channels, insight and inbound/outbound tactics.

Segmentation/Targeting (ABM/lookalike…etc): using data-driven tactics to better understand, identify and engage with the best fit audiences for your product/services.

Once you’ve identified and documented your B2B content marketing strategy, you need to distil your audience research findings down into a value proposition and your unique selling points.

Defining your value proposition and Unique Selling Points (USPs)

Value Proposition: This is how you articulate to your prospects how your products/services will provide superior value.

Unique Selling Point (USPs): This something that sets you apart from the competition

If you serve a number of different markets, you may find you have a variety of different value propositions and USPs for each segment.

But remember; if you set out to be the biggest or fastest, but you can’t achieve those criteria, you will lose trust and brand authority.

Brand authority is something that is hard to define, but, as Forbes puts it, “it mostly comes down to trust.” Customers trust you perhaps because you have proven your level of expertise, because you have demonstrated a consistency to customer service, or perhaps simply because you have been in the industry for a long time. Because they feel comfortable listening to you and spending money with you, all your marketing efforts will perform better.

Brand authority is difficult to pin down and to actively focus on. Consistency, active listening and long-term strategic thinking are needed to define and build your reputation across your industry.

Building your target audiences

The more you can understand your target audience, the better you’ll able to tailor your content strategy to provide the most attractive value proposition and USPs that outstrip your competitor’s.

Using the following questions to help shape further research will return the most useful insight to inform your strategy and marketing activities:

• What will attract your prospects to you? (pain points/challenges)
• How does your product/services solve their problem?
• How will you provide added value?
• How are competitors not fulfilling need?
• Who/what influences demand (external and internal)?


Once you have your value proposition and USPs you can put this knowledge into further action, by building audience personas. Audience personas are a highly effective way for ensuring you match your USPs and value proposition to the right audience in order to create the most effective communication programmes

Some of the information in a persona is directly relevant and actionable: for example, job titles, responsibilities, and research goals. However, to help the personas “come to life”, they are also often accompanied by fictional biographies including photographs, family background, and interests. These are more illustrative than factual but can help marketers get a feel for them as individuals.

The most critical elements of any persona are those which inform your marketing efforts. What role do they play in the purchase decision, and how can you help them in that role? Think about the following:

Questions they have
• The channels they prefer to use
• The best format for providing information

Download A Guide to Persona Planning here

Decision Making Units (DMU)

There is a temptation to focus solely on the budget holder when deciding who to target, however there is usually more than 3 people involved in a B2B purchasing decision.

Often B2B purchasers are part of a decision making unit (DMU), made of different roles, levels of influence and addressing different stages of the buying process. These stages can involve different individuals and teams, each with their own questions, responsibilities and concerns. As each of these can influence the end result, marketing needs to consider each of these individuals, not just those making the final decision.

This means when crafting your personas, you may want to construct several for each account, to cover the whole of the DMU. This insight can ensure you pitch the right content to the right person.

Crafting a B2B Content Strategy

You’ve set your objectives and you’ve identified the best content marketing strategy and audience segments, now it’s time to further qualify how you’re going to get there. This is where your content strategy comes into play.

At this stage you will probably find there is a lot of information you need to share to a variety of audiences. To make sure everything is addressed, you will need to create a content strategy.

Here’s an example of a content strategy with a focus on demand generation:

Having a documented plan is the best way to make sure you give enough attention to all the different areas. Often different types of content will have different roles within your marketing mix. Each phase of the customer journey requires different formats, which catch attention, give insightful information, and increase your chance of consideration throughout the buyer’s journey.

Request your free content audit here

The topics you cover within your content should be based around the needs of your target audience. Crafting truly useful content takes a lot of effort, but means that you will see a much better response when it reaches the right people.

In defining customer personas you have already given some thought to what your customers want to know. Brainstorm ideas; try to put yourself in their position. Content should always have a purpose, either for your company or the customer. If you have answered one question, what will their follow-up question be? How can you make their lives easier? Are there any facts or figures that will be of use – industry information, product comparisons, user reviews? Are there any current issues or topics that are relevant to your customers?

Bring these ideas together into key themes or stories that will form the structure of your campaigns.

Content types and formats

Content isn’t always just text, of course. Different channels suit different formats, and each persona will have a preference for channels and formats. Purchasing departments may want a no-frills comparison table of product specifications, while end users may want to see user guides in video format. Your sales team may want performance data or customer reviews they can refer to in meetings.

For further reading on different content formats, check out: 6 Popular Content Re-Purposing Quick-Wins You Can Use Today

Once you’ve identified the content you need to create in order to attract, engage and convert your target audiences, you need to develop a set of marketing programmes that focus on delivering these assets and messages to the right audience, at the right time in the right way.

Channel Mix – what channel tactics are you going to use to deliver your strategy?

When developing your marketing plan, consider all the assets and channels you have at your disposal, and consider how they will work together. Not only it is important for you to be wherever your customers are, campaigns that span multiple channels have greater impact.

Recommended Activity:

Review all your current communication activities and campaigns to help identify which channels have historically worked best, any limitations and any areas for improvement:

• What are their strengths and what are their weaknesses?
• What’s been successful, what’s been unsuccessful?
• Have you the in-house expertise to fully leverage channel potential?
• Which channels remain out of reach due to budget/expertise/lack of experience?

The above activity will help you identify what channels and activities have already worked for you, whilst identifying areas to improve. This knowledge will help you begin building out your channel eco system.

Don’t forget to also draw from your research, understanding what channels your audiences respond to best, at different stages of the buyer’s journey, should govern your channel selection. You must also be able to justify how your channel mix will help you achieve your content marketing strategy.

As this diagram shows, this can be achieved through assigning goals against each activity to justify their purpose within your channel tactics.

Once you’ve mapped out the channels best for amplifying your content to your target audience, the next step to develop your tactics into a set of cohesive marketing campaign programmes.

The B2B Content Plan – Who does what and when?

In order to execute your plan with greater precision, it’s important all roles are clearly defined, along with the allocation of timescales, budgets and expectations.

This helps ensure everyone is working to the same agenda, in particular, your content managers, copywriters, demand generation and campaign executives.

What’s more, if you’re looking to execute a content marketing strategy that spans the whole lifecycle, it’s critical your sales department are working from the same page.

As there is a strong correlation between documenting processes and success, it’s important to translate your action plan into a series of corresponding tasks that are assigned to different roles/departments.

Recommended further reading: 5 Simple Techniques for Better Sales and Marketing Alignment

Campaign Control Mechanisms

Control mechanisms are crucial for every campaign but it’s important to establish the difference between Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics. Both are important marketing measurements used to access the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

However, the difference occurs in where you apply these measurements:

KPIs support your overarching strategic objectives and goals, providing a critical marketing measurement to aim for. They can also provide an early warning system if performance is slipping.

Metrics provide a quantifiable measurement and are directly aligned to your tactical goals (the activities, actions or processes you have taken to achieve your overarching objective and KPIs).

Revenue, turnover or profit are very high-level KPIs that demonstrate the business impact marketing efforts are having, and are the figures senior directors are most interested in.

Sales teams and their targets often revolve around these types of measurements. For a marketing team it can help to focus on Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to avoid confusion and provide a view of the opportunities in the pipeline that marketing is creating.

For example:

Number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) generated
• Cost per acquisition (CPA)
• Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
• Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value (RFM)


As the focal point for a large part of marketing’s efforts, the website can provide some relatively top-level stats. Traffic numbers, bounce rates, new visitors, new subscribers, page duration, returning visitors and so on provide an indication of how content marketing as a whole is performing.

Drilling down further requires KPIs that are specific to each content marketing campaign. If they are going to be reported outside the marketing team, you must make sure they relate to other elements or business objectives: for example, can you make a connection between the number of people who downloaded your content assets and the number of incoming enquiries?

Thinking about KPIs in this way will also enable you to forecast campaign performance in ways that are meaningful to other departments and directors. Marketing is increasingly a strategic role that influences how a company responds to changes in the marketplace.

By choosing KPIs that you can connect directly or indirectly to business objectives, you will add credibility to your content plans and ensure your content marketing strategy remains relevant to the whole of the company.

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This market research guide is part of our B2B marketing planning series, designed to help B2B marketers tackle each phase of the marketing plan with greater confidence.

By breaking each stage into a digestible and actionable online resource, we aim to equip you with best industry practices, techniques and theoretical knowledge for effective planning. This article focuses on how B2B market research is pivotal to the success of your B2B Marketing Plan and wider organizational success.

Market Research Overview

Research conducted by the marketing function is highly valuable because it provides market intelligence specific to your business. With the digital means to capture real-time data and customer insights, CMOs are in the unique position to conduct and collate research that will help C-Suite decision makers make better informed decisions concerned with the profitability, sustainability and longevity of the organization.

How the right market insight can facilitate better decision making and investment:

  • Enabling a deep understanding of target customer segments (essential for data-driven targeting such as ABM strategies)
  • Visibility into your competitor landscape (crucial in a fast moving marketplace)
  • Identification of new profitable opportunities (essential for business growth)
  • Mitigating risk through identifying external threats or influencers (such as political, economical, legal…etc)

One of the key focuses of the B2B Marketing plan is to translate all this knowledge into an actionable plan of attack focused on gaining competitive advantage. But before you can even consider strategy you need to stand back and consider your current situation…

Situation Analysis: Where are we now?

Many marketers have an instinctive idea of where their company sits in the marketplace, and over time businesses often settle into their niche.

But being comfortable doesn’t mean you’re in the right place.

With the digital boom creating a level playing field for businesses of all sizes, complacency is a killer. You don’t have to look far to see how nimble new businesses and start-ups such as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted the market, dismantling the success of former power giants. Would the latter have made the same decisions if they had been able to better predict what was about to happen?

Equipping your business with the right market intelligence is your only defence in a perpetually shifting and highly competitive landscape. This is one of the many reasons why research is key to your B2B marketing plan.

By giving you a bird’s eye of view of your business and the dynamic environment it’s situated in, market research will help you to identify who your key audiences are and how you can mitigate risk to gain competitive advantage.

Here are 3 key areas to focus your research:

  • Your Marketplace
  • Target Customer Insight
  • Your Competitor Landscape
The Marketing Audit

Before you start formulating the direction you think your business should be heading, take a moment to define your marketplace – understanding the context your organization operates in is crucial. It’s important to be aware of all the different factors that influence your business now and in the future. This is especially important if your looking at longer-term decision making.

In order to do this we recommend your research should aim to identify as many of the following as possible:

  • Macro-Environmental Factors
  • Micro-Environmental Stakeholders
  • Key Internal Factors

To ensure your research remains structured we recommend leveraging an audit model. Here are some of just a few commonly used audits we recommend to kick off your marketplace analysis:

Once again, to ensure you maximize your research findings, it’s best practice to run a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to collate all your audit findings. This makes it easier to gain a comprehensive overview from which to base strategic decisions.

Competitor Analysis

The sustainability, profitability and longevity of your business relies on the ability to deliver your customers superior value.

Traditionally this was relatively simple – less choice, accessibility and transparency made price a key differentiator of perceived value and customer loyalty.

In today’s multi-channel digital world, full of choice, information and competition, value is a lot more complex – we as marketers, have to work a lot harder to attract, engage and sustain the attention of our audiences.

In response, innovative companies are rethinking the way their business model creates, delivers and captures value (Marketing). This means, in order to stay relevant, you need to keep a close on what these businesses are up to.  How are they tailoring their marketing mix to deliver superior value? How are your target audiences responding to these new market entries?

This is why competitor analysis is critical.

Do a sweep of all your competitors, keeping track of all available services/products, features/benefits, pricing strategies, promotional channels…etc associated with your competitors. The more detail you can capture the better.

Then, like you have for your own business, run a SWOT analysis for each of your competitors. Draw on your research findings of them, how they present themselves and any press you can find. If you have contacts or customers in the industry, ask them for their opinion. The more you can understand who you’re up against, the better you can tailor your strategy to achieve greater competitive advantage.

As the competitive landscape is perpetually shifting with new challengers emerging with greater speed than ever before, regular competitor analysis is critical.

Customer Analysis

Without demand for your products or services you have no business. That’s why conducting research about your customers, their needs, preferences and perceptions is vital. This is especially crucial if you are considering changing your current market offering or if you are wishing to leverage targeting tactics such as account-based marketing (ABM) in your strategy. Afterall, the success of your marketing campaigns rest on your ability to understand what your audiences want to hear.

Primary Research:
A good start is to dive into your Customer database:

  • Who are your most profitable clients?
  • What are their salient characteristics?
  • What shared characteristics can be used to govern target audience segment criteria (TAL, ABM lists…etc)?

Interrogating your customer database with these types of questions helps you build up a deep knowledge of your most profitable customer segments. This enables you to identify who you should be focusing your attention on and how to set the defining criteria. This is also a great way to kick off your ABM planning if that’s part of your strategic ambitions.

Successful marketers are 242% more likely to report conducting audience research at least once per quarter, whilst 56% of the most elite marketers conduct research once or more per month. (CoSchedule)

As these stats show, regular customer insight is critical to the success of your marketing operations. Whilst analyzing your CRM is a great starting point for observing trends, collecting data from other departments (such as Finance and Sales) can also greatly enhance your research findings. The following template provides some key considerations:

Secondary Research:
Some stages of your marketing plan may require outsourcing the expertise of specialist agencies, publications and industry associations. It’s always worth considering the long-term benefits, of using other credible sources to obtain unique insight, otherwise unattainable.

The following research analysis is an example of where secondary data is hugely beneficial, especially if you’re looking to build a Target Account List (TAL) and are wishing to sense check the profitability of this audience. For example, you may have identified a list of target accounts that currently represent profitable opportunities, however before you put all your eggs in one basket, it makes sense to check the long-term profitability of this audience segment. This is where the following research is recommended:

Total Addressable Market and Serviceable Available Market
Once you have defined what sort of businesses your target customers are, you can start to work out the Total Addressable Market (TAM) – the overall revenue that is theoretically possible if you had 100% of the market share. Government data, trade groups and research companies can all provide useful secondary data.

Of course, it’s not likely you will achieve 100% of the market. Consider which portions of that market are going to be difficult or impossible to capture:

  • those dominated by established competitors
  • those you don’t have the capacity to effectively serve
  • those that don’t suit your strategy

This will leave you with the Serviceable Available Market (SAM).

Take a step back and look at this figure critically. Is it enough to sustain your business long term? What if you only achieved 50% or 10% of the SAM? Is the market going to grow or shrink? A sanity check at this point can help you identify other options and prevent a lot of stress later down the line.

Building out your Target Account Lists (TALs)

Up until now we have been looking at methods for collating quantitative data that can be used to justify decisions around targeting tactics. However quantitative data can not be solely relied on for giving you all the customer insight you need to make the best informed marketing decisions.

Only 42% marketers say they have conversations with customers as part of their audience research (Content Marketing Institute). This is a fundamental oversight in an age where customer obsessed strategies and emotive engagement tactics are dominating the B2B marketing scene.

Therefore qualitative research is highly necessary if you are to understand how your audiences perceive and ‘experience’ value. Uncovering this knowledge will pay dividends when it comes to B2B content marketing by helping you understand how to craft content that will resonate most effectively with your target audiences. The better you can understand your audiences and subsequently what makes them tick, the better chance you have of delivering successful marketing campaigns that drive profitable long-term relationships.

Customer surveys and interviews are a great method for collecting your own primary qualitive data. The below template uses open-ended questions to gather information that will help you construct a customer-centric perspective of your business:

How to enrich your B2B targeting strategy with audience insights

From your customer analysis you will have identified who your most profitable audiences are whilst collating further qualitive data that will help to inform your B2B content marketing strategy.  This requires not only knowing who your audiences are but also more granular insight into their preferences, pain points and buying behaviour.

Knowing as much about your target audiences will significantly improve your marketing activity by enabling greater personalization and relevancy. 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put audience’s informational needs first (Content Marketing Institute). In order to acquire the best insights, most B2B marketers must consider the role first, second and third party data play in helping to shape better customer understanding and data-driven targeting techniques.

First party data
First party data can be captured through your CRM and owned channels such as website behavior and cookie data. As it comes straight from your own audience it is highly valuable, yet it somewhat restricted – especially if you are looking to reach new audiences or wishing to identify where your key audiences go for information when they’re not on your owned channels.

Second and third party data
Audience scale, depth and diversity are all benefits second and third party data can provide. When used in tandem with first party data, insight rich audience profiles can be generated that provide all the knowledge you need to build effective customer-centric communications. These include real-time digital body language signifiers such as:

By gaining a deep audience knowledge, you are better positioned to know what your target audience want to hear, how they want to hear it – and when.

For information on how you can leverage business community insights from audiences that match your targeting criteria, check out our Intent Signals here.

Whether you are planning to conduct your research internally or externally, a research plan is highly recommended. This will ensure your research remains focused in order to return the most relevant market intelligence for your business. To demystify the B2B marketing research planning process, we’ve put together this helpful guide available to download now:

> A B2B Marketer’s Guide the Research Planning Process

Conclusion

Having a deep understanding of your target audiences, competitor landscape and market conditions is crucial for driving better informed business decisions. The more your marketing plan can be based on intelligent insight rather than assumptions, the greater recognition marketing can receive as a strategic role for shaping future success, sustainability and  long-term profitability. Three outcomes that if demonstrated, will help CMOs justify greater prominence in the boardroom.

Coming Soon – The Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing Plan

The post B2B Marketing Plan; Why It All Starts With Market Research appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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This market research guide is part of our B2B marketing planning series, designed to help B2B marketers tackle each phase of the marketing plan with greater confidence.

By breaking each stage into a digestible and actionable online resource, we aim to equip you with best industry practices, techniques and theoretical knowledge for effective planning. This article focuses on how B2B market research is pivotal to the success of your B2B Marketing Plan and wider organizational success.

Market Research Overview

Research conducted by the marketing function is highly valuable because it provides market intelligence specific to your business. With the digital means to capture real-time data and customer insights, CMOs are in the unique position to conduct and collate research that will help C-Suite decision makers make better informed decisions concerned with the profitability, sustainability and longevity of the organization.

How the right market insight can facilitate better decision making and investment:

  • Enabling a deep understanding of target customer segments (essential for data-driven targeting such as ABM strategies)
  • Visibility into your competitor landscape (crucial in a fast moving marketplace)
  • Identification of new profitable opportunities (essential for business growth)
  • Mitigating risk through identifying external threats or influencers (such as political, economical, legal…etc)

One of the key focuses of the B2B Marketing plan is to translate all this knowledge into an actionable plan of attack focused on gaining competitive advantage. But before you can even consider strategy you need to stand back and consider your current situation…

Situation Analysis: Where are we now?

Many marketers have an instinctive idea of where their company sits in the marketplace, and over time businesses often settle into their niche.

But being comfortable doesn’t mean you’re in the right place.

With the digital boom creating a level playing field for businesses of all sizes, complacency is a killer. You don’t have to look far to see how nimble new businesses and start-ups such as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted the market, dismantling the success of former power giants. Would the latter have made the same decisions if they had been able to better predict what was about to happen?

Equipping your business with the right market intelligence is your only defence in a perpetually shifting and highly competitive landscape. This is one of the many reasons why research is key to your B2B marketing plan.

By giving you a bird’s eye of view of your business and the dynamic environment it’s situated in, market research will help you to identify who your key audiences are and how you can mitigate risk to gain competitive advantage.

Here are 3 key areas to focus your research:

  • Your Marketplace
  • Target Customer Insight
  • Your Competitor Landscape
The Marketing Audit

Before you start formulating the direction you think your business should be heading, take a moment to define your marketplace – understanding the context your organization operates in is crucial. It’s important to be aware of all the different factors that influence your business now and in the future. This is especially important if your looking at longer-term decision making.

In order to do this we recommend your research should aim to identify as many of the following as possible:

  • Macro-Environmental Factors
  • Micro-Environmental Stakeholders
  • Key Internal Factors

To ensure your research remains structured we recommend leveraging an audit model. Here are some of just a few commonly used audits we recommend to kick off your marketplace analysis:

Once again, to ensure you maximize your research findings, it’s best practice to run a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to collate all your audit findings. This makes it easier to gain a comprehensive overview from which to base strategic decisions.

Competitor Analysis

The sustainability, profitability and longevity of your business relies on the ability to deliver your customers superior value.

Traditionally this was relatively simple – less choice, accessibility and transparency made price a key differentiator of perceived value and customer loyalty.

In today’s multi-channel digital world, full of choice, information and competition, value is a lot more complex – we as marketers, have to work a lot harder to attract, engage and sustain the attention of our audiences.

In response, innovative companies are rethinking the way their business model creates, delivers and captures value (Marketing). This means, in order to stay relevant, you need to keep a close on what these businesses are up to.  How are they tailoring their marketing mix to deliver superior value? How are your target audiences responding to these new market entries?

This is why competitor analysis is critical.

Do a sweep of all your competitors, keeping track of all available services/products, features/benefits, pricing strategies, promotional channels…etc associated with your competitors. The more detail you can capture the better.

Then, like you have for your own business, run a SWOT analysis for each of your competitors. Draw on your research findings of them, how they present themselves and any press you can find. If you have contacts or customers in the industry, ask them for their opinion. The more you can understand who you’re up against, the better you can tailor your strategy to achieve greater competitive advantage.

As the competitive landscape is perpetually shifting with new challengers emerging with greater speed than ever before, regular competitor analysis is critical.

Customer Analysis

Without demand for your products or services you have no business. That’s why conducting research about your customers, their needs, preferences and perceptions is vital. This is especially crucial if you are considering changing your current market offering or if you are wishing to leverage targeting tactics such as account-based marketing (ABM) in your strategy. Afterall, the success of your marketing campaigns rest on your ability to understand what your audiences want to hear.

Primary Research:
A good start is to dive into your Customer database:

  • Who are your most profitable clients?
  • What are their salient characteristics?
  • What shared characteristics can be used to govern target audience segment criteria (TAL, ABM lists…etc)?

Interrogating your customer database with these types of questions helps you build up a deep knowledge of your most profitable customer segments. This enables you to identify who you should be focusing your attention on and how to set the defining criteria. This is also a great way to kick off your ABM planning if that’s part of your strategic ambitions.

Successful marketers are 242% more likely to report conducting audience research at least once per quarter, whilst 56% of the most elite marketers conduct research once or more per month. (CoSchedule)

As these stats show, regular customer insight is critical to the success of your marketing operations. Whilst analyzing your CRM is a great starting point for observing trends, collecting data from other departments (such as Finance and Sales) can also greatly enhance your research findings. The following template provides some key considerations:

Secondary Research:
Some stages of your marketing plan may require outsourcing the expertise of specialist agencies, publications and industry associations. It’s always worth considering the long-term benefits, of using other credible sources to obtain unique insight, otherwise unattainable.

The following research analysis is an example of where secondary data is hugely beneficial, especially if you’re looking to build a Target Account List (TAL) and are wishing to sense check the profitability of this audience. For example, you may have identified a list of target accounts that currently represent profitable opportunities, however before you put all your eggs in one basket, it makes sense to check the long-term profitability of this audience segment. This is where the following research is recommended:

Total Addressable Market and Serviceable Available Market
Once you have defined what sort of businesses your target customers are, you can start to work out the Total Addressable Market (TAM) – the overall revenue that is theoretically possible if you had 100% of the market share. Government data, trade groups and research companies can all provide useful secondary data.

Of course, it’s not likely you will achieve 100% of the market. Consider which portions of that market are going to be difficult or impossible to capture:

  • those dominated by established competitors
  • those you don’t have the capacity to effectively serve
  • those that don’t suit your strategy

This will leave you with the Serviceable Available Market (SAM).

Take a step back and look at this figure critically. Is it enough to sustain your business long term? What if you only achieved 50% or 10% of the SAM? Is the market going to grow or shrink? A sanity check at this point can help you identify other options and prevent a lot of stress later down the line.

Building out your Target Account Lists (TALs)

Up until now we have been looking at methods for collating quantitative data that can be used to justify decisions around targeting tactics. However quantitative data can not be solely relied on for giving you all the customer insight you need to make the best informed marketing decisions.

Only 42% marketers say they have conversations with customers as part of their audience research (Content Marketing Institute). This is a fundamental oversight in an age where customer obsessed strategies and emotive engagement tactics are dominating the B2B marketing scene.

Therefore qualitative research is highly necessary if you are to understand how your audiences perceive and ‘experience’ value. Uncovering this knowledge will pay dividends when it comes to B2B content marketing by helping you understand how to craft content that will resonate most effectively with your target audiences. The better you can understand your audiences and subsequently what makes them tick, the better chance you have of delivering successful marketing campaigns that drive profitable long-term relationships.

Customer surveys and interviews are a great method for collecting your own primary qualitive data. The below template uses open-ended questions to gather information that will help you construct a customer-centric perspective of your business:

How to enrich your B2B targeting strategy with audience insights

From your customer analysis you will have identified who your most profitable audiences are whilst collating further qualitive data that will help to inform your B2B content marketing strategy.  This requires not only knowing who your audiences are but also more granular insight into their preferences, pain points and buying behaviour.

Knowing as much about your target audiences will significantly improve your marketing activity by enabling greater personalization and relevancy. 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put audience’s informational needs first (Content Marketing Institute). In order to acquire the best insights, most B2B marketers must consider the role first, second and third party data play in helping to shape better customer understanding and data-driven targeting techniques.

First party data
First party data can be captured through your CRM and owned channels such as website behavior and cookie data. As it comes straight from your own audience it is highly valuable, yet it somewhat restricted – especially if you are looking to reach new audiences or wishing to identify where your key audiences go for information when they’re not on your owned channels.

Second and third party data
Audience scale, depth and diversity are all benefits second and third party data can provide. When used in tandem with first party data, insight rich audience profiles can be generated that provide all the knowledge you need to build effective customer-centric communications. These include real-time digital body language signifiers such as:

By gaining a deep audience knowledge, you are better positioned to know what your target audience want to hear, how they want to hear it – and when.

For information on how you can leverage business community insights from audiences that match your targeting criteria, check out our Intent Signals here.

Whether you are planning to conduct your research internally or externally, a research plan is highly recommended. This will ensure your research remains focused in order to return the most relevant market intelligence for your business. To demystify the B2B marketing research planning process, we’ve put together this helpful guide available to download now:

> A B2B Marketer’s Guide the Research Planning Process

Conclusion

Having a deep understanding of your target audiences, competitor landscape and market conditions is crucial for driving better informed business decisions. The more your marketing plan can be based on intelligent insight rather than assumptions, the greater recognition marketing can receive as a strategic role for shaping future success, sustainability and  long-term profitability. Three outcomes that if demonstrated, will help CMOs justify greater prominence in the boardroom.

Coming Soon – The Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing Plan

The post B2B Marketing Plan; Why It All Starts With Market Research appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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A wise marketer once said… 20 years on, here’s why Kotler remains as relevant as ever when tackling the B2B Marketing Plan…

It may have been 20 years since his critically acclaimed book based on his on worldwide lectures, ‘Kotler on Marketing‘ was published, but despite a monumental shift into the world of digitalization of marketing, there are still many fundamental lessons we can learn from his teachings.

As our previous articles have explored, rapid tech innovation fuelled by the rising demand for data-driven targeting techniques, has created a sophisticated digital toolkit for many B2B marketers – including wide spread adoption of programmatic advertising and marketing automation to streamline processes.

However, without the right strategic know-how or application of these new digital tactics, achieving marketing excellence is as far away as when Kotler’s book was first written.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kotler’s work and to help bring solid marketing strategy back into the equation, we’re kicking off 2019 with a focus on the B2B Marketing Plan – a critical component of every B2B marketer’s remit, however one that appears to have been neglected, as 61% of B2B companies have no formal marketing plan (Statista).

A shocking revelation considering research shows marketers who document strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t (CoSchedule).

What’s more, 88% of B2B CMOs say their C-suite peers turn to them more often for data and insight needed to strategize and plan, and 78% agreed that marketing’s influence on corporate strategy is greater today than it was just two years ago (Forrester)

Evidence that CMOs and their departments are holding significant strategic importance directly linked to the overall business agenda. A power shift that can be greatly advanced by understanding the pivotal role the marketing plan and subsequent activities play in the growth, sustainability and profitability of any business.

How can the formal marketing planning process help B2B CMOs gain greater corporate leadership opportunities?

You may already be running many digital marketing campaigns or demand generation programmes that yield successful marketing outcomes. However, can you confidently pin point and justify how every single marketing activity is helping achieve the overarching business plan? A marketing plan helps you do just this by aligning all strategic ambitions.

The following diagram shows how an organization’s planning exists in a hierarchy. If you’re operating in the commercial sector, the business objectives are over-arching and profit orientated.

How the B2B Marketing Plan fits into the organizational framework:


In advance of your marketing planning, key decisions and business goals should be discussed and agreed.
This should take the form of a Mission Statement and overarching Corporate Objectives as illustrated below:

As the marketing function, your role is to interpret these objectives as desired future direction and translate them into market-led objectives.

These in turn forms the basis of an actionable plan, that considers your current situation and prescribes the most attractive course of action, compatible with your core internal capabilities.

The more you can align your marketing activities to your overarching business objectives, the better you can demonstrate how the marketing effort is directly accountable for helping to achieve the corporate mission. What’s more, the nimbleness afforded by digital marketing tools and real-time data capture mechanisms lends itself to creating strong test and learning environment that drive crucial insight back into the business to bolster agility and strategic precision.

For example this may take the form of isolating a specific industry to target, designing a digital content strategy to drive brand awareness and create cut through whilst closely monitoring response in order to justify greater future investment.

Researching and planning your marketing strategy will help you understand how to achieve the above through reinforcing what makes your business unique, identifying which customers to target and informing the right tactics to leverage. With a plethora of customer insights and closed loop feedback mechanisms now widely available thanks to data-fuelled and connective technologies, creating an effective marketing plan is as pivotal as it was 20 years ago when ‘Kotler on Marketing‘ was first published.

How to tackle the B2B marketing planning process

While many people would rather be doing than planning, marketing is at its strongest when it’s structured. Think of it as your blueprint, the master document that aligns your B2B marketing strategy with your business goals whilst orchestrating your marketing objectives into a coordinated set of coherent activities.

It does this by helping you understand:

• Where you are
• Where you want to be
• How to get there (in the most efficient and profitable way!)

Whilst it may take time initially to systematically plot all the phases of your plan into one organized effort, in the long run you will continuously reap the benefits, as you navigate your competitive landscape with greater ease and clarity.

There are many theoretical models and planning tools widely accessible from PR Smith’s SOSTAC® framework and SMART objectives to an assortment of revised E. Jerome McCarthy’s Marketing Ps, how you apply them is entirely dependent on your own unique business goals.

However, the more time you invest in systematically researching and plotting your marketing plan, the stronger your strategic attack and the greater the likelihood of success.

What’s more, the marketing planning process itself is an effective way of getting all of your stakeholders onboard, ensuring you all share the same vision, knowledge and agenda.

To help make the planning process a more manageable task, we’re dedicating the next couple of weeks to publishing our new B2B Marketing Planning blog series – a masterclass in how to effectively research, plan and execute your marketing strategy to deliver outstanding success this 2019.

Every week we’ll publish a new bitesize guide right here on our blog, where together we’ll tackle each stage, one step at a time.

New download coming soon… The Ultimate Guide to the B2B Marketing Plan

Request your free B2B Marketer’s Handbook here

The post The B2B Marketing Plan – Why it Should be Top of 2019’s Agenda appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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Do you know your DCO from your DMP? We’ve pulled together key terms, concepts and AdTech acronyms into this easy-to-digest glossary of Programmatic advertising terms.

As B2B entry into Programmatic advertising continues to evolve and gather momentum, we’ll be keeping pace by regularly updating this glossary.

But for now, let’s kick off with these essential terms every digital marketer should know…

Ad Exchange – are auction based, automated digital-marketplaces that enable multiple parties including advertisers, publishers, ad networks, Demand Side Platforms (DSP) and Supply Side Platforms (SSP) to buy and sell display, video and mobile inventory.

Ad Fraud – occurs when an advertiser is charged for ad placements that have never been seen by human eyes.

Ad Impression – is a digital ad being called from its source and counted once (this is often as an ad being served on a web page).

Ad Inventory – advertising space that a publisher has available. This can also include email and inclusions on sign-up pages.

Ad Network – aggregators of Ad Inventory that package it together to sell at an increased margin.

Ad Server – a platform that delivers advertising to a user’s browser or app, to drive an action.

Ad Tag – a snippet of HTML that will contact an Ad Server and ask for an ad.

Agency Trading Desk – a Programmatic team / department within a Media Agency, responsible for all Programmatic buying. A centralized, service-based organization that serves as a managed service layer, typically on top of a Demand Side Platform (DSP) and other audience buying technologies; managing bid-based (biddable) media and audience buying.

Audience Extension – allows publishers to follow site visitors to other websites, allowing them to offer advertising media buys that include reaching an audience outside of their own properties.

Blacklist – a list of IP addresses that are suspected to be sources of spam, be fraudulent, or have inappropriate / untrustworthy content.

Brand Safety – measures that ensure that a brand’s ads do not appear alongside inappropriate content. Most brands use Digital Content Labels, Sensitive Category Exclusion, as well as Whitelists, Blacklists, and URL Blacklists.

Click-Through Rate (CTR) – the % of users who were delivered an ad, and then clicked on that ad.

Completion Rate – the % of Video Ad Impressions that are played to completion, meaning the viewer did not Skip or leave the video.

Cookie – a piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s browser that tracks browsing behaviour and stores information, such User preference of vertical (Marketing, IT, HR etc). This is how publishers collect information on visitors to sell advertising.

Cost Per Action (CPA) – CPA can be referenced in a few different ways. Generally it should be classified as the cost of user completing a desired action which can be summarised for digital as one of these actions (click, view, download, sign up, purchase) and is worked out using this simple sum (Action/cost) = CPA.

Cost Per Click (CPC) – average cost of user click-through (when user clicks ad).

Cost Per Thousand (CPM) – taken from the Latin word for Thousand; Mille. Refers to the price of 1,000 ad impressions on a web page.

Data Management Platform (DMP) – a system for managing data, such as Cookie ID’s. This centralized management platform will help brands manage 1st party data and integrate it with 3rd party data to tie user information and activity together to maximise the effectiveness of media buys. This helps marketers understand what content a User has downloaded, what emails they have opened, and how many display ads they have clicked on, to understand their interests.

Demand Side Platform (DSP) – a system that allows buyers to automate the purchase of display, video, mobile and search ads.

Digital Content Labels – Google classifications of content in alignment with brand safety. There are 4 main labels: DL-G (Content suitable for general audiences), DL-T (Content suitable for teen and older audiences), DL-MA (Content suitable only for mature audiences), Not yet labeled (Content that has not been labeled).

Effective Cost Per Click (eCPC) – if media has been bought on different metrics, you may use eCPC to compare different channels. This is done by working out the effective cost per action (for example,  if you bought clicks instead of impressions).

Floor Pricing – minimum price you can pay for inventory, set by the publisher.

Private Marketplace/Exchange – an auction model that uses Real Time Bidding and Floor Pricing to offer access to ad space on a specific website, on a direct (via DSP) and invitation-only basis.

Open Exchange Buy – an auction model with a variable CPM across all the sites available within the Ad Exchange space.

DoubleClick – a Google marketing platform that combines advertising and analytics.

Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) – allows marketers to create multiple versions of the same ad from a single Ad Tag, facilitating sophisticated targeting and optimisation. Ad creative is broken down into individual elements, which are pieced together in real-time to deliver the most relevant ad to specific users based on specific behaviours / traits.

Frequency Capping – restricting the number of times a specific user is shown advertising. A ‘Universal frequency cap’ refers to the ability of a DSP to offer a comprehensive frequency cap number for its entire range of inventory, rather than on a per-publisher or per-network basis.

1st Party Data – this includes sign-up, social, and CRM data. 1st Party is the most valuable type of data because of the quality and accuracy.

2nd Party Data – data sets that Google have modelled with the DoubleClick environment based on an advertiser’s 1st party data.

3rd Party Data – aggregated data from external platforms and websites. This data can be imprecise as companies have different collection methods for information of users.

HTML 5 – core technology mark-up language of the internet used for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web. Unlike Flash, which requires the installation of Adobe’s proprietary browser plugin, HTML5 is the one open, industry standard, universal format for building dynamic online creative.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – metric used to quantify objectives that reflect the strategic performance of online marketing campaigns.

Opt-in – a user’s indication that they are willing to participate in a given exchange.

Opt-out – a user’s indication that they would not like to participate, for example when a user opts-out of receiving emails or receiving personalized advertising from an entity.

Programmatic – digital advertising that is automatically triggered by any type of event and deployed according to a set of rules applied by software, algorithms, and human skills. Machine learning is increasingly used in programmatic marketing to provide automated optimisation to pre-defines KPI’s (see above). Programmatic advertising includes but is not limited to advertising purchased via real-time bidding.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB) – the Buying and Selling of ad impressions through ad exchanges and platforms. Price is determined by immediate demand. RTB works in milliseconds – a person visits a website and their information is given to an ad exchange where the auction for that impression occurs.

Retargeting – advertising to a group based on previous actions or ads viewed.

Return on Ad spend (ROAS) – is the measurement of how many pounds you receive for every pound that you spend on advertising. It is calculated by taking (Revenue-Cost)/Cost.

Second Price Auction – the winner of an ad impression in an auction pays one pence above the next highest bidder.

Sensitive Category Exclusion – content exclusion options preventing your display ads showing alongside inappropriate content.

Supply-Side Platform (SSP) – software platform that allows publishers to connect their Ad Inventory to Ad Exchanges, networks and DSP’s at the same time, to maximise profit (Yield).

Whitelist – a directory of websites where an advertiser is willing to serve its ads. The opposite of a Blacklist.

Viewability – an advertising metric that tracks impressions that can be seen by users.

Viewable Impression – a metric that determines how much of an ad needs to be viewable or how the user needs to view the ad for it to be counted as an impression.

XML (Extensible Mark-up Language) – a data delivery language that is often used to deliver product feeds for online shops.

Yield – a publisher’s income / return of investment.

Yield Optimisation – technique used by ad servers to determine the value of ad impressions and maximise revenue from potential advertisers.

To find out how you can implement some of these concepts into your own campaigns, check out InboxNEXUS.

The post A Jargon Busting Guide to B2B Programmatic Advertising appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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The digital revolution is well and truly underway – but that’s hardly news, especially if you read our previous article,  Is B2B Marketing Ready for Programmatic Advertising?

It’s also well documentated how the programmatic revolution continues to gather momentum in the B2C space, whilst progress in the B2B sphere has been more glacial, due in part to smaller budgets, niche audiences and constraints around good quality data.

Perhaps what’s less observed is how B2B is on the cusp of change, as increasing sophistication in Data Analytics and Attribution Modelling is helping justify larger B2B media investment. This article looks at how the future of B2B digital marketing is carving out its own ecosystem.

We asked one of our in-house programmatic and RTB specialists, Jasdeep, for his expert opinion…

Forecasted Trends for 2019

Research company eMarketer suggests there will be continued (albeit less drastic) growth in UK Programmatic buying until 2019, going from £1.99 billion ($2.69 billion) in 2015, to £3.39 billion ($4.58 billion) in 2017, and £4.52 billion ($6.10 billion) by 2019.

However there remain a number of wide ranging and significant challenges; spanning from Brand Safety and Ad fraud, to a lack of alignment around definitions, to supply-chain transparency concerns.

Additionally, the implementation of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in May 2018 has, and will continue to have broad-reaching implications across all areas of the digital media industry, and Programmatic buying is no exception.

In today’s mobile-first, always-on world, brands need to be more ‘joined-up’ in their communications in a multi-channel way, whilst ensuring data compliance.

The Adoption of B2B Programmatic

‘The early-bird may get the worm – but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese’. That’s the benefit of not diving into a technology simply because you can. B2B marketers have instead chosen to largely hold-back on Programmatic Buying because technology and data didn’t yet facilitate their need to influence specific groups of business decision-makers while at their most receptive.

Adoption however is growing, on both the advertiser and publisher side, for example ‘Audience Extension’, (the practice of allowing an advertiser to serve ads to a publisher’s audience on websites other than their own) continues to become a standard strategy for advertisers. Furthermore ‘data-driven’ approaches such as CRM Onboarding, IP Targeting and Audience Targeting are now far more likely to receive approval and investment.

We are finally seeing real innovation take place in the B2B space, with CRM and Marketing Automation systems beginning to integrate with Data Management Platforms (DMPs); a centralized system for collecting and analyzing large sets of data originating from disparate sources. Oracle has now fully integrated Bluekai and Salesforce has fully integrated Krux.

Arguably however the biggest news in the B2B Mergers & Acquisition space is the news that software behemoth Adobe is to acquire leading B2B Marketing Automation business Marketo for a staggering $4.75 billion, placing it in a strong position in Enterprise Marketing as it looks to compete with Salesforce, Oracle and SAP, signaling how serious the San Jose giant is about the B2B Marketing space.

All of these solutions are allowing B2B Marketers to run data-driven messaging within integrated multi-channel programs, to deliver precise messaging and content to tightly defined audiences across the Buyer / Decision-Maker journey.

Progress still to be made…

Crucially however, good quality data remains a challenge, and whilst it’s possible to reach for example IT Decision Makers, targeting in more sophisticated ways than this can prove challenging.

Furthermore, whilst the industry has adopted a standard of at least 50% viewability, this is clearly a far from ideal scenario. It is for this reason that today’s tech savvy digital marketers should be aiming for 70% viewability, since this is far more likely to drive engagement metrics.

As with consumer marketing, storytelling is also an important element of today’s B2B marketing toolkit. As a result, it is key that your audience(s) are engaged at each stage of the content funnel, in a way that both makes sense and resonates with them. Dynamic creative can play a pivotal role in ensuring that this is achieved, and should not be considered exclusive to the consumer marketing space.

Best Practice

This is why the approach to programmatic buying in B2B needs to revolve around coupling high-quality 1st party data-driven messaging with content rich, contextually relevant environments, in a transparent and verifiable way.

This approach facilitates the engagement and targeting of historically difficult to reach audiences, with messaging created specifically for them. Demanding B2B audiences are evolving, and expect to be engaged with best-in-class thought leadership across platforms and devices.

Consequently, the marketers mind-set should move from a media-centric view towards an audience-centric one, using 1st Party data to power Programmatic buying that reaches key Business Decision-Maker audiences across the entirety of the internet. This creates the possibility of reaching them beyond simply the publisher vertical sites.

This has resulted in hyper efficient media-buying, which when coupled with personalized messaging and content, enables best-in-breed programmatic buying for B2B marketers.

To understand more about how programmatic features in our product set, visit InboxNEXUS here

The post B2B Programmatic Buying – Demystified appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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By 2019, programmatic advertising will most probably account for about two-thirds of the world’s digital display advertising (martechcube).

There’s no doubt programmatic advertising is one of the fastest growing areas of AdTech, connecting advertisers with publishers to get targeted, relevant content in front of the most appropriate audience demographics, effectively and seamlessly.

However, whilst the value of programmatic ads for B2C campaigns is already well known, the B2B market as a whole has been much slower on the uptake. Why is this?

Research suggests the progression of programmatic’s journey into the B2B market has been hampered by inhibiting factors such as  lack of value chain transparency, concerns over brand safety, and effective B2B audience targeting (Dun & Bradstreet).

All of these factors combined mean, even some of the most progressive and forward-thinking B2B marketing specialists have held off on dedicating some of their ad budget to programmatic. But in an aggressively competitive B2B landscape where tech has created an even playing field for businesses for all sizes – what’s the cost of late programmatic adoption?

The insidious forwards march of programmatic AdTech waits for no one, and with industry big hitters such as LinkedIn now offering prime ad real estate via programmatic, B2B marketers who aren’t exploring their options in this area are likely to get left behind – fast (LinkedIn).

So, how can B2B marketers get ready for programmatic advertising? We’ll answer this question and cover some of the key points worth considering, within this article.

The main limitations of programmatic for B2B marketing

Whilst B2C programmatic is thriving and growing year on year, B2B’s growth within the programmatic sphere has been somewhat slower and more speculative.

This is in large part due to the inherent challenges that programmatic can pose to B2B ad buyers, leading to a state of extreme cautiousness across the market as a whole.

3 core challenges and potential limitations of B2B programmatic include:
  • B2B audience targeting.

42% of B2B marketers cited targeting the right audience as their number 1 challenge for programmatic (Dun & Bradstreet).

B2B-specific audience targeting – or a lack of it – has historically been a significant challenge for B2B ad buyers. Getting high-value B2B publishers on board with offering programmatic ad space is something that remains an issue, particularly among smaller and niche publishers.

This has resulted in limitations on the number of viable publisher channels available to B2B advertisers, which a survey by Ad Exchanger determined has resulted in 85% of B2B programmatic advertisers targeting their demographics via a combination of B2B and B2C platforms.

However, it appears the tides are turning…

With the rapid growth of data-driven targeting strategies deployed by marketers, account-based marketing (ABM) is driving demand for programmatic advertising. Buying platforms, data providers and publishers formally the preserve of B2C marketers are now responding to this demand, opening up new opportunities for B2B marketers to extend their advertising ecosystem (Forrester).

  • Lack of value chain transparency.

The ability to track hard data and identify direct correlations between programmatic ad spend and a resulting uptick in sales or acquisitions is something else that has long frustrated B2B marketers, who are highly data-driven and usually less able to justify ad spend without hard results to support it.

Better communication and understanding of key metrics between internal teams, ad agencies and ad tech partners is one way to combat to transparency issues. By mapping the whole ecosystem, assigning key performance indicators (KPIs) and using a data-driven algorithms to forecast and monitor spend, many perceived transparency issues can be resolved.

In fact, 23. 90% of B2B brands and agencies believe the use of data and analytics is changing how they approach advertising and marketing (Dun & Bradstreet).

Additionally, the desires of B2B marketers to deal with hard data to demonstrate value chain transparency is another call that programmatic ad agencies have responded to, with the majority of programmatic ad exchanges that target the B2B market integrating comprehensive data management platforms with CRM and MA functionality built in.

  • Brand safety.

Programmatic ads have an industry-wide standard of 16% fraud – which is lower than other display ads (Digital Marketing Institute).

However, concerns over brand safety is perhaps the biggest sticking point for B2B marketers considering programmatic ad real estate – because programmatic ad buying is automated, exactly how and where brand ads appear is something that buyers have only a limited level of control over. Historically, this has resulted in some highly damaging and well-publicized automated brand ad placements – such as the placement of Mercedes Benz ads within YouTube videos created by both neo-Nazi organisations and Islamic extremists (The Times).

In response to transparency and brand safety concerns, 51% of marketers have aggressively updated blacklists and 45% have targeted whitelists. (ANA/Forrester). Whilst the AdTech industry as a whole works towards promoting brand safety and building trust through advocating best practice guidelines to all parties in the interactive advertising landscape (IAB).

The growth of programmatic advertising within the B2B marketing sphere

Adoption rates for programmatic within the B2B sphere is on the rise – both in terms of advertisers and the publishers that are partnering up with programmatic ad exchanges to meet the ever-increasing demand, and the amount of ad spend that B2B marketers are willing to dedicate to programmatic (Marketing Profs).

A niche market of programmatic ad exchanges dedicated to serving B2B buyers has also developed, such as BPA’s hallmark B2B Exchange, a closed marketplace for B2B media buying. LinkedIn’s move over to the programmatic selling of their own ad real estate, which began in 2016, is another benchmark of the B2B market’s increasing desire to enter the programmatic arena.

Ultimately, for B2B marketing to fully embrace programmatic ad buying, programmatic publishers and ad exchanges still have some way to go when it comes to providing the necessary data B2B marketers want and need before they will consider spending significant amounts of money on programmatic ad placement.

Scalability is another issue – for B2C programmatic, the potentially desirable audience demographics are wide and diverse, whilst for B2B, bespoke targeting of a much smaller niche with a high level of accuracy is naturally vastly more important than simply reaching a large subset of a certain demographic of the population.

B2B marketing buyers are willing to pay for exposure when their desired audiences can be targeted accurately, but the value has to be there to make this spend worthwhile.

Despite this, programmatic for B2B is on the up regardless, and AdWeek BrandShare reports that 63% of B2B marketers planned to increase their programmatic ad spend this year.

So, is B2B marketing ready for programmatic to really take off?

The rapid increase in sales of our own programmatic advertising solution InboxNEXUS, suggests brands have already hit the ground running. For more information on how you can take the plunge, check out InboxNEXUS here.

The post Is B2B Marketing Ready for Programmatic Advertising? appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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Let the countdown begin!

We could have bought you 25 days of snow scenes and festive nut crackers but as digital fanatics, we’ve thought of something far better.

Every day we’ll be posting a fresh insight from the world of programmatic advertising. Giving you a unique overview of the current state of B2B advertising, along with data-fuelled future predications.

What better way to get excited about 2019 and all the new B2B media planning and advertising opportunities it will bring?!

DAY 1:

By 2019, programmatic advertising will most probably account for about two thirds of the world’s digital display advertising (martechcube)

DAY 2:

50% of marketers are buying mobile programmatically (IABUK)

DAY 3:

The first 100% programmatic ad campaign was launched by Adobe in 2017 (Adobe)

DAY 4:

62% of media-buying professionals increasing spend on programmatic TV in the next 6 months, say the main benefit is reaching a more targeted audience (Adobe Digital Insights)

DAY 5:

In response to transparency concerns, 51% of marketers have aggressively updated blacklists and 45% have targeted whitelists (ANA/Forrester)

DAY 6: ???

Can’t wait? For more on B2B programmatic advertising, check out InboxNEXUS.

The post The 25 days of…Programmatic Advertising appeared first on Inbox Insight.

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