KoMarketing Associates| B2B Digital Marketing Blog
KoMarketing is a B2B online marketing agency. It builds the connections that drive BtoB business success by creating highly customized programs continuously monitored and adjusted to optimize results in search, social, and content marketing. KoMarketing's mission is to help clients build the connections that drive B2B business success.
As data and analytics become more readily available to marketers, new research suggests that they are using it for multiple purposes.
According to the “Data Benchmark Study” from Freeman revealed that 98 percent of marketers now use data to secure their budget. In addition, 89 percent of marketers utilize data and analytics to make strategic decisions, while 76 percent use it for their corporate database/CRM efforts.
“The powerful impact of data is seen in the finding that 67% of top companies that have previously invested in data and measurement maintain a separate budget for this area; and are increasing their spend for marketing data, measurement and analytics,” wrote the authors of the report. “The additional third of the industry expects to maintain their investment level going forward.”
Real-Time Data in the Hands of Marketers
As marketers continue to invest in data and analytics, previous research indicates that real-time information is becoming a more critical component.
SAS, Intel, and Accenture teamed up with the Harvard Business Review to publish the “Real-Time Analytics: The Key to Unlocking Customer Insights and Driving the Customer Experience” report. The data indicated that 60 percent of marketers already believe that they it’s “extremely important” to have the ability to produce real-time customer interactions across touchpoints and devices today.
Over the next two years, 79 percent said they envision it being “extremely important,” and 16 percent of respondents who deliver real-time customer interactions across their touchpoints said they are “very effective.”
When it comes to video marketing, marketers are resonating more with their customers when they discover their content through social media, according to new research.
Animoto recently published the results of “The State of Social Video” survey in an infographic, and statistics showed that video (45 percent) is by far customers’ favorite type of branded content on social media.
Furthermore, 73 percent say they have been impacted by a brand’s social media presence when making a purchase decision. Approximately 32 percent of customers check out a brand’s presence on social media before even visiting their website.
Video ads have become the number one way that customers have found out about a new brand or product before making a purchase. Recommendations from friends (31 percent), Facebook groups (30 percent) and sponsored influencer posts (29 percent) are some of the other ways that customers are discovering new brands and products.
Marketers and Original Video Content
As video continues to pay off, previous research shows that marketers are investing more money on original video content.
IAB conducted the “Digital Content NewFronts: Video Ad Spend Study 2018” to determine how much money marketers are spending on original video content. Statistics showed that marketers spent upward of $10 million on digital/mobile video advertising in 2018, and $4.7 million specifically went toward original content.
In 2018, an average of 47 percent of digital video budgets went toward producing original content. This was an increase from 44 percent in 2017 and 43 percent in 2016.
As marketers turn to data and analytics to reach out to their target audiences, new research shows that they are becoming overwhelmed by the information at their fingertips – so much so that they are now worried about data exhaust.
Data exhaust is a term used to describe data that companies toss out because it provides less or no value to their core business.
To gauge marketers’ current attitudes toward data exhaust, Digital Element recently conducted the “Digital Data Exhaust Report.” Statistics showed that the majority of marketers (39 percent) are “very concerned” with data exhaust. About 29 percent were at least “somewhat concerned.”
When it comes to data that is thrown away, the majority of respondents (29 percent) said they toss aside up to 25 percent of data. Nine percent throw away between 50 to 75 percent of their data, while six percent throw away 75 percent to 100 percent of their data.
Marketers and Data Confidence
Previous research suggests that marketers are not very confident in the data they purchase from third party sources, which may be a reason why they are prone to throwing away their analytics.
Lotame published “The State of Audience Data Research Report” and discovered that when it comes to purchasing demographic data, accuracy is “very important” to the majority (84 percent) of marketers. However, only 20 percent are “very confident” in the data accuracy of their purchased data. About 68 percent are only “somewhat confident.”
Nearly 65 percent of marketers stated that they would be willing to spend five percent or more than what they are currently spending on data for information of higher quality.
It’s no secret that having a routine can be beneficial. After all, life can get overwhelming (hello reporting week) and it can be easy to forget just what it is you need to do each day.
For me, I have a daily routine that ensures I know what’s happening with my team, what’s happening with my clients, and what’s happening in the world of search. It’s a routine I’ve perfected over the last few years and while it may not be for everyone, it helps me stay on track. More so, it helps to ensure my clients’ sites are performing at their best.
After all, for anyone in the SEO space, you know things can change quickly and if you aren’t paying attention, you could go days or weeks without realizing an issue has occurred. Trust me, I’ve been there.
To help you stay on top of your programs and create a positive routine, I’ve put together five essential SEO tasks to do each day. Let’s jump in!
1. Analyze Your Analytics
A few years ago I had a client who loved to remove their analytics. Ok, they didn’t really love to remove their analytics but various team members would make updates to the site and they’d forget to put analytics back on the pages. It wasn’t ideal but it got me into the habit of checking analytics for my clients more regularly.
This can help for several reasons but I think the perfect example is what happened to me just yesterday. I opened analytics to see how Client A’s website was performing for the month. However, I noticed a big spike in blog traffic last Tuesday. As I dug in, I realized they sent an email blast out promoting one of the blog posts we had written.
This situation in and of itself isn’t a big deal but come reporting time or five months down the road, someone is going to want to know why there was a spike in the middle of February and why that post performed so well. Now we know.
Scenarios like this are pretty common and I could go on and on about the issues we’ve found by checking analytics (i.e. removed thank you pages, deleted pages, error coding issues). By making an analytics check-in part of your daily routine, you can get out ahead of any issues and ensure you don’t lose days or months of tracking.
2. Monitor Search Console
I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t love the updated Search Console. I don’t find it intuitive, I hate that they didn’t move over some of the basic functionality, and don’t get me started on the errors that have been going on.
HOWEVER – and this is a big however – I do appreciate that Google gives us any information at all (for free) and there is certainly valuable information we can take out of Search Console if we look hard enough.
One of the reports I look at daily is the coverage report. Are any of my pages throwing errors? Was there a spike in blocked pages? Is my robots file catching the right things?
The great thing about Search Console is it can give you the data more immediately than analytics. Take for example Client C.
A few weeks ago, one of our Strategists was looking in Search Console and noticed impressions and clicks to core product pages were down. Upon further review, he saw they were being blocked by the robots. It turned out that new pages were rolled out but the no index tags were never removed from the staging version. Oops!
While it may have taken us a bit to see this in analytics, with Search Console, we were able to see it immediately and take action.
3. Recap Your Rankings
Last Friday, I hopped into SEMRush before a client call and noticed the rankings had tanked. Did I panic? Nope. Why? Because I knew that there was some rumblings of an algorithm update (see #4) and more importantly, I know that daily rankings don’t really matter.
If rankings don’t matter, then why did you include that in your daily checklist Casie?
We use rankings as a guide but at the same time, they can be good indicators of what Google is doing. For example, if I see a certain piece of content moving up the SERPs or I see a piece of content switched out of a specific SERP, it helps me make decisions on next steps.
Rankings taken over time can provide amazing insights into the type of content you need and how your users are searching. Take for example Client D – Client D’s rankings for a priority term dropped. And then dropped some more. And more.
After monitoring the term for a bit, we realized what was happening – the intent of the search itself had changed. While Google had been showing top of the funnel content initially, they were shifting to bottom of the funnel content. Pages built for conversions.
We ended up building a new page, targeting the term, and giving users the ability to request a quote directly on the page. Within a week, the site moved back into the top position and stayed there.
Tracking rankings daily may not be that helpful, but it’s important to see what is happening over time. To do that, you have to know what is happening at any given moment in time.
4. Get Your News
Ask anyone who’s been in search for a number of years about why they love their job, and they’ll probably tell you one reason is that it keeps them on their toes. It’s true! In the world of search, you never know what may happen.
The amazing thing is, there are somefantasticpeople out there who are constantly monitoring, testing, and reporting back.
As part of my daily routine, I check Twitter in the morning (my list of SEOs can be found here) and if time allows, I spend my lunch hour reading through my Feedly. SEO requires constant learning and understanding and I am so grateful for others in the industry who help me get better.
Need a place to start? A few sites I recommend include:
Even if you think are doing everything in your power to optimize site performance, there’s a really good chance you missed something. There are a lot of moving parts in an SEO program and we can’t see everything. That’s why we have a team!
I personally try to check in with at least one person from each client team every day. I like to get a sense for what they are working on, if they need support, and what they are seeing. You never know what helpful piece of info you might get.
For example, last week a colleague was working on a blog consolidation project and when I checked in, we found an old blog post that could be refreshed and updated to focus on a new keyword we were targeting. After all, using existing content can be much easier than creating something brand new.
Remote? Tools like Slack, Basecamp, or even Gchat make keeping up with your team much easier. Don’t hesitate to say hello and see where the conversation goes from there.
Starting Your Routine
While getting into a routine can be beneficial, it isn’t always easy. Start by adding these into your weekly task list and gradually into your daily list. A simple trick is to add each item to your calendar so you always have time carved out.
By knocking out these essential SEO tasks each day, you’ll stay on top of your programs, give your sites the best chance to be successful, and improve your knowledge.
Give it a try – I look forward to hearing how it goes!
More marketers are turning to MarTech to achieve their top objectives. However, new research suggests that they are struggling to reach their goals and see an ROI from their efforts.
Ascend2 recently conducted the “Marketing Technology Trends Survey” and discovered that the majority of marketers (63 percent) are still “working on it” when it comes to implementing MarTech. In addition, most respondents (58 percent) said that they have only been “somewhat successful” at achieving top priorities with their MarTech strategy.
When it comes to challenges, the majority of marketers (52 percent) cited integrating disparate systems, followed by attributing revenue to marketing (47 percent). Increasing marketing ROI (36 percent), improving decision making (34 percent) and improving marketing efficiency (28 percent) have also been challenges associated with achieving MarTech strategy success.
Marketers Still Struggle to Grasp the Concept of MarTech
Previous research suggests that there is still room for improvement when it comes to marketers’ full understanding of MarTech.
Wipro Digital conducted a survey to determine how confident executive marketers are in MarTech. The results found that 75 percent of respondents are confident in their own MarTech proficiency. However, only 6 percent believed that their marketing team was MarTech conversant. Additionally, one-third of respondents believe that less than half of their team has the necessary expertise to deploy MarTech effectively.
“Equipping marketing teams with the right MarTech talent and expertise is only half of the battle – the real challenge lies in determining how MarTech fits into the larger digital transformation and enterprise renovation program, and how to reinvigorate operating models, culture, and leadership, accordingly,” said Andy Coghlan, Global Head of MarTech with Wipro Digital.
Video remains a prominent tactic for marketers because of its effectiveness, but how does effectiveness vary according to certain demographics?
To find out, Brightcove recently conducted a survey to gauge how various demographics interact with marketing video content. While 76 percent of adults aged 18 and older say they have made a purchase after viewing a video, this statistic is significantly higher for millennials (between the ages of 18 and 34) – about 85 percent of millennials have made a purchase after viewing a marketing video.
In addition, 30 percent of millennials say they want shoppable video, compared to 23 percent of their counterparts. Sixty-six percent say they engage with a brand after watching a video on social media, compared to just 53 percent of adults aged 18 and older. Furthermore, 57 percent of millennials find video with a call to action to be helpful; just 45 percent of adults aged 18 and old said the same.
Marketers Remain Dedicated to Video Content
Despite the differences in demographics and ROI, previous research suggests that marketers overall remain dedicated to incorporating video into their existing strategies.
Wibbitz published the “Navigating the Video Content Marketing Landscape” report and found that 56 percent of marketers in the U.S. are leveraging video content, and 61 percent have plans to do so within the next 12 months. In addition, 37 percent are turning to organic video channels, such as social channels, to promote their videos.
In terms of social channels, Facebook is the most popular among video creators, with 66 percent stating that they run video ads on the platform.
If you do a search for “B2B versus B2C marketing,” you’ll immediately see a bunch of articles about how B2B marketers “lag” behind B2C marketers. Then you’ll find more articles about how “B2B marketing is boring.” Or “what B2B marketers can learn from B2C marketers.”
Instead of just giving these articles the side eye and moving on, let’s really look at the issue. B2B marketers have a lot of challenges their B2C peers rarely have to deal with. These challenges aren’t trivial or easily overcome, either.
And actually, B2B marketers may not lag, or have so much catching up to do.
Many studies, of course, have shown B2C marketers ahead in terms of marketing technology and marketing best practices. Take some recent research from LinkedIn that found that B2C marketers are ahead when it comes to adopting marketing technology. LinkedIn Director of Marketing Solutions, Prue Cox, explained, “when we think about simple things like marketing automation platforms, and where AI is playing into it, B2C was definitely more ahead.”
Or is it? Other research, like studies done by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, found that B2B marketers have adopted marketing automation far more than their B2C peers.
Only 29% of B2C content marketers use marketing automation to assist with the management of their content marketing efforts, compared with 54% of B2B content marketers. That’s no rounding error, either – the B2B marketers are using marketing automation at almost twice the rate of B2C content marketers.
Using marketing automation tends to be a strong indicator of success for content marketing, too – at least among B2B marketers. 63% of the most successful B2B content marketers use automation, compared to only 39% of the least successful B2B content marketers.
B2B content marketers were also just as likely to embrace AI as B2C content marketers: 4% of both groups are using the technology. And 53% of B2B marketers reported using “Workflow/Project Management/ Editorial Calendaring” software, versus only 45% of B2C marketers.
Maybe B2B content marketers are different, but that seems to be a pretty good track record for adopting technology and best practices.
B2B marketers have even more to be proud of when you consider how complex their jobs are compared to B2C marketers. Not to put anybody down of course (B2C marketers have no shortage of things to be proud of), but B2B marketing is in some ways a very different game. Here are just seven challenges B2B marketers face that might explain why they might appear to struggle more than their B2C peers.
B2C marketers sell to one. B2B marketers sell to many.
Talk about a challenge: B2B marketers don’t have to convince just one person. They have to convince a committee. If the company they are marketing to has even 11 or more employees, a B2B marketer needs to educate and persuade not just one person, but three to ten or more.
This reality of buying committees may be why account-based marketing has been so successful for B2B marketers to date. The idea of a buying committee is baked into account-based marketing.
And while it’s common sense that selling to a group of people is harder than just selling to one person, there’s research that also bears this out:
The B2B buying cycle is way longer than the B2C cycle.
The average B2B buying cycle is 6 to twelve months. Compare that to the nearly instantaneous buying cycle for B2C purchases. Even large B2C purchases, like cars and houses, don’t usually extend much beyond a couple of months. According to ConversionXL, “60% of online shoppers start their research two or more weeks prior to purchase and “51% visit 4+ sites before finalizing a purchase”
This has a lot of consequences. First, it makes it harder to track buyers through the buyer’s journey, so it makes attribution more challenging. It also makes conversion rate optimization more challenging, because marketers have a considerable delay before they really know for sure if a new marketing tactic is delivering good leads. And finally, it means there’s as much as a year-long delay between when they pay for advertising and money finally shows up.
B2B products are often more complex.
Generally, B2C products are pretty straightforward. Skin care. Cars. Furniture. Even data services like phone and cable TV and internet connections are fairly easy to understand.
B2B services and products? Not so much. Just try to explain CRM software to your grandmother.
So why does this matter? Because the more complex something is, the harder it is to sell. There’s a golden rule in conversion rate optimization (and it was borrowed from the old door-to-door salesmen): The second a buyer gets confused – even a little bit confused – they bail.
The price point for B2B sales is higher.
All other things being equal, it’s easier to sell a $5 widget than it is to sell a $500 widget. There are more people who can afford the $5 widget, for starters. And you’re not going to get as much scrutiny if you’re only asking for $5, not $500.
B2B marketers have a more challenging time with pay per click.
Pay per click is one of the most reliable and profitable channels modern marketers have. And while it absolutely works for B2B marketing, once again B2B marketers face a challenge here.
And usually, they have fairly high cost per actions:
Cost per click is pretty high, too. Especially after you pull out the sky-high costs per click averages of legal and consumer services (though legal could be a B2B category, too):
B2B isn’t getting slammed for any of those metrics, but generally, B2B marketers do have it a bit harder than B2C marketers. There’s a lot of competition for their paid clicks, and because the value of each sale is so large, companies can afford to bid high. It’s still a winnable game, but ppc is an expensive place to make mistakes.
Many B2C brands can drive buyers to a store.
How many B2C stores can you name?
Now, how many B2B stores can you name?
No comparison, right? We’ve got B2C stores everywhere. B2B stores… not so much. Of course, B2B stores are often called offices, but the purchasing experience of being in a retail store versus being in the typical office are completely different.
Every time a consumer walks by a B2C store, they’re also picking up another ad impression. Their familiarity with the brand increases, and thus trust incrementally increases. And as every marketer knows, familiarity and trust close sales.
This is a squishy difference between B2B and B2C marketers, of course. But it’s absolutely a competitive edge. The closest thing most B2B marketers get to a store is in-person events (think of event booths kind of like pop-up shops).
And interestingly enough, live events are considered to be one of the most effective B2B marketing channels.
B2B marketers are under pressure to make a data-backed, rational case for purchase.
You can’t sell accounting software with the tagline, “Because you’re worth it.” That might work for skincare, but it’s not going to fly in front of a buying committee.
That said, it is true that B2B marketers too often try to persuade with reason and data. Charts and stats and studies are awesome, but even a skeptical buying committee is made up of people. Very human people, who are far more likely to make a purchase decision based on an emotional response, and then try to justify that emotional response with facts and stats.
Case in point: IBM’s classic “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” That saying (that value proposition) encapsulated the fear that many of IBM’s buyers faced: They were making massive purchases of highly complex products and services, and they were scared they might screw it up. So they’d go with the safest, no-brainer choice.
But while B2B marketers do need to appeal to both the brains and the hearts of their buyers, that’s not an impossible goal. A little humor, carefully applied, goes a long way.
SEO and Content Go to Couples Therapy - YouTube
B2B marketers have a lot of challenges. Nobody knows that better than they do.
But they also have a terrific opportunity. Because so much of B2B marketing is, well… a little flat, if B2B marketers can figure out how to add even a little spark to their marketing, they’ll stand out much more. A bit of spark and ingenuity can go a long way.
Although B2B marketers are still relatively new in adopting account-based marketing (ABM), new research shows that they are already seeing success with this tactic.
DemandGen recently conducted the “ABM Benchmark Survey Report” along with Uberflip and Vidyard, and statistics showed that 52 percent of B2B marketers have had an ABM strategy in place for up to a year. In addition, about 50 percent claim that their ABM efforts are meeting their organizational expectations.
That being said, the implementation of ABM hasn’t come without its challenges for some marketers. The majority of B2B marketers (40 percent) said that proving ROI/attribution is their largest issue when it comes to ABM. This was followed by sales and marketing alignment (39 percent), and personalization at scale toward target accounts (35 percent).
Marketers Growing Confident in their ABM Tactics
Despite challenges associated with ABM, previous research suggests that marketers are still overall relatively confident when it comes to this tactic.
Openprise surveyed marketing executives for its “2018 Marketing Operations Benchmarking Report,” and asked respondents to rank their responses based on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. When asked how confident they felt about ABM, companies with 501 to 1,000 employees showed the highest level of confidence, averaging a 3.73 response. Companies with more than 5,000 employees were close behind (3.55), followed by those with 251 to 500 employees (3.42).
“Surprisingly, respondents had more confidence in their ability to execute their ABM strategy than most other categories, suggesting the coming of age for ABM programs,” wrote the authors of the report.
As B2B marketers look for new ways to achieve their top objectives, account-based marketing (ABM) is becoming a popular tactic.
Dun and Bradstreet recently published the “Mind the Data Gap: 2019 Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising Outlook” report and discovered that the majority of B2B marketers (37 percent) now carry out ABM. About 22 percent said that they do not use ABM, but intend to roll it out in 2019.
However, nearly 30 percent of respondents said that they still do not use ABM. The researchers behind the report decided to look into what the biggest hurdles are to succeeding with ABM, and statistics showed that having an unclear strategy (35 percent) was the top challenge.
Other obstacles included a lack of time/resources (31 percent), a lack of understanding about ABM (29 percent) and an unclear picture of the customer journey / touch points (24 percent).
Confidence in ABM Continues to Rise
Despite some of the challenges associated with ABM, previous research suggests that marketers are overall fairly confident in their ABM strategies.
Openprise surveyed companies for its “2018 Marketing Operations Benchmarking Report” to gauge their confidence in this marketing tactic. Participants were asked to rank their responses based on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being considered the best. When asked how confident they felt about ABM, companies with 501 to 1,000 employees showed the highest level of confidence, averaging a 3.73 response.
Companies with more than 5,000 employees were close behind (3.55), followed by those with 251 to 500 employees (3.42) and businesses with 1,001 to 5,000 employees (3.33).
When it comes to reaching out to target audiences via social media, new research suggests that millennials are far and wide more receptive to marketers through this channel.
Visual Objects recently conducted a survey to determine how social media helps businesses drive website traffic. Statistics from the survey showed that millennials (90 percent) are far and wide more likely to click through to a business’s website from social media than Generation Xers (80 percent) and baby boomers (61 percent). Millennials are also more likely to use social media (26 percent) to contact a company compared to their counterparts.
The researchers behind the survey believe that younger generations are “likely” to use social media to contact a business because they are more familiar with this channel. Furthermore, millennials use social media “more often than older generations,” according to the researchers, which ultimately translates into them using it more frequently to reach out to businesses.
Trust Stands Out for Customers Across the Board
Regardless of generation, brand trust is a must among all customers, according to previous research.
Spiceworks surveyed 674 tech buyers from companies across North America and Europe to find out what means the most to them during the buying process. The majority of millennials (84 percent), Gen Xers (87 percent) and baby boomers (83 percent) said it was “critical” to trust a tech brand prior to making a purchase.
When it comes to making a company purchase, 75 percent of respondents believe that it’s imperative that the company marketing to them has a strong brand reputation.