I was away on holidays for a couple of weeks before Christmas and landed back home on Christmas eve evening; I was feeling nervous hoping my kids Christmas presents would have delivered on time. Thanks to Amazon (or shall I say Santa Claus Amazon!) the gifts arrived right on time, which was a big sigh of relief for me. With ‘digital’ being part of our day-to-day lives like most of the other shoppers I did 80% of my holiday shopping online. As you would expect I looked around out quite a few online stores first before I made the final purchase.
But what happens on the B2B side where the purchase cycle is much longer, stakes are higher and complex decision-making process is involved compare to B2C.
According to CEB research, “57% of an average B2B buyer is through the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep”. More than 70% consumers use three or more channels when researching about a product. That means the buyers are self-diagnosing their problems and deciding on potential solutions before you know about it.
What are you doing about it? Importantly, how marketers can respond to the significant disruptions affecting the decision journey of the B2B customer.
Let’s face it; marketing hasn’t just changed. It has undergone a radical, seismic shift.Technologies from AI and machine learning to mobile messaging and live content have reshaped how we connect, share, shop and make decisions as consumers.
The best response to embrace this new environment is the integration of ‘ONE’ unified marketing voice across all the marketing channels offering consistent customer experience.
Integrated marketing is the holistic approach to communication in marketing. The term ‘Integrated Marketing’ has been around for a while and is not new but given the complexity in marketing landscape, technological innovation, 50% increase in new marketing distribution channels compare to last ten years.
Did you know on an average there are 120+ content delivery and marketing channels that marketers need to manage today depending on the size of your company, as per Smart
Insights. It has never been more vital and challenging than ever before to adopt integrated marketing approach in your strategy.
Here is my ‘Top 3’ recommendation to ensure Integrated Marketing is part of your B2B strategy:
- Integrate of your online and offline marketing channels – there is a great value in integrating traditional marketing channels with non-traditional (e.g. social media) as the same message from different channels will strengthen the outcome and drive higher probability for the customer to take action boosting chances for generating new revenue by increasing sales.
- Integrate Algorithm-based (AI) customer experiences with your content marketing – If you are one of those companies who’re skeptical about AI and hasn’t started using it you’re already behind the curve. In addition to creating customer personas, buyer segmentation and personalisation consider integrating AI and map it across with the customer journey. It will save customers time by not re-explaining the context every time they use a different channel to contact your organisation. Simply put, it will provide seamless omnichannel customer experience.
- Integrate content marketing with PR – This is a killer combo, as some of the companies keep PR as a separate channel. The earned media is essential than ever before. However, to be fully effective paid, earned, and owned media must converge and be integrated as far as is possible within your marketing strategies.
In summary, the integrated marketing will drive ‘consistency’ and keep things ‘simple’ which is key in making sure customers understand your brand story, the consistency in the message will help you gain customers trust that will lead to better results in getting them to act moving them closer to the sales funnel, and ultimately impact your ROI. Plus, keep the marketing costs low and keep your brand memorable and cut through the noise.