In just the past 90 days, B2B marketing has been turned completely upside down. Life has changed. Revenue projections have changed. And there are more changes to come as we head slowly out of our stay-at-home environments and back into the world. This means that, as marketers, we need to prepare for what is sure to be a bigger and better 2021. And scaling will be absolutely critical.
With so many exciting technologies available—data enrichment tools to help with personalization at scale, machine learning, conversational AI, and predictive analytics to name just a few—where to invest in martech has got to be the single biggest thing keeping CMOs awake at night.
No matter where you are on the martech spectrum, here are a few very smart moves you can make now that will help you meet 2021 head-on (without blowing up your budget).
Given the millions of customer touchpoints you’re collecting across a multitude of channels and systems, consider investing in a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP is a central platform that connects to all of your business systems—your CRM, web forms, spreadsheets, email systems, social media channels, website—to give you a single view of your customer: how many times they’ve been to your website, who they are, how many of your competitors they’ve interacted with, where they are in the buying cycle, and, ultimately, whether they are worth your time and investment.
A CDP integrates all of the information you’ve collected—as well as data from second and third parties—to build customer profiles that can inform your marketing efforts. A CDP also affords teams across your organization—sales, marketing, and customer success, for example—access to a single view of every customer, which helps prevent misinformation while improving team integration and better alignment to company goals.
If you were doing ads on Facebook in 2012, you were probably acquiring a customer for around thirty cents. Today, everybody’s fighting for ad space—that same customer might cost you three dollars. But there are ways to be smarter about customer acquisition, not only to lower costs but also to more closely target your ideal audience.
One way is to find new, emerging channels that don’t have a lot of brand competition. If you’re targeting the 24-year-old technology-centric male, you’ll likely find him on Instagram, but he’s also probably on Reddit, Yelp, or Quora. So start thinking about how to make alternative channels and platforms work for you.
Emerging channels have cheaper costs and product teams who are willing to partner with customers to gain quick feedback loops and work with advertisers to make the platform work.
B2B marketers can learn a lot about brand marketing from their B2C counterparts. And beauty brand Glossier is a great example of what successful brand marketing looks like.
A game-changing addition to the mega-billion-dollar beauty market, Glossier has given big names like Estée Lauder and L’Oreal a run for their money by creating a new category targeting women from all over the world who’ve been underserved by the industry. Glossier talks with its audience in a very personalized, one-on-one way and has succeeded in creating a completely distinct new category of products within an existing, massive category.
The brand got its start when Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of Glossier, started a beauty blog called Into the Gloss, giving readers a glimpse into the beauty regimes of the fashion elite and an outlet to share the products they love. Direct product feedback on the blog formed the premise of her unicorn company, which launched with just four beauty products and the belief that “beauty isn’t built in a boardroom—it happens when you’re a part of the process.”
A key part of Glossier’s success has been the company’s commitment to its brand identity. Glossier has always been known for its signature pink hue, playful marketing voice, and images of diverse women with minimal makeup. And the company has literally built its business on one advertising platform: Instagram. By using Instagram Stories and highlighting customer “models,” the brand has been able to scale cost-effectively.
Targeting a specific audience at scale to carve out your own category will be a key strategy for brand differentiation in 2021.
As a marketer, I had such high hopes for B2B in 2020! But things happen. And as we come out of this stay-at-home environment, pent-up demand is sure to be strong across a multitude of industries, products, and services. Now, more than ever, B2B marketers need to think strategically about how to up their game to be ready for better days ahead. (Yes, I am optimistic!) So take the time to evaluate where to invest your marketing dollars and energies today so that you can hit the ground running for what is sure to be a bang-up B2B year in 2021.