marketing

What is B2B Marketing?  (and what works in 2019?)

(Guest post written by T. Nugent & Associates COO, Katie Cochrane)

Sure, B2B marketing is no new concept, but things aren’t what they used to be — and in order for your campaign to be successful, strategies need to change, because it ‘isn’t as easy’ as it once was.

But why is it more difficult now?

Whelp, it’s called technology, and in turn, it’s called users.  Aka you and me.

Yes, B2B is one business targeting another, but businesses are run by people, and we the people don’t do things the same as we used to.  Just yesterday, I was openly sharing with friends that 50% of the new brand awareness that I experience and the purchases I make from new places is attributable to something marketed to me on Instagram.  Yes, you read that right: I am the quintessential, tech-savvy, educated, online user.

Did you notice that I said new brand awareness?

Because the truth is, a large part of preexisting or classic companies just weren’t/aren’t prepared to deal with the way marketing is today, and, as outlined in the attached article, a 2015 Bain & Company release states that nearly 90 percent of B2B marketing and sales executives do not feel prepared to sell to the digital-savvy customer — the evolved buyer.

So what does this shift mean for B2B marketers?  Adapt in order to survive.

1 - Experimentation

One of the most underrated yet important aspects of marketing is experimentation.  So often companies want a silver bullet, but there just isn’t one.  Remember, businesses are run by people and people are different.  Businesses today need to be willing to try and fail, and then try again.  Experimentation helps you understand what works for your brand and what doesn’t.

2 - Listen up

That’s what MBAs call ‘special listening.’  In order to know the person you are targeting better, you gotta spend time with them.  Follow your ideal customers on social media, subscribe to their emails, and join their Facebook groups. 

3 - Utilize your circle

Co-marketing initiatives by you and a partner attract new business to both brands by amplifying the brands’ reach.  Explore partnerships where you can cross-promote. When a company is featured or advertised in a curated email newsletter that targets a similar audience, the purchase rate is higher than it is for other marketing efforts.

Now more than ever, decision-maker positions of companies are increasingly being filled by late-20-to-30-somethings, and with so many channels to utilize, B2B marketing is only going to become more challenging. 

How are you doing with meeting the challenge?

T. Nugent & Associates knows what works and we can help you reach your target market.

To find out what we can do for you, contact us.


Digital derivative metrics - the key to resuscitating offline marketing.

I recently handled a direct mailing for a client.

The job cane in over the transom as we used to say in the 21st century and the client was old school.

However, it reminded me of a recent epiphany I had: digital will always have the best ROI because the “I” as in investment is so low.

However digital is what they call on finance a very crowded trade. Too many digital marketers are competing for a limited supply of human attention.

Therefore direct mail (which in my view includes print space advertising) becomes the contrarian play.

It has many advantages including its relative lack of competition. My USPS mailbox never overflows, whereas I almost always have about 10,000 emails. In addition, a physical piece demands some action: it silently screams “Read me, fold me, or if you must throw me away.” Something must be done with it, especially if Marie Kondo the clutter queen reigns in your condo. Email on the other hand is invisible and easy to hoard. Digital ads are even easier to ignore.

Direct mail also has a certain amount of inherent credibility. Subliminally it legitimizes its sender. Its delivered by a uniformed quasi-governmental employee. It often comes from authoritative sources such as creditors and public officials (who get to mail free with their franking privilege). It cost somebody money to send. Anybody can post online or send an email, but not everybody can afford postage and printing.

So there is merit to including mail in the omnichannel marketing mix.

However there are barriers. One of the biggest is modern media buyers don’t have any digital metrics to justify the ROI.

The answer may be found in a somewhat dated tech to bridge analog reality with the digital domain: QR codes.

I was a skeptic early on but once I got a scanner I became a user. They are particularly good when used in outdoor ads in colder climates such as real estate signs.

As print and direct mail make a comeback, QR codes or something like them are the best way to digitize readership and response metrics.these are analogous to digital impressions/email opens and clicks respectively. What would help is a metric that projects actual offline impressions to QR scans, developing a ratio reflecting the fact that only a small percentage people who read a print mail piece or add actually employ QR tech. This can be augmented by creating dedicated landing pages for each offline ad. The key is to understand that digital derivative print metrics are useful only as a relative metric vs an absolute measure if the ROI of offline ad spend; much of the value is awareness and branding which are best measured by traditional market research.

How T. Nugent & Associates Can Help

Our vintage associates’ (yours truly first and foremost) experience bridges the millennia so we’re old hands at the lost art of direct mail and print advertising in magazines.

Our youthful associates are digital natives. So, we can help you create and implement strategical programs to make the most of omnichannel options via integrated campaigns that maximize ROI.

For more information, go to www.tnugentassocites.com

The future of marketing: 4 industry leaders (including me) share their predictions

January is the season for predictions accompanied by the hackneyed caveat that they are very difficult especially when they involve the future.

So, it's high time for me to weigh in with predictions that I will remind you of next January if accurate and hope you forget about if I'm wrong. I peg the odds at 50%-50%.

Actually, the framework I'm using for my obligatory prediction piece is the "Think with Google" contribution to the predictatariat. 

Google asserts that "There’s never been a more exciting time to be in marketing. New technologies, trends, and customer behaviors are transforming the industry at breakneck speed, creating copious opportunities for those who are able to keep up — or better still, get ahead of the curve.”

Who can argue with that? Not I. Of course, having been in marketing for way too long, I could add that one could have said that at many points in the past couple of centuries. However, we truly do live in a time when a deluge of tech makes the impossible possible on virtually a daily basis. From the time I got in the marketing biz until about 1993, there wasn’t really that much new under the sun. Then the digital realm began to explode. Ever since, it has been a wild ride with one advancement after another challenging marketers to keep up with the pace of tech change.

On the other hand, the basic marketing proposition remains the same: use psychology to win hearts, minds, and share of wallet. The copywriter is still the key player. Most of the tech stack simply gets the logistics of the three “rights of Marketers”: right time, right person, right message,

Now for the fun part: let’s critique the three predictors’ predictions. 

1. Voice marketing

Abbey Klaassen, president of 360i’s NYC HQ thinks voice marketing is the future. “Voice is somewhere between an evolution and a revolution for marketing,” Klaassen predicts. 

I think it’s a fad.

True, lots of people are buying these little assistants or getting them for holiday presents. My “research” indicates lots of them are gathering dust.

In a mobile centric world, it’s hard to imagine the in-home voice devices will be the go-to interface. Speaking of (or potentially to) mobile, my experience with Siri has been botish at best. I know a few people who possess prowess, but most re using the good old virtual keyboard.

Then there’s the “Big Brother” privacy paranoia that the infernal thing is always on snooping on your every word. I predict voice will at least in the short term be one of those “great disappointments” along the lines of virtual reality.   

2. Intent

Matt Naeger, Merkle’s chief strategy officer argues “The next big thing is around predictive intent.” This new new thing would usurp old new things such as demographic-based personas and marketing funnels. 

I am personally unhappy about this scene I just mastered the buzzwords about this.

M y view is that the marketing industry tends to repackage commonsensical, ancient practices in new themes and memes in order to keep the consulting and tech pipelines moving (assuming pipelines are still in vogue). 

My personal 5-minute MBA has remained the same over two centuries: Find out what they want and give it to them.  Marketers since the beginning of time have been seeking buying signals in the form of new movers lists, RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value), and myriad other hoary techniques.

Intent is nonetheless interesting. There are many more data points available if you can capture and actualize them in as close to real time as possible. That is easier said than done but no doubt you will be hearing from multiple “partners” with shiny new tech objects which purport to do it. 

The older I get, the more I realize how great a role emotion plays even in the B2B space. How does one sense emotions that generate intent? One way is to monitor events that cause emotions and detect behavior that may catalyze them. For example, if I sell to the government and shutdown threats arise, perhaps that incites fear that causes buyers to pull the trigger on sales before the office closes.

3. New influencers

Jerri Devard, Office Depot’s chief customer officer, cleverly quips “It used to be that celebrities became influencers; now influencers are becoming celebrities.”  

What I think this means is that before you had to be a celebrity to be an influencer (e.g., a Kardashian). Now you can be an influencer even if you’re nobody and become somebody as a result.

I hope his is true, as I am a nobody and would love to become an influencer paid thousands of dollars every time I tweet (up from nothing at the moment).

What I do know is that this influencer thing is a BFD as Joe Biden would say. By that I mean marketers are throwing tons of budget at it. Sadly, this is because nobody trusts marketers or brands, so they need to hire outsiders who may command trust and respect. However, the paradox is that once their followers see through the aura of influence and realize the influencers are just paid shills, the magic dies.

Again, this is an ancient idea. We used to call it two-step marketing, word of mouth, and endorsements. He digital age has cloaked it in the mantle of social media, which is in and of itself under attack.

However, these things are tried and true because they worked. To paraphrase Lincoln (a 19th century influencer of some renown), you can influence some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time. You may even be able to influence all of the people all of the time if you can match each person with an influential influencer for them.      

Well, that’s my prediction about the predictions from Google. File these away and give me fame or shame next January, unless it still “requires further study”.

 Check out what started it all - here is the newsletter that prompted my post.

 

Social Media Q&A

In the last 10+ years, social media was born and it has grown to be one of the most important communication channels to market to businesses and end-users. Within the pharmaceutical industry it is no different, social media plays a unique role and I was recently interviewed for an upcoming article on this topic. Check out how I feel about the current and future state of social media in pharma.

How will any of the scandals regarding social media companies last year (i.e., Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Twitter bots, etc.) impact pharma marketers use of any of these platforms in 2019 and beyond?

It is difficult to predict how pharma marketers will respond to the recent blows to the credibility of Facebook and other social media, but Facebook in particular that cannot be ignored. The reality is that the political manipulation of social media has little to do with legitimate marketing, except insofar as it diminishes the overall credibility of the medium. To the extent that usage declines, Facebook and other social media will be of less utility to pharma and other direct to consumer marketers. However, Facebook has achieved such a massive market share that smart marketers will continue to exploit it for the foreseeable future.

What elements are crucial for pharma marketers to successfully work with social media influencers to promote their brands?

Influencers must be chosen with great care as to their credibility to ensure that they are bona fide. Proper credentials are essential. Any such content must be carefully prepared to ensure compliance with Medical, Legal and Regulatory (MLR) requirements.

As ephemeral content continues to gain popularity (such as Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and now Facebook Stories), how can marketers best use these platforms to engage with audiences?

Ephemeral content is challenging for, however the popularity of the more visual social media such as Instagram is compelling. Images as marketing tools are again challenging for pharma given MLR requirements, and the medium may not lend itself to traditional pharma creative. Therefore, testing of various approaches is indicated.

What will be the biggest changes or trends for social media marketing in 2019?

The challenges to social media’s credibility may impact on social media engagement. Anecdotally, I have heard people declare the death of Facebook, but to paraphrase Mark Twain I consider such reports to be grossly premature. It is apparent that the video as destiny movement has run its course, so the challenge will continue to be creating and targeting compelling content. Privacy concerns will make targeting more challenging. For example, Apple’s recent moves to limit retargeting may signal a trend to reduce the availability of data points necessary to micro target. This could particularly impact on healthcare professional targeting as most HCPs use iPhones.

5 marketing predictions for 2018 and beyond

5 marketing predictions for 2018 and beyond

1. 2018 will pose a historic opportunity for market researchers to fill the gaping hole in data sciencewhich is a paucity of data scientists. Market researchers are the perfect people to take charge of this role and need only to position and credential themselves accordingly.

2.  Market research will increasingly change from an attitudinal art to a behavioral science

Rickety email

Rickety email

DNAinfo is probably getting more attention in death than it did in life, which is no doubt the fundamental cause of its untimely demise.

While the journalism community laments the narrative of the evil billionaire crushing the unionist protagonists, I will share a mundane, prosaic observation that may have more to do with the realities of digital publishing.

The role of CMO does not=CEO

The role of CMO does not=CEO

In the last few years I've seen arguments that the CMO should be in charge of virtually every aspect of a company. I don't agree. I still see that as the role of the CEO.

The CEO is the ultimate authority and driving force of a company. The CMO should be as forceful and authoritative as other C-Suite executives, but no more or less. The CEO is still the ultimate source of power and should be, as she is accountable for shareholder value or any other organizational core metric.