Technique 2 minutes, 50 second read Rob Skinner, Managing Director, Skout
We recently reported on a worrying dichotomy in the B2B marketing world. Despite appreciating the importance of integration for marketing effectiveness, our research showed many B2B marketers fail to drive through coordinated multi-channel campaigns.
While there’s a will to connect marketing channels and activities for more fruitful outcomes, improved value and better performance, the way to do so isn’t very clear. So, what needs to change?
Here are four areas that B2B marketers should consider:
1. Build a cross-functional democratised marketing team
Making sure ‘the board is on board’ is an age-old notion. But today the need for internal buy-in also extends to other business functions.
Marketing is becoming increasingly democratised through activities like social media that rely on employee cooperation. It’s also a big part of the customer journey involving many functions such as sales, customer service, aftercare and accounts. If the wider organisation still calls marketing ‘the colouring in department’ there’s some education and bridge-building to do. Wider organisational buy-in, and co-operation, is critical.
2. Strategise before you plan, then strategise again
The issue with a lot of marketing programmes and campaigns is that they take a linear approach to planning, rather than a cyclical approach. But who gets everything right first time?
This is where integration plans fall off the radar. The strategy starts as integrated, but as tactical planning goes into motion, it’s easy to forget the nuances of the strategy and start producing content and using channels in a siloed mentality. A strategy might be, ‘we are going to position ourselves as an agile alternative to the market leader by aggressively targeting its weaknesses within its typical customer markets.’ Then the activity for doing so becomes a single-channel de-positioning PR campaign. Remembering to review and re-strategise helps to stop integration becoming diluted.
3. Work backwards along the customer journey
The customer journey is in many ways the backbone of an integrated marketing strategy.
Imagine the customer being the base of tree trunk, fed by all the different branches, twigs and leaves. Working backwards, and tracking all the connections, touch points and influences along each step, is vital to understanding what marketing programmes should be feeding into the customer journey at different stages, and what channels should be used, too.
4. Create adaptable content once and use it many times
One of the biggest issues we find when it comes to integration is the appropriateness of the content produced. It is too easy to jump straight onto a specific tactic or style of content, often because it’s something fashionable or something familiar. A remedy to this is forgetting about ‘what you want to produce’ and focusing first on the story that needs to be told and who needs to hear it.
Developing campaign narratives and ‘crude content’ such as research (crude as in natural or raw state, before refinement) must be done before the decisions can be made about what actual content assets are going to be developed. Doing this, along with other steps above, ensures that a clear campaign strategy is in place before tactical decisions are made. Then, more adaptable core marketing content can be developed, and refined further for use across various media and channels.
There’s obviously a desire to drive integration in B2B marketing but the path is not always clear. These steps can help marketers to get back on the path.