When Engagement is Your Currency, Marketing Performance is Always Possible

When the economic landscape becomes a question mark, some marketers see disaster and others see opportunity.

The willingness to rise to a challenge is one thing. But being well positioned to seize the moment in today’s chaotic market is another. The reality is, performance is always possible but only if a marketing team is truly prepared to compete in a digital-first, buyer-centric environment. Practically speaking, that means the ability to take real-time advantage of data that gives you the richest picture of buyer engagement and experiences – so you can continuously adapt your approach and ensure you meet them with exactly what they need to keep moving forward.

Doing this requires a complete mindset shift. Think of this as moving away from traditional marketing (which is scalable but not personalized) and turbocharging ABM from what it is (personalized but not scalable) to what it should be. It’s ABM on steroids, a way to embrace agility, insights and engagement and perform on an entirely new level to drive sustained customer interest and commitment. It’s a next-generation marketing practice that combines the best of both worlds, aligning with what Forrester has noted is an emerging best practice: a convergence of ABM and digital marketing to bring the scale, the insights, the targeting and personalization, and the measurement. This new approach sets the stage for a strong pipeline and – eventually – fuels enduring loyalty and ongoing revenue.

Agility is your way to scale efficiently

Too often, marketers pay lip service to agility like it’s a nice-to-have, as if it’s somehow optional. No, in today’s uncertain environment, agility is non-negotiable. It’s the ingredient that enables scale, precision, productivity, cost savings and time to market. If you don’t have the ability to adapt and change, to move from four annual campaigns to 400, to drive relevance for micro-segments and quintuple your response, you just won’t make it.

The old days of campaigns – three months to plan, two to execute, another eight weeks to measure – are done. Clinging to this model, in today’s breathless pace, is a surefire way to stay firmly in last place. In contrast, agility gives you the assurance of knowing that in fact, you can compete and win (or lose and learn quickly!). Like engineers releasing new iterations of software on the regular, marketers must now embrace a sprint model with a virtuous cycle of personalized content - engagement - measurement happening every two weeks or sooner. This fuels a go-to-market approach where the content is always relevant, timed precisely for what the buyer is independently researching, when they’re doing so. 

Empowering everyone

Agility is the bedrock of this modern marketing approach but it relies on having empowered frontline marketers who can tune these short-duration campaigns quickly and very accurately in response to change. They can only do that with insights that come from a holistic, data-driven picture – not just of one buyer, but all the influencers within a company, and not just a one-time snapshot but a constantly updating one. When they have this accurate buyer image in hand – thanks to first-party behavioral signals – these marketers can substantially increase customer response because they can deliver what these buyers need, when they need it – in a self-serve way that aligns with a buyer-preferred, independent digital journey.

We saw this ourselves with a security company that’s astutely moved to a 24-hour campaign cycle. If there’s a widely publicized data breach, this company wants to be able to target customers who share similar vulnerabilities, using the breach as a timely hook to share actions to take – and upsell if possible. It’s a highly agile way to generate deep engagement: quickly leverage what’s timely (the breach) and what’s relevant (similar vulnerabilities) at a time when clients will likely be looking for solutions (the security firm). Imagine this approach at scale, all the time. How much more powerful your go-to-market motions could be as a result?

Engagement is the new currency of GTM performance

Today’s market landscape is markedly different than what it was even five or ten years ago. Today, there’s a plethora of channels and far more competitors, not to mention a breathtaking pace that’s 100 times what it was and a landscape so crowded and noisy, it’s hard to break through and get noticed at all. 

Just like those long campaign cycles are no longer valid, the typical form fills followed by a nurture campaign have also become irrelevant. People no longer have patience to fill out forms – and smart marketers don’t want to introduce friction into the experience. They don’t want a high-touch approach with the relentless pinging of determined salespeople. These buyers are quite happy to run a solo operation, doing research and engaging with the content and companies that most closely deliver what they need. 

Accordingly, our digital sensors must be vastly more sensitive, able to measure more accurately and meaningfully than ever before so we can better gauge who is engaging with our messaging and content and why.

Pipeline creation is about tapping into genuine interest from accounts and people, then turning it into sales momentum.

However, too many marketers continue to drive toward a form fill, an exhaustive nurture sequence, and look to iffy signals like page views and email open signals. 

In contrast, you can drive digital engagement by relying on a more sophisticated identification of people and accounts, beyond just relying on IP to account mapping. This is about cross-correlating IP to account mapping, outbound email tokens, and first-party cookies plus aggregating this data on a contact level. It allows marketers to nearly double the number of contacts. 

Next, we must determine what we are measuring. In order to truly expand our visibility and tap into genuine interest, we have to measure time spent on messaging and content, and derive out of it key topics of interest.

In fact, when all these signals come together, marketing teams can deliver a prioritized list of accounts to sales that are qualified for the digital environment in which we operate now, improving pipeline by a factor of five. It saves sales 80 percent of false starts and increases the likelihood of ongoing positive prospect response. 

The diagram below demonstrates how modern campaigns focused on sophisticated identity resolution and deep engagement insight produce 5x better results. Not only that CTA conversion is far better due to the highly targeted nature of these agile campaigns, but also surrounding the form fills are rich signals of well identified people and accounts presenting meaningful digital engagement as measured by time spent on assets, analyzed to surface true 1st party intent data.

So what now?

B2B buyers are increasingly designing their own journeys, choosing a wide variety of information and perspectives before they are willing to engage with sales. For marketers, this opens up the whole field – the entire buying cycle is now ours. That means for every account, contact and situation, there must be the ability to dynamically sense where the customer is and what they need, tailor the message to the journey stage and context, and leverage engagement insights as signals to deliver quality opportunities and pipeline as inexpensively and quickly as possible. This requires and organizational focus on:

  • Agility to move fast and effectively to meet every opportunity in a dynamic market
  • Meaningful buyer engagement that delivers a meaningful experience that accelerates the decision-making process  
  • First party engagement insights that signal what a buyer needs next, increasing the quality of personalization and focusing sellers on the best opportunities.   

This relationship-oriented model is easily applied to accounts, contacts, situation, and stage. It extends along the sales development process, designed to influence the growing number of participants typical with a B2B account. And it’s more effective than anything else we’ve seen.

The sea change is here 

When the economy is uncertain, and budgets tighten more and more marketers are leaning into the power of engagement. No matter what challenges the B2B market is facing, to generate pipeline, loyalty, and revenue, focus on experience and engagement. It will not only give your buyers what they need, but give you the 1st party signals to know for sure what they want from you right now. Plus when you have agile tools that allow you to adapt in real time, you can become a true partner to your buyers and move intelligently after not just any opportunity but only those with real promise. This helps us elevate our value to our customers and the brands we serve.

Performance is Possible. Dynamic is Doable. Agility is Growth.