Last week, the digital team led a hands-on consultative session for a client, covering a variety of topics in digital marketing to help better position that client for success.
The session featured a combination of lectures and hands-on activities. Topics included content strategy, buyer persona development, social media, email marketing and much more. It was our first time hosting anything like this, and the time spent was well invested.
Many of our clients in B2B technology industries (our primary practice area as an agency) are faced with an interesting challenge. Like all other industries, this space is undergoing a lot of change. Primarily, it’s saturated with many new competitors, giving prospects more choices for selecting a provider than ever before.
At the same time, there are two audiences with significant decision-making power. The first are the older, legacy purchasers who have been in the workforce for years and prefer to consume information the way they always have – as a physical brochure, or an article or ad in a print magazine or trade website.
Then there’s the millennial influence. A recent Forbes article says that millennials make up 40 percent of today’s workforce and this will grow to 75 percent in 10 years. Just like in other industries, millennials are maturing into established positions within B2B technology companies.
Unlike previous generations, millennials grew up on cellphones and Google, researching everything they buy on their own before ever contacting a salesperson. Since this audience is accustomed to shopping in the B2C world on their terms rather than the brand’s, they have dramatically disrupted the buying cycle in the B2B world as well.
Reaching both types of buyers is a significant challenge – to say the least.
B2B technology brands need to market to a younger audience through a well-thought out digital strategy while not leaving behind prospects who still depend on getting their information from print publications. Our two-day session helped the client understand how to meet the demands of their younger audience and create a balanced, integrated marketing strategy.
One of the most productive exercises we did was a complete audit of their blog that analyzed the topics, the personas they spoke to and where in the marketing funnel that content applied. Our analysis showed that nearly every post was bottom-funnel content (meaning it should only be shown to buyers who’d already shortlisted our clients) rather than top of the funnel, where most blog posts should be.
To help the client think differently about their content strategy, we picked a market that they are targeting and built an integrated campaign in which everything works together. We began with topics for a whitepaper, then added blog posts that would help drive visitors to convert on the website, along with relevant content pages that would work well for search.
By the end of the exercise, the client had the necessary skills to apply it to their current initiatives on their own. When working with clients, we’ve found that it’s easiest to deliver the results they’re looking for when there is someone on their team who is dedicated to understanding the overall strategy – and who will become an advocate within their own organization for the work we’re doing.
While we like to be an extension of our client’s marketing team, we know we can’t be present at every marketing meeting, nor are we working at their offices every day. That’s why sessions like this one are so important; they make it possible for our client to apply what they’ve learned to every conversation, to help get complete alignment from their own stakeholders.
Of course, no client visit is complete without a little fun. A few of us took the client out to their first-ever Yankees game and spent some time beforehand checking out the new steakhouse inside the stadium.
It gave everyone a chance to unwind while enjoying some food and drinks over a baseball game. What could be better? Thanks to a successful visit, the client is planning to return every quarter to continue learning best practices for incorporating a digital strategy into their marketing efforts.
We hope to see more clients follow with similar visits in the near future.