Marketing is a subjective field – marketers don’t always agree. The strategy developed by one marketer could - and probably would - differ quite greatly from the strategy developed by another. But there’s one area in particular that all marketers do agree on – the impact of the changes in the market place brought on by the advancements in digital technology.
The B2B market place has changed; even from what it was as little as 5 years ago – this isn’t new news to anyone. But with these changes has come a whole host of new ‘Best Practices’ for developing a marketing strategy to effectively target the changing market.
Inbound Marketing is being lauded as the answer. The step away from traditional marketing tactics and a move towards a coherent messaging structure that draws your leads into the sales pipeline: through gaining a prospects interest and developing their trust rather than pushing your brand and products on to your potential customers.
And they would be right
The marketplace has changed and in order to be continuously accessible and engaging with your audiences you need to be creating content; developing SEO and using social media platforms.
The benefits of digital marketing are numerous:
- Increased visibility and brand awareness
- The earning of trust and credibility within a prospects mind
- Generating a continual flow of quality leads and traffic
More than half of the buyer’s journey is now done online and if your brand is already established in a prospects mind when the time comes for them to engage, the hard work has been taken out of initiating a sale.
There are probably a million and one articles online that detail the success of inbound marketing and its progression towards replacing outbound marketing completely.
And there are probably another million and one articles that give outbound marketing a bad name:
Jeff Rosenblum of Questus describes outbound marketing as “inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of shit.” And as a marketer he isn’t alone in his opinions; there are many others out there believe that the days of direct marketing are in the past.
But how fair is this opinion really?
Inbound marketing certainly has a few disadvantages of its own:
- It can take months to set up a fully comprehensive and sustainable inbound campaign that is rewarded with substantial ROI
- The qualification process is prospect led – leaving them with the opportunity to provide incomplete, misleading or even incorrect information
- It is heavily reliant on the prospect taking action – meaning that opportunities can be missed
And there are many advantages of an outbound campaign that are often over looked in the face of the accompanying disadvantages:
- There is greater control over the types of prospects targeted and the qualifying process is sales person led rather than independently by the prospect
- There is a low threshold for the investment of resources required for content creation
- Rapport can more immediately be built with the potential customer
- Results are more immediately generated with an outbound campaign as prospects are identified and qualified simultaneously
The problems with wading through the numerous ‘best practices’ that are advocated by marketers everywhere is that everything is so highly and uniquely dependent on the specific factors of your industry; product; and audience markets. This means that your marketing strategy to approach your industry; product and audience markets must also be highly and uniquely specific.
By choosing an approach that is solely direct or digital you run the risk of being unable to tailor your marketing strategy; maximising the advantages benefited from both and offsetting the accompanying disadvantages.
At a general level the goals of a B2B lead generation campaign would be to ensure that there is a consistent flow of leads which have been clearly qualified; with additional measures in place to facilitate the development of brand awareness and authority within the market place and to ensure the continued progression of nurtured leads.
Often with the time available it can be impossible to achieve all of these goals with a purely direct or digital approach.
And why should it have to?
Because after all – why have the benefits of just one when you can have both? The minimal turnaround time on a direct campaign means that in no time at all your sales funnel will have leads flowing through. Providing you with an optimal buffer of time and resources to fully establish and develop the digital side of your approach. By segmenting your digital content creation efforts you can first create the pieces immediately required by your sales team to assist with the nurturing process before going on to develop a fully integrated digital campaign.
With Sales and Marketing working on a cohesive campaign a better structured and comprehensive message will emerge ensuring consistency and quality across the two teams. Encouraging your prospects further along their buyer’s journey can be better achieved when both direct and digital channels are available to you as prospects can be engaged at just the right time with an approach that will be best appreciated. With a hybrid approach your sales and marketing teams can be pro-active in their approach to facilitating sales and therefore increasing your ability to demonstrate a tangible ROI.
INCo has encorporated a direct and digital hybrid approach into our own Lead Generation strategy. Download our eBook below to find out more about the benefits of a combined approach.