In my earlier blog post, “Warming Up for 2015,” I talked about focusing on what you do best and leveraging resources to help you succeed in the B2B marketplace. Many times, our best resources are other colleagues and peers who offer a little different insight into what trends and issues they see shaping the B2B marketplace.
With that in mind, I’m excited to introduce a new series of blog posts titled “B2B Visions.” These special monthly posts will feature a short Q&A session I hold with B2B marketers and influencers who have been in the trenches and offer some interesting perspective on where we’ve been and, most importantly, where we might be headed.
In this inaugural interview, I speak with 18-year B2B marketing veteran Susan Daw. As Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Digital Element, the leading provider of IP geolocation technology, she has lived and breathed the digital transformation of our marketplace on a daily basis.
How has the role of location evolved in B2B marketing?
The Internet makes every company instantly global, which can be a double-edged sword for many. On one hand, the sales and revenue opportunities are immense. On the other, the competition increases—and not just from across the street. Providing one-size-fits-all content to online audiences is no longer effective. In reality, there are no longer “national” or “international” customers. They’re digital. And, B2B companies have finally realized that there is a lot of information that can be gleaned from knowing online users’ geographic locations, allowing them to put context around messages and tailor them to a specific audiences. Location-based data has definitely moved from nice-to-have to must-have insight.
What do you think has been the biggest impact on B2B marketing in the last year?
Obviously, the whole mobile revolution has transformed how, when and what type of information people consume. Communication channels are changing so fast, thanks in large part to social media. Today, companies are challenged to connect with people not only through multiple channels, but with relevant content that can deliver their messages at the right time. B2B audiences are no longer reliant solely on outside industry influencers. They are now armed with a host of digital tools to gather the information they need─on their own─to make buying decisions.
I think we’ll see more adoption of tactics to reach “people,” not so much businesses. We target a wide array of industries for our technology solution but, within each segment, we seek ways to better identify the person who is our target buyer. And, that person has preferences, behaviors, motivations, goals, etc., that can be put into context to shape messages that will resonant with him or her.
What can B2B marketers learn from their counterparts on the B2C side?
Again, the ability to personalize the conversation will certainly be applicable within the B2B marketplace. B2B buyers are consumers too, so they already know what that conversation should look like. B2B marketers must learn to better use technology to leverage the data and channels necessary to reach people anywhere, at anytime─not just Mondays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How will wearable technology impact how businesses market?
Much like the advent of mobile phones, these devices still appear to be in the fun consumer gadget or novelty stage. However, similar to how smartphones and other mobile devices have transformed today’s workplace, I see the wearable as yet another screen quickly competing for “air time” in an already crowded multi-screen business world. Honestly, I think of a wearable as just a more personal version of the smartphone.
Based on my conversation with Susan, I’m really looking forward to this new series of blog posts. I hope you are, too. As communicators, we love getting input from our colleagues on the other side of the fence, so to speak. How has B2B marketing changed from your perspective? What are you most looking forward to in this dynamic year of social, mobile and local marketing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.