One of the questions I’m frequently asked by marketers is what NEW tactics am I seeing others use? I ALWAYS include “overlooked” trends when answering this question. Of course you want to be innovative, but what’s “new” to you may be something others have been doing successfully for years. Cutting edge isn’t always necessary – or even practical. Instead, look for tried-and-true tactics that work, but you may not be investing in today.
Whether new or overlooked, there are some important considerations before you implement any marketing tactic:
- All marketers are not created equal. Your best tactics are going to be the ones you can do well. Always consider your skills and resources (like budget and bandwidth) when assessing new approaches.
- You need a strong foundation. If you don’t have a solid web presence, a strong database (or inbound strategies) and a consistent marketing engine then just trying new tactics is not likely to be very effective.
- If you aren’t adding value, you’re just adding noise. In case you’ve never read anything we’ve ever written, success with B2B marketing is largely driven by the value, you provide to your customers and prospects. You generally achieve this through some type of content or educational materials like events and webinars. All the tactics we’ll look at today work best when there is strong value being delivered.
With that, let’s dive into some marketing tactics you might be overlooking:
Native advertising is an ad in an online publication that resembles the publication’s editorial content. There are a number of different platforms for placing native ads. One of the most popular is Outbrain. Outbrain also has a tool that allows you see how your ad would look on a site. Just enter a URL with content and an image to see how it will pull through. Additional platforms for native advertising including Polar.Me and Nativo.Net.
There is one “gotcha” I have to share here. As I was writing this blog, I started seeing articles about a new ad blocker extension from Google that will likely roll out in the next year. However, that doesn’t mean this is not a good strategy. First – it will be awhile before this takes effect and second – not everyone will necessarily turn this on. Since native advertising doesn’t really require a huge upfront investment or have a big learning curve, it’s still a really valuable tool to start using now – even if you’ll need to adjust the strategy down the road.
By the way, this tactic also points to a bigger trend of increasing investment in paid advertising as opposed to organic.
Direct and Dimensional Mail
In a time where email is ubiquitous, the power of being different stands out. Send your top prospects a snail mail piece. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, but it does need to make an impact. Postcards and self-promotional letters won’t do it – you need to be creative and original. Dimensional mail (lumpy mailers) while the costliest, are also the most effective. They quickly capture the attention of the recipient and are great conversation starters. These are particularly ideal when used in conjunction with telemarketing efforts (make sure you call within days of the receipt of your piece). Need ideas? Search B2B Dimensional Mailers on Pinterest for inspiration.
Not just advertising but rather super targeted and personalized advertising. That can be done by serving up very targeted ads on a platform like LinkedIn. You can also use account-based advertising and target ads through tools like DemandBase.
Conversion Rate Software
This is software that helps increase website conversions through the use of pop-ups, exit screens and similar tactics. The key is to use them sparingly and to offer something of REAL value that reflects your visitor’s interest. For example, if a visitor has spent a few minutes on your Distribution Solutions page – a pop-up offering a Distribution Technology Trends eBook or article would be perfect. Some of the more widely used conversion software tools are Picreel.com and Sumo.com. Both also have some great research on what works and what doesn’t and can help you implement successful conversion strategies.
We all know the importance of content marketing. In the past couple of years though, thought leaders like the Content Marketing Institute have shifted from talking about the need for content to the issue of content overload (and ultimately declining quality). More important than quantity is delivering high-quality content. Consider original content like research reports and trend analysis. Consider creating a survey and then reporting the findings. This type of content has the added benefit of being easily re-purposed – making the initial effort you put into it more acceptable. For example, a single research report can provide multiple social media posts, blogs, infographics, articles and charts.
Every industry has targeted publications and associations and most have opportunities for you to reach out to their members. This is also a great way of approaching a new industry. Start by identifying all the organizations that engage with your markets. Look for opportunities that give you more direct touches such as events, editorial options (articles and blog postings) and sponsored sending (sending your email to their database) versus awareness (display advertising).
There is an old marketing book (from around 2012) called Get Slightly Famous. I still have my copy and while it’s certainly dated, I refer back to it from time to time. Its focus is on finding those opportunities that can showcase your expertise. Updated for 2018, I’d call this Executive Branding. Everyone wants to do business with a person. Shining the spotlight on your President, CEO or even a few technical leaders in your organization, creates that personal connection and helps build trust. Once you’ve determined who the “faces” of your company will be, you can then develop the tactics you’ll use to make them “slightly famous.” This can include tactics like creating articles for a platform like LinkedIn Publisher, doing short videos (or podcasts), and speaking opportunities. If you’re working with third parties, you’ll likely find additional opportunities to bring these people forward through guest blogs, interviews and articles.
The simplest definition of account-based marketing is dedicating your marketing and sales resources on a clearly defined set of accounts and targeting those accounts with hyper-personalized messaging and campaigns. Although we’ve seen ABM used to describe very targeted industry efforts, true ABM uses a small list of accounts (and yes – typically in a single industry) that are well-researched, allowing you to create relevant messages for each account. Tactics used in ABM include social selling (traditionally through LinkedIn), personal one-to-one emails and high-value tactics like dimensional direct mails. ABM is not a quick fix. It’s resource intensive for obvious reasons and requires a strong plan that starts with the development of your account list, strong integration between sales and marketing, valuable content and ongoing management. It may be worth it though. A number of recent studies show the ROI on ABM is significantly higher than typical one-to-many activities.
Are any of these tactics for you? Are you using any of these today? Are there some you’d like to hear more about? Please comment below or send us a message! We’d love to hear from you.