Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quest for the B2B Digital Marketing Blueprint


Business marketers cling to legacy marketing tactics that they admit fail to work as well as they would like, according to a Forrester Research assessment. By moving their marketing online, B2B marketers will evolve from tactical demand generation to strategic ownership of the customer relationship.

To catch up with buyers who now flock to digital channels, marketers must abandon the time-worn broadcast media mindset from a bygone era and adopt online community-focused marketing.

From January 2007 to the end of July 2008, Forrester fielded a steady stream of B2B marketing inquiries -- 282 in total -- to help marketers tackle a range of tactical to strategic issues. Which key issues rose to the top?

Balancing the marketing mix: there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to best practices, and marketers still struggle to find the answers to the following two questions: Which tactics work the best? How much emphasis should we place on digital channels over traditional?

Benchmarking and measuring marketing results: marketers want to know what other companies spend on marketing as a percentage of revenue and what the best metrics are to show that this money hasn't been wasted.

Identifying B2B marketing trends: marketers want to keep on top of current market developments, monitor their peer's activities, and anticipate what is just over the industry horizon.

Maturing their lead management practices: no surprise, keeping the sales pipeline full is job number one for B2B marketing.

Understanding Web 2.0 and the impact of social media on business buyers: marketers recognize the potential -- but are unsure of how to tap into the value -- of incorporating tactics like blogging, podcasting, video, social networks, and user-generated content into their marketing mix.

A digital marketing blueprint is required by those who have yet to evolve their approach.

Community marketing replaces traditional offer-response strategies with communications that foster dialogue; embrace community issues and values; and position brands, vendor experts, and products as valuable community resources.

Forward-looking B2B and technology marketers will need to spend more time listening to, and talking with, online forum and community mavens to hone their social competencies.