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Business-to-business CMOs lagging behind consumer industry in online marketing
30 December 2013
We are entering a new age for marketing, writes Lesley Hansen. But the business-to-business industry, such as telecoms, is not as advanced in using online techniques as business-to-consumer
conversion rate opimisation
The dominance of the internet has totally transformed the
concerns of a chief marketing officer, who needs to understand
new media and the role of programmatic buying in
today’s world, and to know the basics of how to
apply it effectively as part of the marketing mix.
This will then help a CMO understand where the marketing
landscape is going and will play an important part in creating
a strategy that will scale and grow the business while
delivering the numbers and targets needed today.
As today’s businesses move marketing away from
being a cost centre and towards being a profit centre it has
become increasingly important if the CMO is to build a legacy
for the next five years.
Over the last 10 years marketing has changed beyond all
recognition. Media used to be about clever creative and large
budgets, and was primarily a brand awareness tool in the
marketing mix. The majority of outbound marketing was by email
or printed direct mail to a targeted mailing list.
Today the internet means that media has an ever increasing part
to play, even for companies with small budgets. The internet
provides effective media tools to hit a large audience
— and allows you to measure results. In this new world
the small company can compete with the large and creative media
has become less important.
In the old world, most marketing activity was outbound
— with telemarketing being a clear example of reaching
out to a specific target list irrespective of whether they had
a requirement at the time of the call. In this world, outbound
marketing was used to drive inbound.
Today people can find you even if you are not doing much
outbound marketing. Inbound is created through low-cost online
activities such as social media and a well-designed website.
Resourcing the appropriate areas of marketing activity and
understanding the drivers for inbound marketing is critical.
This is most clearly seen in business-to-consumer, where
targeted online advertising, comparison sites, the power of
consumer feedback on influencing product sales and the use of
viral messaging has been recognised as a powerful force.
Business-to-business has not taken on the cutting edge
perspective to new media in the same way as
business-to-consumer and there are huge opportunities for
companies selling business-to- business to adopt the
A keystone of new online marketing is programmatic marketing,
which uses real-time systems, rules and algorithms to automate
the delivery of data-driven, targeted and relevant experiences
to your customers as they interact with your
brand’s many touchpoints.
The end-users’ experience can include targeted
offers, messages, content or adverts across paid, owned and
earned channels. The most powerful programmatic marketing
recognises someone moving between channels and touchpoints, so
that each interaction informs the next.
Owned touchpoints in the business-to-business world include
your company website, mobile apps, your company Facebook page,
your LinkedIn page as well as email and associated landing
Earned touchpoints are those created by your target audience
themselves — such as blog comments, message boards and
Programmatic buying is the paid part of programmatic marketing:
this is the automated purchase of data-driven, targeted ads
whether they are online display, mobile or video ads, the best
known example being Google’s pay-per-click
Programmatic buying can be accomplished through a demand-side
platform or DSP that allows buyers of digital advertising to
manage multiple advert and data exchange accounts through one
DSPs incorporate many of the facets previously offered by
advertising networks, such as a wide access to inventory and
vertical and lateral targeting, with the ability to serve ads,
real-time bid on ads, track the ads, and optimise. This is all
kept within one interface which creates an opportunity for
advertisers to control and maximise the impact of their ads.
The sophistication of the level of detail that can be tracked
by the DSPs is increasing. Real-time bidding for displaying
online ads takes place within the ad exchanges, and marketeers
can manage their bids against the end users they require for
the banners and the pricing for the data that they are layering
on to target their audiences.
Much like paid search, using DSPs allows users to optimise
based on set key performance indicators such as effective cost
per click and effective cost per action.
The DSP allows the marketer to track a person round the web and
target them with brand building at a really cheap rate to a
much targeted audience — so delivering a high exposure
for very little money. The marketer can then implement tracking
tags on the site and measure the effectiveness of the adverts.
According to media experts DWA, 95% of a business-to-business
customer’s budget was spent on traditional media
with 5% allocated to the DSP, but the customer was getting 95%
of results from signups from the DSP.
In this new marketing world there is a lot of wastage but the
cost per person is so low that this is not important, since you
are still getting to the right people for less money —
and, through the data captured by the tags, it is measurable.
That DWA client now spends 80% of its budget through the DSP
and only 10% on traditional media.
Most marketers have a perception of who their audience is. This
approach allows you to reach these influencers. But it also
allows you to get very wide, very quickly and find out if other
contacts are influencers.
This can also change your perceptions of who your audience are.
The improvement in identifying the people you want to target
and drive them to your site is 10 to one.
Programmatic marketing requires a more comprehensive platform
that can execute complex logic across a variety of systems,
including website content management, email, call-centre
enabled chat, mobile apps and CRM systems.
According to DWA, "More money is being spent in web
development. Check your website to make sure it is built for
search engine optimisation, and make sure when DSP-generated
users are landing on the site they are finding the information
"The important thing today is CRO — conversion rate
optimisation — and this is all about presenting
information on a page in a way that gets users from A to B as
quickly as possible."
So what needs to change in your marketing? Content and creative
need to be more tightly integrated, messages need to be kept
simple, focused and consistent and to your approach needs to
drive inbound traffic to your business and then capture the
Creative is less critical — and consistency between
media is more important, as the user sees all media as a single
common message. To capture the data, tags need to be added to
your call-for-actions on your site. This code shows how many
items are clicked on and which ones resulted in what actions.
Once you have the data you know who is interested in your
product — and then you can market directly to them
using cookie data.
Websites need to be more user-friendly, with users easily able
to find the data they are looking for — as once they
have arrived at your site you need to meet their needs.
Lesley Hansen is director of Hands on Marketing Ltd