Have you ever woken up humming a song and wondered, “Why is that stuck in my head?” It could be because it is your personal anthem, a catchy hit single, a tune playing on repeat on the radio or a jingle in Apple’s latest ad. Perhaps the co-worker next to you at work can’t stop humming it. Whatever the reason, it’s stuck solidly in your head and it may just encourage you to take particular actions. You could Google the song to figure out its name or the artist, open Spotify to listen to it again, or maybe even buy concert tickets or the product promoted in that commercial.
The Importance of Digital Awareness
What does this have to do with omnichannel marketing? The first phase of every marketing funnel or customer journey graphic always starts with the same word: Awareness. Before your future customers ever enter the consideration and selection phases, they will become aware of vendors and pain points that inspire action. As buyers progress through the journey, the more familiar they are with your brand, the more they develop trust and a connection that could result in meaningful action–filling out your lead capture form, stopping by your booth, or even purchasing products.
The primary challenge you historically run into with awareness campaigns is that it’s synonymous with mass marketing and wasting your budget on a broad demographic. Today’s buyers don’t respond to broadcasts. Even worse, unsolicited push-marketing can have a negative effect on your brand if consumers feel that they are being targeted unjustly. Even when you have a defined list of target accounts and contacts, cold email batch-and-blast and telemarketing are no longer the only options for the first customer touch point.
The Bieber Effect of B2B Advertising
With today’s digital marketing channels and audience targeting capabilities, you have excellent opportunities to spend time, money and effort on building hyper-targeted awareness campaigns with your ideal audiences. You have a chance to truly ‘get in their heads’ based on their their needs and behaviors. We refer to these digital awareness tactics as “The Bieber Effect.” It’s the idea that you become the catchy tune in your prospect’s mind by getting in front of them across the digital channels where they spend all their time.
You need to understand that these interactions may never become a source of conversions. In some cases, you may be unable to even create an attributable pipeline. Similar to billboards or radio stations, impressions and clicks may be the only metrics to which you have access. Even “soft offers” such as gated whitepapers and webinar may receive low conversions at these early stages. While you may have a difficult time tying awareness campaigns back to pipeline generation, you’ll find an uplift across your marketing efforts as a whole.
One way to determine whether you’re reaching your intended audience is by paying attention to the prospect conversations. An effective awareness campaign provides education about your company, products and services. It can help you get a foot-in-the-door with target accounts, as well as allow buyers to self-educate on common questions so your sales teams engage with more educated customers.
Getting Into Rhythm
First, if you aren’t sure where your prospects spend most of their Internet time, analyze your current customers base to discover the top performing channels and preferences among people who’ve already converted.
Second, build your target account lists to identify and prioritize which business should be your next customer based on their fit and intent. There are millions of variables to factor into building your list, which is where predictive analytics can help. By sifting through all possible inputs and every potential account, predictive can recommend your top accounts for you, as well as assign a grade (A, B, C, D) and score based the accounts likelihood to convert.
Third, integrate or upload target account lists to campaign delivery platforms that allow you to focus your ads on defined set of buyers within the set of accounts you want to target. Avoid broad targeting criteria such as segment based, behavioral based (ie. retargeting), or IP-based. Employ new, people-based marketing strategies that are now available due expansion data sets.
Power of Social Advertising in B2B Marketing
Ad platforms are launching new capabilities that let marketers take advantage of their highly active networks of people. In fact, Facebook has become the #1 B2B social channel to reach decision makers. 47% more B2B decision makers believe Facebook outperforms LinkedIn advertising. Why? While LinkedIn is more business focused, Facebook’s targeting function is years ahead of LinkedIn.
So why aren’t all B2B marketers advertising on Facebook? The two roadblocks I hear daily are:
- My target audiences aren’t well-defined.
- The necessary data isn’t available.
Luckily, Customer Data Platforms solves these two pain points and early adopters have shown marketers can target the exact audience they want with personalized, relevant ads that drive conversions. Now, before you sales team calls or your email nurturing campaigns send, you use those same segments to layer in targeted ads. That way your prospects hear the familiar tune of your brand before receiving more direct outbound campaigns.
Whether you’re actively advertising, exploring options, or have experimented to no avail, be sure to learn how to activate B2B advertising or risk losing the brand-building opportunity to your competitors
Adding a specific awareness layer to your account-based marketing mix can reinforce your message and increase conversions from your campaigns – period. In an initial two month test, we reached 7,433 people, generated 98 clicks, and converted 2 accounts – all for $709. Every person reached was a tier A or B account. These people fit our ideal customer profile perfectly, and we’ve gotten in front of thousands of them.
If you can guarantee that these viewers are the right audience for your message and that costs are low, your awareness campaigns using digital channels can be an impactful first step in your buyer’s journey.