B2B Summer News Round Up: Post-vacation catch up (it’s not all about Pokemon Go)

NewsRoundUp
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The sun has been out, long weekends have called us away and the kids have wanted attention (for reasons other than Pokemon Go). While all of us have been taking it easy, or playing Pokemon Go, the B2B sector has remained busy. Here are a few stories (besides the reminders that gamification is still “at play”) our industry leaders have been following.

Changes to Google AdWords

Last month Google announced a series of changes to its AdWords program, including expanded text ads. The changes have had a huge impact on click-through rates.

“Expanded Text Ads started rolling out for our clients earlier this summer, and what a difference!” says Dana DiTomaso, President and Partner of Kickpoint.ca. “We’ve seen click and conversion rates significantly increase when we’ve implemented expanded ads and tested them against the old ad format — one client saw their click rate double! If you haven’t looked at your AdWords account in a while (and really, you should regularly) make sure you try out expanded ads before your competition does.”

Proliferation of “smart” martech solutions

Alliances, agreements and partnerships have led to a record number of integrations this summer.  In particular, vendor deals are creating marketing technologies that support Account Based Marketing (ABM).

“Not surprisingly, Account Based Marketing continues to grow in importance for our B2B clients, and the proliferation of martech solutions – and robust integrations between these technologies – to support ABM continues apace,” says Meredith Fuller, Managing Director, Buyer Engagement at Quarry.com. “Most recently, we’ve been excited to see an increasing sophistication in the availability of better B2B list data. Oracle’s recent play to consolidate B2B audience data from several leading data providers and make it accessible in one place is an excellent example.”

Machine learning and hyper-targeting

Hyper-targeting, animated or interactive emails, automated and personalized emails based on user behavior has seen an increased adoption rate this summer.

“Some time back most email clients don’t offer CSS3 animation or personalized emails but that has changed now,” says Pius Boachie, President of Digitimatic.com. “B2B marketers have seen an increase in open and click-through rates in most campaigns due to animations and personalized emails using machine learning.”

Mergers and acquisitions

This was a summer of mergers and acquisitions, mostly in the email industry.  The impact of those deals are larger for marketers than might be imagined at the moment.

“Oracle acquired NetSuite which on the surface may not sound impactful to email marketing, but within NetSuite is the ESP Bronto. Concerns abound on the impact this will have on the Bronto brand or its customers as Oracle now owns 3 ESP’s (previously acquired Responsys and Eloqua),” says Ryan Phelan, Vice President of Marketing Insights at Adestra. “Next, Zeta Interactive acquired the Digital Impact email platform from Acxiom after a better showing over last year in the recent Forrester Email Wave  The sale was for less than was needed to qualify for the Wave ($60M in revenue but it was sold for $22M).  Lastly, mammoth companies from Microsoft, who acquired LinkedIn, and Verizon, who acquired Yahoo! had everyone talking about the future of the new combined companies.  All of these mark a significant shift in the email marketing space during the summer with impacts for years to come in the landscape both in and out of email marketing.”

Advocate marketing

Nurturing the highest potential customers is what advocate marketing is all about. And, say some, the concept of reaching the “golden 5%” is showing results that have captured notice from consultants and industry analysts.

“All major B2B analyst firms that cover marketing are pointing to advocate marketing as the new competitive differentiator,” says Jim Williams, Vice President of Marketing at Influitive. “For example, Forrester has released three reports on advocate marketing in the last year. And in a session at the 2016 Content2Conversion Conference, Forrester analyst Laura Ramos stated “we’ve entered a new era where competitive advantage comes from knowing your buyer… the ability to compete is being slowly whittled away by tech and the cloud, all that’s left is how well you can relate with your customers.”

Image: Jon Evans

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Kate Baggott

Kate Baggott

Kate Baggott is the Managing Editor of B2BNN. Her technology and business journalism has appeared in the Technology Review, the Globe and Mail, Canada Computes, the Vancouver Sun and the Bay Street Bull. She is the author of the short story collections Love from Planet Wine Cooler and Dry Stories. Links to recently published pieces can be found at www.katebaggott.com