Today’s digital natives are bombarded with content and have adapted to filter out the noise. Poor ad targeting has left both consumer and B2B audiences in Canada more skeptical of digital advertising, and most notable of all: about a third of digital advertising campaigns (particularly display and mobile) in Canada don’t work, failing to drive awareness or lift in purchase intent.
For lead generation marketers, lead quality is often the single most important factor in determining the success of an ad campaign. Unfortunately, the ability to efficiently reach target audiences at scale can be a challenge – especially with limited time, resources and budget.
So, what can a B2B marketer do? Here are three pieces of advice to better engage your audience, and ultimately generate quality leads.
Start with Who
Most marketing today is not customer centric with only three per cent of buyers believing that advertising is relevant to them. To really engage your audience and best serve your clients, you need to first understand who they are and what type of content they want.
Take steps to develop data-driven personas. Real customer-centric marketing is radically individualistic. Netflix’s approach to artwork personalization is an excellent example of this. The company hasn’t just personalized what movie titles they recommend to their members, but also how they recommend them. Tweaking a movie’s cover artwork to reflect a member’s past viewing history and their preference for genres, themes and actors, helps improve content discovery.
It’s also why we’ve recently introduced Content Suggestions as part of our update to LinkedIn Pages, a new feature that surfaces the topics and content trending with their target audience on LinkedIn. With these insights, community managers can now curate and create content that their audiences are more likely to engage with – taking the guesswork out of content creation and leveraging data-driven insights to ensure you’re targeting the right people with content that’s most relevant to them.
True Value of Thought Leadership
It’s important to understand how the nature of trust in the marketing community has shifted in recent years: Consumers are looking to individuals, and not just those in the C-suite, for company updates; employees are more believable than the institutions they work for; and a company’s social channels are often perceived as more trustworthy than its advertising.
Contrary to popular belief, the B2B buying process is not purely a numbers game. Of course, price and product fit matter, but it can also be surprisingly emotional. According to a study “How Thought Leadership Impacts Demand Generation” – a whopping 83 per cent of business decision makers, and 81 per cent of C-Suite executives believe thought leadership increases trust.
This data means its key for B2B marketers to prioritize thought leadership content, because that’s what sells. Take time to engage audiences directly though social platforms, whether it’s re-sharing relevant content from your employees on your LinkedIn Company Page, blogging on Medium or sharing insights on Twitter. Nearly half of B2B buyers are willing to pay a premium price to work with thought leaders in their industry, so start sharing knowledge.
Build Online Communities
Today’s news headlines often position celebrity CEO’s and moguls as the key to a company’s success, however this is only a small part of the larger story. Behind successful companies, there is an entire network of active professional communities – comprised of employees, prospective candidates, buyers, and partners, and collectively they can help to drive your company’s growth.
Knowing the important role that online communities can play, it’s important that organizations have the tools to engage with their network and join conversations that matter most. For example, enabling community managers to respond to conversations about their brand, comment on relevant topics for their business, and share documents and presentations will help to tell a more compelling story about the business with a wider reach. In fact, data reveals that companies who post frequently on a weekly basis experience a lift in engagement with their content by twofold.
This engagement must also encompass your employees. Given employees are a company’s biggest advocates, amplifying their voices can help companies build stronger and lasting connections with their audience. Responding and resharing your employee’s content and giving them the tools to easily share updates; for example, around customer testimonials and product reviews, will lead to more authentic conversations and will provide your brand with a unique competitive edge.
By strategically delivering content that adds value, encouraging thought leadership from sources outside of the traditional C-suite, and actively building online communities, marketers will be better positioned to capitalize on the strength of their relationships to drive quality leads.