To begin with, the chief information officer (CIO) manages an organization’s information and technology (IT) resources and oversees the processes involved in establishing strategies and implementing them.
CIOs should know and understand a business’ technological requirements that will deliver the best value. Currently, competent CIOs are in high demand because of the rapid rate of digital transformation at hand. As a result, businesses have evolved to prioritize information and technology in their business model.
Unsurprisingly, e-commerce has become the norm rather than the exception, and it’s here to stay. Of late, its surge has been fueled in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has seen the development of disruptive technologies to adapt to a changing business and social landscape, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Because of the prevalence of IT in contemporary businesses, all the technical challenges that may arise should be factored in during decision-making. This article will look at how CIOs can approach some of the challenges associated with B2B (business-to-business) marketing today.
- Establishing Return On Investment (ROI)
CIOs are compensated well because of the value they bring to organizations. Keeping track of marketing metrics is usually part of their portfolio. Quantifiable metrics are gold in the world of digital marketing because they prove the effectiveness of a campaign. They provide insights on the reach and leads generated from a marketing campaign. However, the downside is that it’s harder to establish the conversion rates, especially concerning social media marketing on Facebook or Instagram. You may see the number of clicks and views, but those don’t always translate to sales.
Therefore, CIOs should ensure that their marketing goals are clear, attainable, and measurable before launching campaigns. They should also be clear on the costs associated with launching a campaign. Management will scrutinize how the funds allocated towards marketing are utilized. That’s why predetermining goals is important. Goals provide direction and aid in making decisions.
And, if possible, weekly or monthly reports can be compiled for tracking activity.
Moreover, businesses should invest in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. An integrated system will help the business to manage an organization more effectively if implemented properly.
- Generating Leads
The B2B market space is evolving. However, the digital marketing space has become increasingly competitive. Thus, generating authentic leads is not as straightforward as one may think. Now more than ever, it’s imperative for businesses to seek ways to increase traffic. Organic and paid online advertisements are one way to go about it.
Another effective tool is email marketing. According to HubSpot, more than 90% of marketers use email marketing. It can be effective for certain types of buyers because it can be personalized. This tool can be used independently or in a combination (a case in which CIOs establish the ideal combination of marketing tools).
Furthermore, there are cases in which response times are underwhelming. The reason may be that the content isn’t engaging enough. In such instances, CIOs can push for more customer-driven content or campaigns to be published. Marketing campaigns should possess relevance insofar as reaching and engaging the target customers is concerned. CIOs can hire marketing experts to boost the quality of their online content, or they can train their staff accordingly. The quality of your content should speak for itself.
It’s crucial too that your business tracks and quantifies marketing activities as best as it can. That way, managers can establish the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Also, consider investing in and improving your website (both on mobile and desktop). According to HubSpot, 80% of buyers will visit your website before making a purchase. The website experience can either attract or deter buyers. Make your website as visually appealing and simple as possible. It should be usable as well. Some helpful tips you can follow to enhance the website experience include increasing the page speed, presenting information in bullet form, and applying images.
However, if the organization doesn’t have the internal capacity to improve the website, they can avail of the services of expert graphics designers and software developers to develop the mobile and desktop versions of their website. The appearance of a website matters because it affects potential customers’ decision to purchase goods or use services.
In addition, CIOs should define their target audience. It’s better to tailor your campaigns for a specific target segment because aiming at everything is aiming at nothing. Focus on and understand your customers and their needs. B2B businesses should ensure that their strategy is customer-driven too; otherwise, they may risk running and financing ineffective campaigns. Besides, how can you decide on the marketing tools to use if you don’t know and understand your customer?
In a sense, the customer is your prize. All the marketing and sales tactics that your team will adopt should be aimed at claiming that prize. It won’t happen automatically. Bear in mind that you are also competing with other players for a place in the same digital market space, which is expanding by the day. So, narrow your target audience as much as possible to avoid wasting time and money.
- Leading Technological Change
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become the norm rather than the exception. Many businesses have adapted to this ‘new norm’ as a result of quarantine restrictions.
Consequently, businesses are now more willing than ever to invest in future proof information systems, including remote working infrastructure for their businesses. According to McKinsey, as of 2021, two-thirds of buyers prefer human interaction or self-service to traditional interactions. This is the perfect ground for e-commerce to thrive.
Therefore, businesses need to reposition themselves in the marketplace to make themselves easily discoverable. Digital is the future, and the future is now. It is incumbent upon CIOs to lead technological change in their organizations to improve their visibility. For instance, they can push for website optimization, use of visual content, and active engagement with customers online. These tools can lure visitors and keep them engaged on your website or social media page longer.
The greater your visibility—especially online—the better. Besides, it’s much better to position yourself in such a way that customers come to you, not the other way around.
By and large, the job of a CIO is to create value for the business through information and technology. CIOs will inevitably be met with unique and complex challenges because change is inevitable, and those who fail to adapt will not survive. B2B marketing is no different. Hence, the contemporary CIO ought to be flexible.
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