Find out the role dynamic content plays in B2B marketing, how to build strategy into marketing automation programs and the benefits and limitations of using polls to collect data.

Mike and Hannah also share how to leverage marketing automation to successfully support face-to-face events.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

Transcript: Marketing Automation Moment Episode Seven – How Should you Optimise Strategy?

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Kelly

Hannah: Welcome to the Marketing Automation Moment Podcast. I’m Hannah Kelly.

Mike: And I’m Mike Maynard. This is Napier’s podcast to tell you about the latest news from the world of marketing automation.

Hannah: Welcome to the Marketing Automation Moment. Today we talk about dynamic content.

Mike: Marketing automation strategy.

Hannah: A survey that shows B2B marketing leaders are focused on optimising strategy.

Mike: And give some tips on how to use marketing automation to make your events more effective.

Hannah: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of marketing automation moment. It’s great to be back, Mike, isn’t it?

Mike: It’s great to talk to you again, Hannah. I mean, it’s been a little while I know you’ve been incredibly busy. And you’re off on holiday as well, next week.

Hannah: I am indeed a nice couple of weeks in Italy.

Mike: I hope you enjoy that. And I’m looking forward to getting another episode recorded when you get back.

Hannah: Absolutely.

Mike: So, what have you seen in the news today about marketing automation?

Hannah: Well, I came across an interesting article on the robotics and automation news site, actually. And it was really talking about dynamic content, and the different ways you could approach it to enhance your results of market automation. And it’s quite interesting, because the article in itself, to be honest, is quite basic. It talks about personalization, it talks about the kind of simple things you can do to make things more engaging. But what I want to have a chat about really is about dynamic content, and the different things we can do for dynamic content and market automation systems.

Mike: So I guess here, what you’re talking about is not just changing a little bit of text dynamically, but actually putting in, you know, for example, something completely different, like a video or a picture or, you know, some other engaging content on the landing page. Is that what you’re thinking about?

Hannah: Absolutely, Mike? Yes. So I’m thinking, you know, if we’ve got a landing page, and we add something as a poll, for example, what sort of information is that going to be able to provide marketers? And realistically, as well as visitors going to interact with this engaging content?

Mike: Well, I mean, a couple of really good questions there, you know, do you get information that’s useful from polls, I mean, a lot of marketers use informal poll information. So sometimes it’s the best data you’ve got, it may not be, you know, mathematically or scientifically accurate, but it’s the best data you’ve got. So I think this sort of thing is useful. The problem is, as we know, a lot of our B2B audiences aren’t really engaged with things like polls, they don’t want to do that, particularly very technical people. And so I think what dynamic content gives you the opportunity is to run things like this, where you know that a proportion of your audience, and maybe, for example, you might think that the purchasing proportional purchasing segment would be much more interested in engaging in a poll than an engineering segment. So you can place that content just visible to the people who are likely to engage with it. And I think that’s a good idea. I mean, there are lots of challenges in terms of doing that, when you look at a lot of, you know, B2B campaigns and some of the limitations around those.

Hannah: So it’s been a bit more Mike, what do you mean about the limitations regarding dynamic content?

Mike: Well, I think we’re really different from consumer marketing, there’s a lot you can do with consumer marketing, because you have, you know, huge volumes, in terms of your audience size. Quite often, when we’re looking at campaigns, they’re very, very focused, and you know, Account Based Marketing is, it’s certainly a thing, right. And, you know, there people can be targeting a small number, or even maybe even one account. So the numbers are quite small in B2B. And actually, what that means is, it can be quite difficult a to generate multiple different pieces of content that can be placed on the landing page, and then be to get enough volume where you’re looking for interaction, like for example, in polls. So although it sounds very attractive, sometimes it can actually be somewhat cost and time prohibitive. And it also can be difficult to get sufficient audience size as well.

Hannah: As a really interesting point, my can actually I was listening to our other podcast marketing B2B technology. And we recently had SendinBlue on and and he was talking about how actually, we can take inspiration from b2c campaigns for B2B. But obviously, it’s a really good point, because these are these limitations. And so we have to recognise that we are in the B2B industry. And so it might not necessarily be the best path, of course, for companies with dynamic content.

Mike: Yeah, I think sometimes it’s just more difficult. And often, you know, in B2B, we sometimes always want to invent new stuff. And if you’re looking to dynamically insert content into a landing page, you might be better looking at what you’ve already got, rather than trying to create something new for that particular campaign. So I think there’s there’s opportunities to do this and marketers should be thinking about, you know, should they be customising things like landing pages for different audiences, and if they should be customising it, how can they do it? But also we have to remember that sometimes It’s not practical to make everything personalised and everything customised in our industry, just because of the balance between the relatively low volume and the relatively high cost of content creation.

Hannah: Absolutely. And I think this links on quite nicely to our next point, because we have to consider these things when we build a strategy for our market automation. So I actually came across an interesting blog, which talks about how strategy fits in with market automation platforms. Did you see it?

Mike: Yeah, I did that. I mean, I thought this was was really interesting. They’re talking about, you know, using strategy right from the start before you even get a marketing automation system. And, and that was one of the things I thought was was, was fascinating, because actually, most people in B2B now have some sort of marketing automation solution. And I’m not sure that the strategy is around picking a platform. And let’s be honest, most of the platforms can do most of the things you need. I think it’s much more interesting when you look at how you can use strategy to create better campaigns.

Hannah: Absolutely. And I mean, I came across this stat that actually 51% of marketers are looking to increase spending on market automation this year. So can you give a couple of examples of where strategy really comes into what you need to implement on the platform?

Mike: So I think it’s really interesting. You know, we see people who still use marketing automation tools, you know, much like a kind of souped up email system. And actually, I think what strategy should do is it should be looking at what you’re trying to achieve with different segments of your audience. And one of the points that was made in the first article, you mentioned, was actually that it’s really important to understand that buyers journey, and we talk about this a lot, we bang on about buyers journey a lot at Napier. But I think sometimes what you’ve got to think about in strategy is think more than a single campaign. And think how your campaigns can combine together to actually help your prospects move through that buyers journey, and getting those campaigns to work together, that generates synergies that absolutely are going to make your marketing automation campaigns more effective.

Hannah: I fully agree, Mike, I am a big fan, as you know, on the personas and the customer journey, and the stuff we do here at Napier with our marketing automation platform, I would be lost about it, it makes my life so much easier that we have our workflows and our content down to our personas. It’s so valuable.

Mike: Yeah, and you do a lot of this, you do a lot of looking at, you know what we’re trying to do with particular personas and moving them from step to step. And I think that that’s a great example of what people should do. I think one of the challenges you have is particularly when you have a large enterprises, you have lots of kind of siloed groups that are all trying to run their own campaigns. And sometimes that means those campaigns don’t necessarily work together. And one of the things that we as an agency can do is actually start helping people ensure that, you know, campaign that one particular team is running is at least somewhat synergistic with what other teams are running.

Hannah: Absolutely. I mean, I was helping out one of our account managers the other day with the development of a plan, and we were talking about the different email sequences that had to be implemented. And sometimes it’s not a lot of work. It’s just a slight tweak, but he’s accepting that they do need slightly different messaging to be able to resonate with them. I think

Mike: That’s a great example, Henry love that, you know, it’s amazing how many people spend so much time on a sequence of emails, making sure that they flow nicely from one to another, which is obviously important, but then they completely forget that the next sequence should really flow from the previous one, because they deal with those two sequences separately. So I think that’s a really important point. I love that.

Hannah: It’s brilliant. So moving on, Mike, again, just focus on some stats around the market automation. You know, I love a good stat. I came across a survey from Insightly and they did a survey of 200 B2B marketing leaders. And I think it matches of what we’re saying. But they found that five out of 10 of these leaders said that optimization of their overall automation strategy would be a primary goal for this year. And that actually, the areas they’re looking to utilise the most are email marketing, social media, content management, and landing pages. None of this surprises me, Does it surprise you?

Mike: We did sound a bit like a laundry list of the main automation tools. You know, I think it’s not surprising. I mean, if I’m a B2B marketer, I’ve got a marketing automation system. You know, I’m surprised of the 13% that are not worried about optimising the customer journeys. It seems to me like everybody should be looking to get their marketing automation system working as efficiently as possible. And clearly, one thing it does say, though, and I’m being a bit facetious about the features, but, you know, you point out that it’s those core features of marketing automation that people really need to focus on. And I think that’s interesting because what it’s saying is, what we need as marketers is we need those core features, but almost the dole things to be optimised and improved and made easier to use, rather than necessarily market automation vendors trying to find, you know, little niche features that maybe don’t appeal to a lot of users. What do you think?

Hannah: Yeah, I agree. I think I’m actually pleasantly surprised, because two years ago, we would have had a chat about this. And market automation was still this huge, nobody knows what’s happening. Nobody knows how to use it. And actually, this gives me hope that they need these core features, but they know they need it. So they know they’re going to use it to be able to be successful in their campaigns.

Mike: I totally agree. You’re, you’re absolutely right. And I think that learning that you’ve identified over the last couple of years, to some extent, has been driven by a sort of strategic imperative for businesses, as people work from home during the pandemic, quite clearly, you know, things like face to face sales visits just disappeared. And so marketing automation became very, very important. And organisations, they had to learn, they had to understand and I think the pressure that, you know, pandemic produced, although there was lots and lots of negatives, I mean, one of the positives is, is that a lot of businesses have actually improved their marketing automation game, don’t you think? That’s right.

Hannah: Absolutely. And I mean, actually, Mike, you wrote a blog about this, about a month or so ago about this change that actually sales have got to rely more heavily on marketing to be successful, because things like sales meetings, that they’re not as popular as they used to be. And actually marked automation is becoming crucial to dry people through the customer journey, because sales is, it’s not as important as it once was. But a lot of customers and visitors are now building their own customer journey through the systems and the content that they read in.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. Right. I mean, you know, analysts like Gartner have shown that more and more, this customer journey is what they call self directed. So the prospects are actually driving the journey. They’re not talking to the supplier. And I think this is, you know, a bit of a legacy, again, of the pandemic, where we went from a position where face to face was, you know, sometimes almost the default, it felt to face to face disappearing completely. And clearly, you know, face to face is coming back now. And we’re seeing trade shows return. And we’re seeing certainly some positivity around conferences, and that’s nice. But I still think that feeling amongst buyers and decision makers, that they should be in control of their customer journey. That’s a change of approach that I don’t think it’s going away. And marketers have got to realise that they need to support their prospects in driving that customer journey, rather than trying to dictate a customer journey, because it’s just not going to work in the future.

Hannah: I absolutely agree. And it’d be really interesting to see how that pans out throughout the rest of the year.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s not just this year, it’s going forward. But you know, with more and more data available digitally, it’s inevitable that people are going to feel like they want to be in control. They don’t need to contact salespeople. I mean, I don’t for a minute, think the sales function is going away. Clearly, salespeople are going to remain very, very important. It may be that organisations have fewer salespeople, and those salespeople actually responsible for many more sales, some of which they don’t get involved in, because it’s driven through an online engagement, which is primarily marketing. I mean, in fact, I talked to one clients a little while ago, and they said, you know, five years out, maybe we only have 10%, of the sales force that we have today, because of the move to digitalization. I mean, I think that’s a little bit aggressive. But it was certainly interesting to see clients already thinking about, you know, really quite dramatic changes in the balance between sales and marketing. And this increased importance of marketing.

Hannah: Definitely. So I want to go back to something you mentioned a little while ago, Mike. And that was the return of trade shows and conferences, because we know face to face is back. But for insightful tip of the week. This episode, I want to talk about how to use market automation successfully with events. So can you share what you think the secret is to utilise in your market automation platform to help you be successful when you’re going to a trade show or conference? Any kind of face to face events like that?

Mike: That’s a great question. And I think, you know, it’s really simple. We see a lot of companies doing effective outreach prior to events. So they’re activating their database, they’re encouraging them to meet at events, it’s relatively straightforward. They’re sending emails out, they then come back from the event, and they don’t really nurture those leads. And the reason for that is that people tend to leave that kind of lead nurturing, post event engagement to after the trade show or after the conference. And the reality is, is they just don’t get campaigns created after the conference. And I appreciate it’s difficult. I mean, I’ve done trade shows a run to trade shows is fraught. But if you want your marketing automation to be effective, you’ve got to build the follow up nurture, prior to the event, that’s the only way you’re going to do it. Because unless it’s ready to go immediately after the event, your emails are going to be late, they’re not going to resonate as effectively with your audience. And also, you’re going to be stressed, following up the event and tidying up all sorts of other loose ends. And you’re probably actually not going to get that nurturing flow done. So, you know, to me, the secret is preparation. And if you can prepare, and get that, that campaign ready, you can then just drop the leads in straight after the event. There’s no stress, and people will get that nurturing flow. What do you think?

Hannah: I couldn’t agree more, Mike, I have learned the hard way, how important it is to get everything prepped before you go, because there is nothing, you’re more thankful for them. When you get back from a trade show. And you’re tired. You know, this is really important that you can just press a button on the system, and your leads are being nurtured.

Mike: Yeah, and you’ve done it really well. And I think one of the things you do well, is actually you realise you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. So sometimes you can take existing content, and with relatively small modifications to, for example, an email sequence, create a new email sequence that works for the latest trade show. You don’t have to sit down with a blank sheet and start from scratch. And I think that’s something that you know, you’ve really bought into, and it makes that preparing in advance much less stressful.

Hannah: Absolutely do not need to make it complex. And the easier you can make it for yourself, actually, the more successful you’ll be.

Mike: That’s a great insight. I love that.

Hannah: Well, thank you so much for your time today, Mike. It’s been another fantastic discussion.

Mike: No, thank you, Hannah. It’s been great. And I look forward to talking to you again on the market automation moment.

Hannah: Thanks for listening to the marketing automation moment podcast.

Mike: Don’t forget to subscribe in your favourite podcast application, and we’ll see you next time.