The average marketer today is far different than the average marketer of ten, or even five, years ago. Take a minute to think about what you do each day and what you need to be effective in your role. Now consider how much of that was around as little as five years ago. The rise of more advanced marketing technology has had a profound impact on every aspect of our lives. While these changes have been brewing for quite awhile, it wasn’t until recently that they truly caught up with the world of B2B marketing. But now that they’re here, these technologies have proven quite disruptive (in a positive way, of course) to how we as marketers operate.
Perhaps no other piece demonstrates this explosion in marketing technology better than the Chief Marketing Technologist’s 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape, which highlights a whopping 3,874 vendors across 49 different categories. This report not only represents how large the marketing technology landscape has become, but also how quickly it’s grown. For comparison, the same report in 2014 highlighted a “mere” 947 vendors. That’s a 309% increase in one year. This list is overwhelming so here is some guidance on what is on the must-have list for marketing technology.
Although marketing might not always be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about customer relationship management, a CRM platform is an essential component of the modern marketing environment.
Having a CRM solution is pertinent to sales success, as it can help sales teams better manage relationships with leads and customers, standardize customer data, conduct forecasting and generally be more proactive. All of this is critical in helping ensure that the leads your marketing team passes off to sales don’t fall through the cracks.
But CRM alone isn’t enough. To truly capitalize on the benefits that a CRM platform can offer, you need to integrate it with a marketing automation platform (MAP). This integration can help better align sales and marketing and improve visibility between the two by introducing a standard process and lead scoring model. In fact, a recent study found that marketers with a MAP integrated with CRM and supporting processes were three times more likely to have strong communications with sales.
Marketing Automation Platform
By helping to generate more qualified leads, better engage with prospects and customers, track campaign performance and analyze results, marketing automation platforms allow marketers to make more informed decisions to improve future campaigns. These platforms can help close the gap between marketing and sales by creating a single funnel and workflows that unite both teams around a common goal and improve visibility.
Taken together, all of these capabilities mean that marketing automation platforms have a direct impact on bottom line. In fact, Aberdeen Group reports that companies who use marketing automation convert 53% more leads to marketing qualified leads and report revenue growth 3.1% higher than non-users. Similarly, Forrester Research finds that B2B marketers who implement marketing automation increase their sales pipeline contributions by 10%.
Social Media Platform
With social media continuing to rise as one of the top communication methods (nearly two-thirds of American adults now use social media according to the Pew Research Center), it’s becoming an increasingly important marketing channel. Marketers need to be where their customers are, and more and more often that’s proving to be on social channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, even in the B2B world.
The social media landscape is massive and continuing to grow at a rapid pace, and that makes monitoring relevant activity and contributing to the social conversation with the right message at the right time a difficult task. A social media platform can help more seamlessly manage these activities in order to make your social media efforts more strategic. For example, a social media platform can help filter through the noise to hone in on conversations about your brand or keywords related to your business. It can also help automate outreach to ensure a steady conversation and track data to provide insight on how well you’re doing and what you can do better going forward.
While CRM, MAP and social media are essential for the modern marketer, adding additional technologies to the mix certainly helps extend the functionality of these core three and can make your digital marketing efforts more effective. If you have the base in place and are ready to move your strategy forward, take a look at these next.
Account Based Marketing
Put very simply, Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a more focused approach to who you target. Rather than throwing your message out to the universe and seeing who responds, with ABM you go after a defined list of accounts.
You can benefit from introducing an ABM tool if you’re targeting large enterprise accounts as part of your marketing strategy. ABM tools are best suited for going after large enterprise accounts because they put you in a better position to grab mindshare within those organizations (given the number of people coming from a single IP address). In general, if you’re targeting specific companies, an ABM tool can help by delivering a more personalized experience.
Video Marketing Tools
According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Report, 86% of B2B marketers now use content marketing, and it’s important to note that content refers to more than just written pieces. Content marketing actually encompasses a wide variety of assets, including videos. In fact, the Demand Metric 2014 report on video content marketing found that 70% of marketers claim that video performs better than other content for producing conversions.
Once you decide on your direction and actually create your video, what’s next? How do you get it out and start reaping the benefits that video marketing has to offer? That’s where these tools come into play. Ideally, they should help you achieve three key goals: Having a place to host and share your videos, tracking metrics to determine the effectiveness of your videos and converting viewers into leads.
Want to learn more about must-have marketing technology including vendors to consider? Check out this ebook, Three Solutions You Can’t Live Without for more information.