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Marketers don’t understand their targets

By ZoomInsights staff

New technology often leads to a gap between goals and execution across industries, and according to a Demandbase study – done in conjunction with Ziff Davis – that is true for B2B marketers. The report, “Account-Based Marketing in 2013,” said, “Many survey respondents indicated that how their companies measure results, produce content or even use resources does not correspond to their long-term priorities.”

In many ways, this is an age-old tale. Everyone wants to use the newest tools, but not everyone takes the time to plot out a strategy. Not surprisingly, the report said, “To stay competitive, such organizations must bridge this gap by testing new approaches, thinking strategically and measuring their results.”

Social media and content marketing on the rise

While the report found that SEO still claims the top spot when it comes to the strategies that companies use for online marketing, it is social media and “inbound marketing/content creation/blogs” that come in second and third. These inexpensive marketing tools that take your company’s message straight to the people have become powerful extensions of the B2B marketing machine. As these tools gain prominence, however, there will be questions to be answered.

On the other hand, pay-per-click campaigns seem to be on the decline, and display advertising also rank low.

Who are b2b marketers targeting?
Demandbase asked its respondents “Which of the following marketing targets are most important to your company?” and “Which of the following marketing targets consume the most marketing resources (e.g., budget, staff time, other resources)?” In both cases, marketers indicated that they are focused on targeting companies by industry and/or vertical market. Coming in second, in both cases, was “prospect title.”

The report warns marketers against making too many assumptions about people with desirable titles: “While targeting by title can be effective in marketing a narrow niche product or service or for the creation of buyer personas, it can also limit the efficiency of marketing efforts by failing to better define what the title really means within the context of a particular company — or where that company exists in the context of your buying universe. Are they likely to ever buy from you —or is it a case of right person, wrong company? Context is key.”

A lack of understanding

Although the marketers who were interviewed indicated that “increased focus on individual prospect types/buyer personas” and “increased focus on industries or vertical markets” were their biggest priorities, the research found that many of these same people were struggling to understand those target markets: “With 50 percent of the respondents who say they have only a basic understanding of their target market, and another 10 percent who say they don’t yet understand their target at all, this area indicates room for ample growth.”

How to improve your B2B marketing efforts

The report drew three concrete conclusions about how B2B marketers can improve their efforts in the coming year:

  1. Align targets, resources, lead scoring and content creation. Long-term goals and areas of focus should serve as a guide.
  2. Consider diving deeper into data you have collected about your existing customers as the shortest path to a more thorough understanding of who your new customers will be.
  3. Limited budget and resource concerns lend themselves to a renewed focus on account-based marketing techniques, combining what you know about the companies most likely to buy with your tactical campaign selection, lead scoring, lead nurturing, buyer persona creation and content strategy.
As it turns out, much of what the report concludes is common-sense advice. Know your audience, have a strategy, and measure your success – wisdom for this year and next.

P.S. ZoomInfo has partnered with Vorsight, an award winning sales effectiveness firm, to host "Unlock the Secrets to Handling Objections". Please join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, January 22nd at 1:00 PM. Space is limited. Reserve your spot today!


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