When it comes to inbound marketing and content creation in B2B situations, a lot of companies undertake a similar strategy….
The marketing team is 90% (if not more) responsible when it comes to taking the reins of the entire marketing campaign, which typically involves things such as gathering leads and converting them to customers, obtaining feedback, making suggestions for product and service enhancements, and improving their online marketing tactics (PPC, landing pages, blogs, social media, video/audio and written content etc.).
While this may have worked very well in the past, in the current rocky economic climate, more and more businesses are feeling the pinch and are clawing back on their spending, and history will show that marketing is one of the first areas to feel the pinch. The reason for this, especially for corporates, is often that executives are focused on measuring the spend, rather than the measuring the results of the spend.
Who Holds the Purse-Strings?
Especially in challenging economic times, business executives should not be considered ‘apart’ from their B2B marketing team, but rather ‘a part’ of it. Of course, they have ultimate control over the marketing spend (online and offline), but, more importantly, CEOs, CFOs and VPs have an important role in both B2B marketing and content creation, for one clear reason: executives of one company will know how to directly target those who hold the purse-strings – the executive team – of another company.
The Benefits to Executive Involvement in Customer Engagement
Other companies who have elected to involve their executive teams in devising B2B marketing and content creation strategies have observed:
- An improved customer retention rate
- An improvement in both budgeting and business strategic planning
- An improvement in developing relevant products and services
- An increase in positive reviews, testimonials, and referrals – all of which will lead to an increase in revenue
In fact in studies conducted by Sean Geehan from the “Geehan Group” results have shown that having an executive team play a more active role in marketing and content creation will:
- Lead to an increase in customer retention (90% retention vs. the average 72% for companies with no executive participation)
- Increase account growth by 12% (compared to 4% for non-executive participating companies)
- A huge boost in reference rates (94% vs. the average 28% for non-executive participating companies)
Creating a Customer Engagement Program for the Executive Level
Before one can get the executive staff involved in marketing and content creation, there are a few things that you need to bear in mind. Firstly, clear guidelines should be in place that encompass the creation, development, execution, and analysis of all marketing activities.
Having the right analytical software that measures the results of marketing activities directed to the company’s website can make or break marketing campaigns. This data is often vital in helping executives, in particular, to clearly see the effect that different online marketing strategies are having, and give direction on what can be done to make improvements to give them a better ROI.
CEOs are rarely aware of statistics such as:
- Web traffic analysis
- Unique visit traffic data
- Lead and customer generation stats
- Online advertising cost per acquisition (CPA) and ROI statistics
Executives who are aware of the hard data that comes with online marketing are able to prevent a number of common mistakes that can cost companies thousands, if not millions, of dollars – such as rehashing old strategies that worked once, but won’t in the current climate, or engaging quick-fix specialists before having a good grasp of the problem.
The first concern that undoubtedly comes up with such initiatives is money. New initiatives cost money, so where are you going to come up with the budget?
What’s great about inbound marketing is that when you get right into it, you can find several different ways to either cutback or completely eliminate ineffective marketing and engagement strategies that your company has been wasting its budget on. For example, according to HubSpot’s “2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report”, leads that are obtained through inbound marketing methods (such as online content like blogs and online PR) can save companies 61% per lead in comparison to outbound marketing methods. So by simply cutting back on things like newspaper advertisements and face-to-face visits, you’ll be freeing up a lot of your budget to spend elsewhere.
Appointing someone who will act as the “chief content officer” (CCO) will also go a long way in helping executives keep their content and content ideas oraganised. A CCO might be a content writer who is outside of the company, or an employee, who could be in charge of things such as:
- Developing content (or providing guidelines and strategies for helping develop content ideas)
- Managing content (including where it’s coming from, both in-house and third party providers)
- Acquiring research and statistics from other areas of the business to gain more insights about the customer
The last idea that companies may want to incorporate when introducing an executive level customer engagement program is to come up with methods that allow for them to “listen in” on their customers to gain further customer insight. Several marketing tools already provide a number of ways that a company can “eavesdrop” in on conversations, such as seeking and displaying any conversations about a company, or a company’s product and/or service on Twitter or LinkedIn.