By now, you’ve likely wrapped up your Q1 planning and are in full on 2017 execution mode. As you sit there putting the finishing touches on your plan, I’m sure you’re wondering what your fellow marketers are up to. In this post I will share what my peers and I are seeing as the top demand gen priorities for this year. If these are not in your plan, it’s not too late to add them!
1. Performance Marketing: Out with the Old, In with the New
Performance marketing has come to the forefront again as providers ramp up their product offerings. Take LinkedIn for example - in addition to Sponsored Updates/InMail, they've recently launched Web and CRM retargeting offerings. Other vendors doing this include AdRoll, Facebook and DemandBase.
As digital marketing becomes more advanced and targeting options improve, fixed-cost or set-price marketing campaigns will slowly start to go away. Content syndication and guaranteed lead program budgets will be reallocated towards performance-based methods such as PPC, retargeting, display and paid social. And since performance marketing strategies are very complimentary to SEO, in 2017 marketers will continue to invest heavily in SEO as well.
Performance marketing is so important because it inspires innovation. It forces you to constantly get ahead of your campaigns so you can continuously optimize your creative, copy, landing pages and forms. It also forces accountability from a reporting and analytics perspective – you can only improve what you measure.
2. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM will no doubt be one of the main buzzwords of 2017. Why? Simply put, ABM allows marketers to target companies that have a higher propensity to buy. The advantages are that it gives marketers bigger influence over outbound/prospecting campaigns and most importantly, it forces sales and marketing alignment.
Over at Perfecto, we recently overhauled lead scoring and MQL definitions to "make room" for ABM. To accomplish this, we worked with sales to identify all named accounts in the CRM. We then worked with our salesforce.com developer to create logic that would enable lead to account matching. When leads from named accounts come to us inbound, the system identifies them as such and automatically attaches them to the account in salesforce. These leads have a lower scoring threshold and we “fast-track” them to MQL. Getting inbound leads from named accounts into the hands of sales in a timely manner is crucial. Until this implementation, we had no way of identifying such leads. As a result, generating leads from named accounts is now a major KPI for the demand gen team.
3. Advanced Analytics
Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) is the most modern approach to measuring marketing impact. The number of vendors in this space is rapidly increasing and they all claim to be able to get the job done.
Most B2B companies still only measure the conversion touch-point (last touch). MTA on the other hand measures first, last, everything in between and then assigns weights in order to distribute credit to each touch-point. With the increased pressure on marketing teams to show impact on revenue, MTA will soon become a mandate.
A key player in this space is Bizible, who is paving the way for marketers and introducing concepts like “pipeline marketing”. According to Bizible, “pipeline marketing" is the next evolution of lead generation that focuses on connecting marketing and sales data to enable decision making and goals based on revenue.” Simply put, pipeline marketing is all of the things you do (channels) to distribute your content. And this is where MTA comes in – it helps marketers accurately identify what channels to invest in, how to measure success and more.