B2B marketing has always sort of gotten a bad rap. It’s the less creative, conservative, boring little brother to B2C marketing. It seems like consumer marketing is always adopting new trends first – even within mobile – while B2B traditionally trails behind. But is all that changing?
According to some new stats out of Salesforce’s annual State of Marketing report, 46% of marketers surveyed are using mobile marketing (vs only 23% in 2014) with 70% of respondents saying that they see mobile marketing as a critical enabler of their business. Now that’s a pretty impressive jump in just a year.
However, while both B2C and B2B marketers see the ROI in mobile activities, B2C brands are much more likely to have integrated mobile into their entire strategy.
Not a surprise, right? Well, with so much room to grow and much of the “trial-and-error mobile marketing” done from B2C counterparts, 2015 is looking like the year B2B mobile will really make its mark.
Changing the game in B2B marketing
Mobile gives brands the unique opportunity to get closer to customers on a device that is omnipresent. And this is no different in the world of B2B where decision makers are more connected than ever to their mobile devices.
Much as B2C marketers have been using mobile to connect with customers throughout the customer journey, B2Bs should also be providing mobile optimized experiences across all touch points, including apps, websites, landing pages, email and social media. In fact, where B2Cs have maybe been the trailblazers, B2Bs can now look to what has and hasn’t worked on mobile to understand how to deepen relationships and maximize revenues.
Loyalty programs, special offers to mobile users and cross-channel engagement activities that integrate mobile are not only effective, but marketers who have integrated mobile (68% in 2015 vs. 49% in 2014) report all other marketing technologies and marketing channels as more effective! Meaning if you’ve not integrated mobile, you’re really losing out, double!
B2B mobile marketing investment
While many businesses have already optimized their current marketing activities to mobile (via responsive design), the next step for many is investing in mobile apps. In fact, 52% of marketers have said that mobile app technology is one of the technologies most critical to creating a cohesive customer journey, just after marketing analytics (54 percent) and CRM tools (57 percent). That’s huge!
Apps present marketers with the ability to connect with users on a more personal level thanks to tools like push notifications and location-based marketing. In the last few years, app users have grown more comfortable with push and sharing their location as they have come to see that they can receive much more valuable content. That being said, marketers have been slow to adopt geolocalization, even if the great majority of those that do cite it as an effective strategy.
The B2B marketer – famous for understanding complex purchasing decisions, sales cycles and triggers – is primed to set up a mobile CRM strategy that is helpful, rather than disruptive. Where geo-localizated push notifications or beacon-enable messages might be seen as disruptive in a consumer retail setting, in a trade show they can supply your visitor with valuable content to aid the decision-making process.
But it’s not just about creating apps – as Jeff Rohrs, VP of marketing insights for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud states in an interview, “You need to grow usage and engagement and all of those things, in an environment where you are going to be competing for attention… That’s going to take some very creative efforts on the part of marketers to optimize their own owned media, to better pitch and get downloads of their mobile apps, and ultimately, integrate it so that it’s not just this thing that marketing created, but that is supporting your organization—its products, its services—in a deep fashion so that they have a usefulness, a utility for their consumer that goes beyond just being sold to.”
Translation: the power of apps lay in the ability to engage and provide added value, be it the ability to make in-app purchases, access premium content, connect directly to the sales force, etc. Integrating apps with your CRM can deliver on the promise of personalization, while adopting geolocalization technologies can help you leverage localization in your acquisition and retention strategies.
The world of opportunities is huge for B2B mobile marketers – how will your business be a part of the boom?
Read the full 2015 State of Marketing report