For the past several years B2B marketers have been using inbound marketing techniques for various activities such as:
- Mastering SEO/SEM across web properties
- Topping organic and contextual SERP listings
- Building brand equity across relevant social networks
- Developing appropriate marketing personas
- Honing market segments
- Establishing adequate thought leadership
- Influencing buyer behavior
- Targeting prospects with the right message at the right time
These are all necessary activities that constitute what The Marketing Id had referred to as the “customer marketing life cycle” in “The Social Media Marketing Value Chain in a Company’s Revenue Cycle.”
However, the customer marketing life cycle or revenue cycle typically pertains to the sale of a current or existing product, service or solution set. It is important to recognize that with the adoption of a CRM-integrated Marketing Automation Platform (MAP), a B2B has in its extended database a vast repertoire of information that is very pertinent to its marketing mix. The traditional marketing mix is made up of the classical 4P elements, each of which can be favorably manipulated based on the intelligence that is continually being gathered by the CRM-integrated MAP system:
Prospects–comments on a blog, questions during a webinar, dialogs based on a whitepaper and/or case study, etc.–offer invaluable feedback regarding a B2B’s current product definition that is captured in the CRM-integrated MAP system, and which the B2B can analyze and use accordingly during the ongoing product management lifecycle to positively impact its current or a future revenue cycle.
Prospects have had a tremendous impact on product pricing in the B2C world, especially in the e-commerce enabled retail sector, where 3rd party websites offer comparative product pricing that tremendously benefits the consumer. However, in the B2B world, especially one that is characterized by long sales cycles, prospects have less immediate influence on a product’s operating margins. Nonetheless, they contribute towards making the market pricing more efficient. Again, some of these benefits can be attributed to the new marketing paradigm, wherein a prospect establishes their digital footprint on a B2B’s various web properties that can be then extracted from its CRM-integrated MAP system and analyzed to arrive at a more optimum pricing structure during the ongoing product management lifecycle to positively impact its current or a future revenue cycle.
Many contemporary marketers were so enamored by the new marketing paradigm and the influence of inbound marketing on the B2C space that they prematurely wrote about the death-knell of the traditional 4P marketing mix, especially the forthcoming redundancy of the outbound marketing channel! Well, as far as the long sales cycle B2B world is concerned, the rumors about the demise of the outbound marketing channel have been greatly exaggerated! In fact, the new marketing paradigm is proving to be a great value-add to one particular outbound channel – the B2B direct sales force! The Marketing Id has explained how inbound marketing is changing the cold calling paradigm of traditional telemarketing and telesales in a previous post “Hello Sales, the Cold Call Just Got Warmer!” Suffice it to say that with the help of the new marketing paradigm, a prospect’s digital footprint in a B2B’s CRM-integrated MAP system is analyzed and used for more efficient outbound channel management to positively impact its current or a future revenue cycle.
Inbound marketing has made a radical difference to the promotional aspects of B2B long sales cycle marketing. Analysis of a prospect’s digital footprint in a B2B’s CRM-integrated MAP system is enabling the targeting of the right message to the right prospect at the right time – The Marketing Id discussed this concept in a previous post “From Leads to Deals: Promoting Sales with a New Marketing Paradigm.” In fact, the promotion of a product has become a more scientific process and there are metrics to establish the efficacy of various promotional efforts.
Clearly inbound marketing has become a rather useful driver of the traditional B2B marketing mix – in fact; the 4Ps have become more reliable and effective within the new marketing paradigm!