Most of us are still catching our breath from all that goes into starting a new year – plans, meetings, calls, and lots of analysis and predictions for what 2020 has in store. What caught my eye as I was perusing the trade publications this week was new B2B marketing benchmark data published in Chief Marketer. The data shows how the email marketing landscape continues to evolve, yet also stays the same – perched right at the top in terms of delivering marketing ROI. Here are some findings from the report to guide you as your new year takes shape:
- Email still top lead gen ROI channel: According to the report, email delivers the highest ROI when it comes to uncovering leads. Exactly half (50%) of marketers put email in their top three lead generation channels, followed by search engine optimization (43%), and content marketing (34%). Perhaps not surprisingly, print (9%), influencer marketing (10%), and telemarketing (13%) are the least preferred lead generation mediums. In addition, email (64%) tops the list of techniques most valuable for lead nurturing, followed by content marketing (59%) and in-person meetings (56%). Clearly, email is still king when it comes to generating and nurturing leads as we start the new decade.
- Offering real value via quality data: The biggest email marketing challenges cited by B2B marketers include click-through rates (53%), open rates (42%), list fatigue (36%) and deliverability (26%). In my opinion there are two solutions here: the first is to ensure you offer your prospects something of real value that gives them the opportunity to learn about and overcome their current challenge. This might include a video, webinar, report or some other content that frames the problem, provides potential solutions, and explains how your offer fits in. Secondly, as many companies tend to exhaust their own lists over time, most of them will need fresh customer acquisition data to reach new clients and boost lead gen initiatives. A focus on data quality will ensure email messages are delivered so that lead gen objectives are met.
- Leveraging expertise: Speaking of quality content, the report says B2B marketers rely on articles and blog posts (55%), reviews and customer testimonials (43%), and whitepapers (38%) to move prospects through their sales funnels. That means leveraging your in-house experience and expertise to communicate what works, best practices, tips and tricks, guidance and advice – whatever assists your prospects in understanding and overcoming their challenges. In addition, showcasing your customers’ results and feedback regarding your offerings provides more credibility to your claims: studies show that 82% of consumers consider user-generated reviews extremely valuable, and that 70% will look at them before making a purchase decision. Lastly, whitepapers are great for deep dives into more complex challenges; if possible, consider involving third parties (e.g. consultants, partners, industry associations, etc.) to write, participate or sponsor them, which adds more credibility and authority.
- Ensuring a positive customer experience: While 80% of B2B marketers claim customer experience is a significant focus, the top challenges to delivering this include budget, organizational support and bandwidth. Possible solutions to overcome these include ensuring your sales process is simple and straightforward, all departments are supportive of customer needs and your product/service is easy to use. Also, be sure to follow up with customers to learn about their experiences with your products – you might discover some things that are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix.
Many thanks to Chief Marketer for doing an excellent job with this survey. I always find benchmark data like this to be extremely valuable when it comes to understanding the shared challenges that we marketers face and uncovering options for where and how to make improvements. On that note, I wish you success with all of your marketing initiatives in 2020. As always, our team at OMI stands ready to support you. Ping us if you’d like to discuss new options for improving your marketing in the new year!
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our video tutorials to find out how you can optimize your acquisition email marketing initiatives.