In addition to building skills around data, analytics, SEO, storytelling and everything else, I recently proposed the idea that today’s digital marketers must also be mind readers. Well, not exactly, but it is true that marketers must be able to understand what’s going on in the buyer’s mind – not literally, but by careful observation.
In the digital world, this means tracking a prospect’s digital interactions. The website pages they visit, the searches they conduct, and the links they click can tell you a whole lot about what they’re thinking so that you can then respond intuitively like a “psychic,” as Forrester recently wrote.
But it isn’t enough for digital marketers to simply track digital interactions. They must be able to identify the decision-makers behind that behavior and uncover their priorities. Beyond intent monitoring, which we covered previously, here are two more ways digital marketers can anticipate what buyers want and deliver it before they even ask.
Knowing and understanding a buyer is essential for providing a personalized experience. A buyer new to the industry with a large budget isn’t going to have the same priorities as an experienced smaller company. Are you emphasizing cost, efficiency, speed, customer support, ease of use, experience? A competitive advantage isn’t always dependent on the ability to differentiate, but on the ability to align with the values and needs of the buyer, and data is the key to unlocking what a buyer wants. This data can include the links they click through in emails, the search terms they used, and the types of competitors they are researching. These digital interactions, combined with data about the prospect firmographics (such as company size and demographics) can enable you to determine how to position the sale by the factors that are most valuable to the prospect. As the Forrester article points out, “Understanding how a buyer interacts with information ... provides a model that can be used to move clients toward a sale.”
We know that many buyers are doing their research – on average they consume 13 content pieces before deciding on a vendor – so when they do reach out, they expect the seller to know what they want and have a good answer. But better yet, sellers should anticipate the buyer’s needs and reach out at the appropriate time, which leads me to my next point.
B2B marketers should aim to understand what their buyers want now, and what they may want next. By analyzing the digital interactions of prospects in the funnel, data trends and indicators will emerge that allow sellers “to deliver a buying process that anticipates customers’ needs.”
For example, if multiple people from the same account are interacting with the same content, that may be a trigger that they are ready to engage with a sales rep. Based on the specific content they’re interacting with, you may be able to deduce potential questions they may have based on your experience with other customers. From there, you can deliver personalized content that speaks to the buyer’s needs based on the information gleaned from their digital interactions. These types of triggers can be set up to tell you when it’s time to reach out again, share additional content or schedule an in-person or virtual meeting.
The bottom line is this: just because prospects aren’t replying directly to your email, phone call or meeting request doesn’t mean they aren’t moving through the buying cycle. And to deliver the kind of personalized experience that these prospects want and expect, digital marketers need to dig deep and uncover as much data as they can about their digital behaviors and identities.
Understanding whether or not they’re the right decision maker, tracking the digital motions they’re making, and identifying their interests and priorities – including if they’re ready to buy – is data that can be at your fingertips today. And you don’t even have to be a mind reader to get a hold of it. Please reach out to me to find out more about the role OMI plays in enabling our clients to reach the right decision makers at the right time in the buying journey.
You can read part one of this two-part blog series here.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.