With most trade shows canceled and in-person meetings on hold, successful marketers have shifted to not just a digital-first mindset, but a digital-only mindset. Even as many B2Bs have reduced their overall marketing spend this year, email and digital ads are thriving. A new eMarketer report forecasts that US B2Bs will spend $8.14 billion on digital ads in 2020, up 22.6% from 2019. And email is booming too, with reports showing use has increased and performance has “skyrocketed,” with email revenue up 86%.
Here are 5 reasons why email and digital marketing are on fire right now along with a few tips on how to leverage them to move the needle for your business:
The pandemic has changed the daily routine for many, which makes reaching the right decision-maker even more difficult as many B2B buyers are working from home, at different hours, and often times on their personal devices. The good news is email and digital ads can be targeted to reach your audience wherever they are. Especially with new data strategies that fill in the missing pieces and match a contact’s personal record to their professional one, marketers can reach the right executives in the office or their home office – and everywhere in between.
Marketing has always been about agility, in being able to adapt to the environment and seize opportunities as they arise. But never before have those skills been tested as they’re being tested now. Marketers are consistently needing to pivot, so it makes sense they would utilize the channels that are most adaptable. A recent article describes how email has become the most important channel during the pandemic, particularly because it’s so agile and can be easily adjusted as situations change. And email’s relatively low cost and high ROI gives it another ‘pro’ on the list.
While many B2B businesses usually rely on in-person events to build and strengthen relationships, marketers have had to find new ways to increase visibility and stay “top of mind” for their customers. Email and digital marketing offer a way to target audiences that a brand would normally see in-person with personalized messages that are both timely and relevant. For email, marketers are connecting with customers through a mix of useful and personal content such as email newsletters, links to related blog posts, or information about a relevant offer, program or other sales opportunity. Additionally, programmatic advertising can provide a one-two punch by following up on an email with a targeted display ad to remind them of the opportunity that may benefit them.
Although these challenging times have tightened some purchasing budgets, many buyers are still researching options and moving through the funnel – although perhaps at a slower pace. More than half of marketers said the current crisis hasn’t changed purchase plans, but 68% said the length of their purchase has increased. Email and digital ads support buyers through the process to provide relevant content, remind them of their interest and need, and nurture them through the funnel. And if you’re utilizing data to its full potential, you can use email and digital ad data to anticipate what buyers want and deliver it before they even ask. (Check out my previous blog posts on digital marketers as “mind readers,” here and here.)
The crises of 2020 have affected industries and businesses in a range of economic ways, with some facing severe economic downturns and others seeing massive growth. However overall, many businesses have tightened the figurative purse strings on unnecessary expenses, particularly as long-term effects remain so uncertain. Which is all the more reason for marketers to focus their limited resources on targets that have demonstrated purchase intent signals through their online behavior. Data-driven marketing is able to track that online behavior and reach those buyers with targeted email and digital ads.
In recent months, marketers have had to rethink their strategies, shift spend to drive demand, and reach buyers on the channels they frequent most. It’s no wonder email and digital marketing have been on the rise. And despite the challenges, there are things we can learn from this experience and opportunities to improve upon going forward.
To me, it’s clear the importance of digital marketing will continue to grow.
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.