Podcast: The Rise Of B2B

The B2B marketing discipline, worth some $120 billion in annual spending, is in flux. Brands like Microsoft, John Deere, HP, GE and Adobe have migrated from a one-size-fits-all approach to one that is far more targeted.

This week on the podcast, we cover the impact of new methodologies, technologies and data on enterprise marketing, with the help of Michael McLaren, Merkle’s executive global group director for B2B and technology.

“In most B2B marketing organizations, there is data that exists in a variety of places – often not federated, often unstructured and very difficult to build a simple view of the customer,” McLaren says.

For marketers who are serious about cleaning and de-siloing their data, the heavy-lifting required is immense but the payoff is worth it.

“Understanding the customers you’ve got, and ensuring you’ve got the rights to market to those folks, and secondly really understanding how that customer is engaging with your company … allows you to build repeat purchase,” McLaren says. “There’s so much more ROI in that than going out and trying to pull new customers into the funnel.”

Because the consideration phase can be months or even years long, it’s crucial to deliver highly customized content – ideally personalized to the company and individual that is being targeted. As a result, programmatic and automation of media buying are less important in B2B than they are in mass marketing campaigns.

“Great B2B marketing uses all the tools: search, email, landing pages, content, third-party references,” he explains. “And it’s got them all firing to pull that prospective buyer into a purchase. If you can do it with minimum touches, minimum time and minimum friction then the chances are you’re going to drive a great ROI. And that’s the game.”


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