Imagine a lead discovers your product at an industry conference. After seeing your presentation, she stops by your booth and gets a quick demo. Later that week, she checks out your case studies, pricing page, and then gives you a call.
If you're only using online marketing data, you'd think your case studies and pricing page are absolutely brilliant! They've warmed the lead right up.
In reality, that's not the case.
Offline channels played a big role and this is why connecting online AND offline marketing data (omni-channel) is so critical. In this article, we discuss the 5 questions marketers think about around B2B omni-channel.
1. How Is B2B Different From B2C Omni-Channel?
Unlike B2C, there are no brick and mortar stores for most B2B brands. B2C marketers think about the implications of in-store location tracking and simultaneous mobile website visits.
B2C marketers are concerned with mobile touchpoints as consumers watch TV ads, shop online, and surf the web without moving their lower extremities.
Basically, they think about this:
On the other hand, omnichannel marketing is how B2B marketers understand the performance of offline channels like events and conferences, outbound calling, content syndication, and webinars.
Omni-channel for B2B marketing gives marketers a completely connected view of each channel and an understanding of the entire customer journey.
2. How Do I Handle Key Transition Points That Happen Offline?
Establishing key transition points is an important step for understanding how efficient marketing teams are at getting prospects through the funnel.
If a key transition point is an offline channel like events and conferences, not incorporating that channel into your attribution model may undervalue the influence it has in getting prospects to pick up the phone and call your sales rep.
This would be true if your customer journey takes a route such as the following. A prospect finds your brand on paid social, downloads content, meets a rep at a conference booth later that month, and then becomes a sales opportunity.
The image below shows key transition points and the associated online or offline channel. Without a connection between the two, marketers don’t see when lead conversions happen, or what channels the conversions happen in.
Omni-channel is how b2b marketers identify and track key transition points that happen offline.
3. How Can We Better Understand The Customer Journey?
How many of your sales opportunities found you through an online channel first? How many opportunities found your brand offline first?
Questions like these grow exponentially as you add more channels. When online and offline channels work in concert to move prospects through the funnel, it’s difficult to know the order of which prospects discover your brand and engage with your online media.
While we draw fancy funnels that are shaped like triangles, in reality, the journey through your funnel is more like a pinball in a pinball machine.
Omnichannel marketing answers big questions like, "What web pages do prospects look at after interacting with offline channels like events and webinars?" and "Do most prospects discover our brand through offline or online channels?"
Knowing the complete buyer journey means knowing how to make the journey shorter.
4. Can We Better Understand Customers and Channel Performance?
The customers that come from offline channels may be different than the customers who come in from online channels.
Customers may come from different size companies, have different job titles, have different average time-to-close rates, and have different average deal sizes depending on the channel. These are all insights that can help marketers understand who the buyers are.
Furthermore, knowing time-to-close and average deal size helps hold vendors in charge of offline channels accountable to opportunities and revenue.
By connecting offline and online channels, marketers can compare content syndication performance with channels like paid search and event sponsorships.
Connecting online to offline channel data adds more marketing channels to track -- as if we didn’t have enough channels to track already. But measuring the offline channel performance is obligatory for marketers who track everything back to revenue.
How does ROI compare between an event sponsorship and a paid search campaign? Knowing these numbers requires comparing two different channels using a consistent metric: ROI.
While events have non-monetary value, like brand awareness and new relationships, performance should still be measured to determine which events deserve sponsorship the next year.
Marketers can compare deal size to channel and determine which channels create customers who spend the most, or remain customers the longest.
5. How Do B2B Marketers Create A Better Customer Experience?
Isn’t it nice when you walk into a restaurant, the waiter asks, “The usual?”
A sales lead who has interacted with a sales rep at an event is different than a sales lead who has only clicked on an online ad. One is warmer than the other and is more familiar and comfortable with your brand. Now imagine knowing that before you call them.
It’s a different conversation when a lead has already met someone from your team. There is familiarity and rapport already established.
Connecting online and offline channels brings predictability. Like B2C brands can “predict” what you’re looking for online, B2B marketers can predict how familiar prospects are with your brand, and what prospects are looking for, by knowing every channel the prospect has interacted with (online and offline).
(Bonus) What Tools Are There For B2B Omni-Channel Marketing?
In this post, we’ve identified the major questions marketers have when it comes to marketing, and we discussed the challenges marketers face when they don’t have an omni-channel marketing (connecting data from online and offline channels) perspective of their customers.
As more channels continue to be added and the customer journey continues to become more complicated, an omni-channel perspective will only become more important.
We recently announced a new feature that does just this. For more information be sure to read about omnichannel marketing for B2B on MarketingLand.