3 Things Marketers Need To Know About Digital Media For 2014

B2B marketers are having a tough job. Amid immense pressure to deliver results, we are seeing diminishing return in pure online demand generation, due to ever-changing behaviors and increasing acquisition cost. The growing sophistication of media landscape both provide an opportunity for B2B marketers to innovate, as well as the need for us to learn and unlearn.

Just to name a few statistics (I believe you have come across during any vendor’s presentation):

  • 41% of business-to-business buyers use smartphones to access online vendor marketing content (Source: CMO Council)
  • Prospects complete almost 70% of the purchase process before engaging vendors (Source: Forresters)
  • 87% of technology decision makers use on-line media for decision making (Source: Google/CEB)
  • 93% of business buyers use search to begin the buying process (Source: Marketo)

In the recent Media Innovation Day conducted internally in SAP, we brought together thought-leaders from various media publishers (BBC, CBSi, Economist, Techtarget etc) to address and tackle the digital media needs.

Taking notes from the event, here are the 3 things B2B marketers need to know about digital media:

1. Marketing function need to think and work like a publisher. Content was the common theme throughout the presentation from Media publishers. Customers need to be educate, entertain, or inspire. Without one of these, borrowing a quote from David Ogilvy, “…it will pass like a ship in the night”. So we need to have a model and process that work like content publishers, such that we are able to provide quality content that our target audience are looking for and distribute them to where they are. Although not an entirely new idea, it did set us thinking about the internal process of content building, localisation and distribution. Although media publishers continued to pitch banner take over, rich media interstitials, what we were hearing more was that media publishers are now more willing now to work with brands like us to build content together. “Native Advertising” may be nominated for Overhyped Word of the year, but essentially, this is where the industry will go, because the brand and users demand for it. One interesting case is this case study on “Look Ahead” campaign that Economist did for GE.

2. Multiscreen / multiplatform. I can’t remember a session where there was no mention of the word “Mobile”. A key trend is that users are moving from Prints to Desktop to Mobile/Tablets. Not only do marketers need to think of Mobile as one of their primary channels, but we also need to understand how content are consumed across multiple platforms. For example, BBC mentioned that visitors visiting their Mobile Site prefer to consume news in small chunks within short periods, while users using BBC Mobile Apps have a deeper engagement. Therefore, how we display our relevant contents/ads to these 2 distinct groups of mobile users will be important. And this brings us to another buzz word that “Omni-channels”, essentially on delivering seamless approach to the customer experience through all available channels.

3. Embracing “brand to demand.” Not all medias are created equal. Some media publishers are good for establishing “thought leadership”, while some media publishers are essential towards the end of technology buying cycle. Understanding how each media works, and thus the way we measure media performance need to be different across these touch points. To bring across the message, Techtarget gave another interesting quote “Not all Leads are creating Equal” and showcased their Activity Intelligence Dashboard that allows telemarketing to understand how different leads consume contents within Techtarget network to provide intelligence on at which stage of buying cycle the lead is at.

As we conclude 2013, it is remarkable to see how the media landscape has change for past few years. I believe 2014 will be an interesting year for B2B marketers, as we continue to shift the paradigm.

This blog first appear on SAP Business Innovation Blog