Forrester touts CORE marketing principles13-May-2011
by Kate Maddox, B2Bonline.com
To more effectively leverage their investment in interactive marketing technologies, b2b marketers need to significantly realign their organizations, according to a new report from Forrester Research.
The report, “CORE: The Key to More Effective B2B Interactive Marketing,” uses data from Forrester's “December 2010 U.S. Interactive Marketing Online Executive Panel Survey,” an online poll of 252 U.S. interactive marketing executives.
“B2b organizations are straining to align traditional mass-marketing practices and sales support with new digital-focused customer behavior,” said Michael Greene, a Forrester analyst and author of the report, pointing to one of the key findings from the December survey.
The survey found most companies still have relatively small interactive marketing departments. Thirty percent of companies with more than $500 million in revenue have fewer than 15 people in their interactive marketing departments. Only 20% of large companies have more than 100 people in their interactive marketing departments.
“B2b organizations have invested heavily in interactive marketing in recent years, but in most organizations, interactive marketers still remain siloed,” Greene said.
Forrester recommended a new approach it calls CORE—for custom branding, optimized technology and insight, responsive engagement and empowered staff.
“The idea of custom branding is that marketers will create more personal, custom brand experiences for their target audiences,” Greene said.
“In the b2b context, this means not only targeting industries or specific segments but understanding how to message to people who are line-of-business executives.”
He said companies have typi-cally relied on sales organizations to deliver one-to-one messages to their target audiences, but “in b2b organizations, marketers will play a bigger role in recognizing these needs, especially in things like the lead nurturing stage, making sure the right people are getting the right information.”
In a separate report released last month, called “The Future of Interactive Marketing,” Forrester provided some examples of how b2b and b-to-c companies are effectively using CORE principles.
An example of custom branding, the report said, is online radio station Pandora's use of customized emails based on users' listening pref-erences.
The second element of CORE—optimized technology and insight—means technology and analytics need to become key parts of the marketing planning process, according to the latest report.
“This is an idea that has always been elusive for b2b marketers—real campaign optimization,” Greene said. “How do we create a cross-channel experience so that customers do not exist in a single channel silo?”
For example, Intuit TurboTax dynamically adjusts site content based on user profiles, modeled navigation paths and search trends, according to Forrester.
The concept of responsive engagement is focused on getting marketing closer to the customer.
“Marketing organizations need to be more closely aligned with sales around this idea of what are the customer's needs,” Greene said. “Marketers become not channel-based communications experts but customer experts.”
For example, Verizon Business has aligned sales and marketing around customers' business objectives, according to an earlier Forrester Report released in January: “B2B Sales and Marketing Alignment Begins With the Customer.”
Finally, b2b marketers need to empower their staffs.
“This is about marketers—especially interactive marketers—becoming change agents within their companies and using their ideas to influence the rest of their organizations,” Greene said.
An example cited by Forrester is Black & Decker, whose sales trainers create how-to videos based on their own experiences with the products they sell.
To help companies begin to implement this strategy, Forrester has created a CORE B2B Diagnostic, which asks companies to rate themselves on topics such as marketing and sales alignment, digital strategy and creating relevant messaging for target audiences.
Based on their scores, companies are classified as skeptics, experimenters, practitioners or conductors of CORE principles.
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