Vine Blog: B2B markkinointi

This text is only available in Finnish at the moment. 

This text is only available in Finnish at the moment. 

AI (Artificial Intelligence) will change marketing – this is something that us marketeers have heard plenty of times. In B2B marketing of small and middle-sized company the question is how will AI affect the every day work of marketing in the near future?

I’ve tried to learn as much as possible about this, but to be honest I still don’t feel like today’s AI- solutions work in my every day marketing tasks. “AI will change marketing”- hype  has caused a lot of frustration in me, because the more I have studied this, more certain I am that it’s going to take a while before AI truly is a part of marketing. The frustration started with chatbots..

  

1. CHATBOTS

To understand more about AI, I have been listening to different experts in different events. Every time I hear the same story: ”Chatbots will take care of website chats.” And then what? To us, like many other small and middle-sized companies, the daily messages to the chat can be counted with one hand. It would take decades, before AI would have enough data from the chats, to answer all the questions instead of a human. And would this kind of investment pay itself back? No, I don’t think so.

In B2B markets the website volumes are notably smaller than in B2C markets and the extra value of chatbots comes with the quantity. So, for now the value of the chatbot in B2B world can most likely be forgotten.

 

2. IDENTIFICATION OF PICTURES AND VIDEOS

Identification of pictures and videos will certainly be a part of a small and middle sized companies b2b marketing. Picture identification is already done daily, by for example opening an Iphone with facial identification, adding a filter to your face in Instagram or when tagging yourself in a photo and Facebook asks: “Is this you in the photo?” In the near future consumers can search similar products and services from the web by using photos. Marketeers need to get ready for the change of search behaviour.

It has been said, that more than 70% of webstreaming will come from videos by the end of 2020. In the future AI can make conclusions and analyses based on videos. For example, we can choose the best brand videos of the year based on the AI’s suggestions. Picture and video identification will decrease the manual work of marketeer.

  

3. CONTENT PRODUCTION

The fact that AI will help in content production, is great news. Content producers might be scared that their jobs will disappear – I don’t believe that this is as black and white: Content producers will be needed in the future too. AI most likely will not write a Pulitzer winning novel. Or who knows maybe this will be possible in the future also.

Forbes uses AI for news producing and AI does that very successfully. The content produced by AI is still in children’s shoes that it can’t be fully trusted. Microsof's racist tweets are a proof of this. I still can’t wait for the time when AI can help with the content production of a small and middle-sized company. 

 

4. SMART TARGETING OF ADVERTISING AND CONTENT

Day by day marketing is more personalized and targeted and it’s a great idea that no one has to see irrelevant adverts in the future. This is the way where we are going but we are still in the beginning of the journey. We all see adverts that we don’t want to see. Quantity replaces the quality in this case. AI is taking us towards a world where we see less but better adverts.

AI has bee used to target advertising for a long time now. Showing adverts to a certain person is like recommending shows on Netflix: It’s based on th behaviour of the user.

When advertising happens, like recommendations in the services you use, everybody benefits. I always love all the songs that Spotify recommends to me based on my song history. You can use the power of recommendation already on your website, in email marketing and Display advertising by serving certain content to different customer segments.

 

 

As a marketeer for small and middle sized company I felt reliefed and relighten after hearing the interview of Alf Rehn in marketing summit 2018. The topic was ”What is wrong with a Finnish small and middle sized – companies marketing”. I wanted to share this feeling of relief and insight to my colleagues (who as marketing managers of small and middle sized- companies probably ponder more or less about the same things that I do) and of course to all our beloved Vine blog readers. This bolg post is a mix of aggregation and reflecting the Alf Rehn interview.

 

So, what is wrong with marketing of Finnish small and medium-sized companies? What needs to be fixed?

 

 

1. Do multiple small things well and continuously

Alf Rehn says that in a Finnish small and medium-sized company the problem in marketing is usually the fact that the marketing tasks are tactic individual operations: Fun campaigns and events. Focus is fully in one campaign and during this time other marketing operations are completely forgotten. Instead of individual campaigns we should focus in small everyday things and continuity. Marketing needs to be done every week ”in a constant and boring speed”

”Marketing needs to be done every week in a constant and boring speed”

Rehn thinks presence is the core of marketing. A small marketing operation a day will build something greater. “Ongoing boring marketing is better than rushing”. Marketing is not individual campaigns, adverts and events. Marketing is boring. Marketing is presence and conversation. This is where the issue with marketing in a Finnish company is. I personally felt relief about this “constant and boring speed”- thinking, because sometimes marketing does feel like boring hard work. So we actually are doing it right?

"There is a same problem with small and medium- sized company’s marketing and yearly January gym trend: First you spend all your energy to working out and after a while you forget about the whole thing. Going to gym twice a week is better than doing it every day for the whole January and then quitting. The same applies to marketing: 1 pill won’t make the fat melt away and marketing isn’t fixed at once.

"Continous and boring marketing is better than rushing”

Problems appear also when marketing is done ”when we have time” (this means never) If there isn’t a clear budget and resources for marketing, it will not happen. There is something relieving in the words of Alf Rehn which makes the continuous hard work feel more inspiring in the future.

 

2. Communicate and be present

Customer relationships, like any other relationship, doesn’t work without communication and presence. Continuity, presence and communication are important so that our customers know that we are here for them. Rehn believes that the problem in Finland is that often the communication towards customer happens when there is a problem going on. Instead of this there should be more ”hey how you doing”- communication. Marketing should be based on desire to communicate with the customer.

“Marketing is communication instead of campaigns.”

Rehn recommends: “communicate to customers like you would be communicating to your wife”. Let’s be honest and nice to each other but let’s not talk about all our problems is life. How does this sound?

 

3. Think about what you are proud of

” Pride is a great thing, not a sin.” According to Rehn Finnish companies don’t dare to be proud of their own excellence. Are we too kind to be proud of our own accomplishments? I feel a sting in my own heart, because this is how it is. Note to self: “Be proud of your own actions.”

”Be proud of your own actions.”

Dare to tell the customer that I can help you because I can do this better than you. Be proud of your own accomplishments and excellence. I don’t think that pride without excellence and talent leads to anything good.

 

4. Stand out

”No one is actually unique.” That’s true, but with the help of marketing we can communicate what kind of value we want to give to the customer. Standing out is something that all of us marketeers need to keep in mind. “ If you want to succeed in marketing, you have to stand out.”

How do you stand out from your competitors? Are you trustworthy as a service provider? Do you give the best service? Are you present in your customers every day? Tell your customer via marketing communication how you stand out from the crowd.

”If you want to succeed in marketing, think about how you stand out from the crowd.”

Don’t think about how others don’t do it if it doesn’t help you stand out. You don’t need an advertising agency to succeed, because marketing isn’t about design. Marketing is about what customers buy. What is your way of differing from others and marketing?

 

5. Try and test

What do you want to succeed with marketing? More sales? Try different options (a/b testing) and you’ll know what works best in your marketing. How do you measure results and why is the testing part of something bigger? Measure the results as precisely as possible so you can develop constantly.

What is the boldest move you can make without losing your customers? Try it! Finlayson with their Women’s day campaings and Tom Of Finland textiles is a great example about being bold. They probably lost some customers but won more new ones. What are your boundarys and possibilites?

 

You can find the whole Alf Rehn interview as a podcast from BusinessFM here.

 

 

Email marketing has a questionable reputation as a result of the messages you receive in your mailbox without wanting to. But you also receive interesting content that you want to read: For example blogposts about things that you find interesting, or offers on products you actually use. Newsletters have hit the goal when you find yourself clicking links, like you most likely have done. What kind of newsletters have worked for you in the past? What is the reason why email marketing has worked and what is the reason behind when it hasn’t?

The popularity of email marketing has (suprisingly) increased. Quality email marketing is an efficient way to reach your target group but when it fails it can easily turn against itself. When you do email marketing, take care that your messages are targeted to speak to the receiving end. Here are 8 tips for succesful email marketing:

 

1. TIMING

Send your emails at a time when the receiver has time to open the message. The right timing can make a huge difference in the open- and click-through-rates. You can find the right time for your target group by testing different times and measuring the results of your messages.

In B2B-marketing most companies send email marketing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, when most of us are at the office. As a result this causes that most of the newsletters are sent on weekdays. So here is an opportunity to do something different: What if you would send your newsletter on a Friday or even on a Sunday?

 

2. ACTIVATING

Build emails that urge the receiver to react. Newsletter that bring in results have a CTA (call-to-action) in them. What is the goal of your newsletter? Build your newsletters and the CTA’s based on your goal.

Avoid conditional and use verbs that tell the reader what to do: Download, watch, read, get to know and so on. Forget about capslock and exlamation point, because no one want to BE YELLED AT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

3. DESIGN

Design is not as important, as the content itself but it does help your newsletter to stand out in the jungle on email marketing. What kind of design that looks like your brand your newsletters could stand out from the groud? You can use colours, whitespace and imagination in yout desing.

 

4. TARGETING

Everything to everyone doesn’t work. Share content that works for your target group. Pleasing the outsiders of target group doesn’t mean anything.

Emails that the receiver finds useless, are being marked as read or worst case scenarias trash.These will worsen the reputation of your domain,which will make it more difficult to reach your newsletter subscribers.

If the open rates of your messages are low, find out the reason why immediately and make changes, to get the open rates up. If you mailing lists with low open- and click-through-rates, stop sending messages to them.

Carefully targeted email marketing gets better open- and click-through-rates and it’s clear as day that it gets better results. Targeting newsletters with the help of demographic information might already be used in many companies but what about targeting based on the actions person does? This is where marketing automation steps in the picture.

 

5. TITLES

Title has a big impact on the fact if the email will be openedo r not. Read outloud the title before sending the message. Would you open the message with the title you gave it? 

a. Emojies

With the help of emojies you can these days form whole sentences. Emojies also work well in the titeling of email marketing. Even one emiji can help you stand out from the groud and spice up the black and white.

b. Questions

Questions work well as titels of emails. What kind of questions are relevant to your target group? If the question sinks in, who can not find out about more about the subject?

c. Number of characters

If your title is too long, it won’t show in all devices, like on mobile. Most of the emails are been read in mobile these days, so keep your title on max 50 characters. No one wants to read a too long title which leads to your messages marked as read. One research says that best titles are 5 and 3 word titles. Make it short and clear!

d. Numbers

Numbers help you stand out in email marketing. They bring the feeling of concrete facts and are easy to understand. Like in blogpost titlesin email marketing numbers work well.

e. Clarity

We all scan our emails through quite fastly. So don’t form a too complicated title to your message. Short and clear works in a title much better than difficult and fancy words.

f. Testing

Trying different things, you’ll learn what works best for your audience. Test different variations in your titles.

You van also A/B test your titles: Send the same message to the same target group at the same time divided in two groups. Put different titles in both group. This way you get a understanding on what works best for your target group.

 

6. PERSONALIZE

Make your email marketing receiver feel special and personalize your newsletters by at least usin the persons firstname. Stay simple and only use information like firstname, lastname or company where he or she works at.

Don’t send messages from ”noreply” address, instead personalize the address. We for example use address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as our address in the newsletter. Send your messages from an address where the person can also reply. You can also personalize your messages by writing content as you would be writing it to your best friend.

 

7. CONTENT

Serve your customer truly good and interesting content. This is an obvious point, but it should always be kept in mind when doing email marketing.

Good contents speak to the receiver. Don’t only inform about your company’s products or update about your current situation because your customers are not interested on these things. Send content that gives your receiver value. Put on your customers shoes and think about what kind of content would be useful for him or her.

Newsletters are a great way to communicate and usually this is the idea behind email marketing.

 

8. GOAL ORIENTATION, TESTING AND MEASURING

Why do you do email marketing? Email marketing should be goal oriented, long term process. Goals also make the measuring possible and this way help with the constant developing.

Every company’s audience and marketing register are different, so the secret behind effective email marketing is testing. Trying different options you can find the best way for you to succeed in email marketing. By following the results you’ll learn to know your target group better. What kind of content, title, timing, desing and so on works best for your audience?

This blogpost was created based on the mostly asked questions on our GDPR webinars. Read more about GDPR from our previous blogposts: GDPR from the view of B2B-marketeer.



1. Is a permission needed if sending B2B-marketing content to persons work email?

Short answer: No it’s not needed. The services promoted in the email need to have something to do with person’s job title or responsibilities.

One of GDPR’s principles is the indicated obligation. Companies have the right to send information about their products to people working with a field that has something to do with their product. When handling peronal data it’s important to follow all the settings of the regulation. Also following the rules of quality email marketing is very important.


2. Is it still allowed to buy and sell B2B-decision makers contact details for the marketing register?

Short answer: Yes it is. Outsourcing is an efficient way to keep the information of marketing register up to date, which is one of the settings in GDPR.

For example when us at Vine pass on the decision maker information from Suomen Asiakastieto to our customers, we are the middle hand in the situation. Customers who use the information are register keepers and responsible for the use of data. Also Suomen Asiakastieto is a register keeper, who takes care of the rightfulness of the information they sell.


3. Do I need to have a consent from everyone I want to send marketing emails to?

Short answer: Separate consents don’t need to be collected. “Indicated obligation” and ”contract” (for example customership) are also potential grounds for the usage of personal data.

If a consent is chosen for the grounds of the use of data, register keeper also needs to indicate the consent. The consent must be asked separate from other things in an understandable form. It’s possible to cancel the consent when ever and also this possibility needs to be informed about. The consent is not allowed to be a term for the use of service.

 

4. How to execute the right to be forgotten in real life? How to delete the information and data in a way that it doesn’t come back from another source?

Short answer: Convention becomes clear later on..

”The right to be forgotten” is one of the things about GDPR that awakens a lot of questions. The idea is that that everyone is able to have a say in the use of their own personal information. In B2B-marketing the personal details are mostly contact informations and forgetting often means unsubscribing the mailing list.

 

5. What needs to be taken in to account with the customer register? Does there need to be changes done in the marketing register?

Short answer: See the personal detal handling as a wholeness instead of just the register.

Registers where the information is been stored, are just one part of the personal data handling. To see the big picture it’s important to understand why the information has been collected in the first place and who is the one handling it. Also the rights of the register need to be taken cared of: right of a understandable and visible information, right to see and change the information if needed and also the right to object the usage of the data handling.

Outsourced, GDPR-compatible service lets you off from a lot of worries.

 

The amount of content online has grown with huge speed during last few years. The guestion is: Does business blogging acctually get results anymore in B2B marketing? Do the companies’ blogposts drown in the sea of other posts? Contents can get expensive to companies if there are no readers for them. Let’s address this issue based on data:

 

 

 

84% of companies say that business blogging is profitable

Research (2017) involving over thousand business bloggers, shows that 84% say that business blogging gets results. Those who spend over 6 hours writing an individual blogpost, tell that they have reached significant results (the avarage time spent on a blogpost is 3,5 hours). Being careless with your blogging you don’t get as good results, this rule is valid in all of your marketing operations.

Suprising is that, on avarage the length of companies’ blogposts has grown: the number of less than 500 words blogposts has decreased and at the same time posts over 2000 words have become more popular. According to the research longer articles produce better results and on avarage the length of a post is usually about 1000 words. You could have imagined that short and easy to read blogposts would get better results.

According to the same research companies that do blogging in B2B-marketing get 67% more leads than the non-blogging ones.

 

 

Media consumption in Finland

The research shows us that an avarage Finn consumes media almost 8 hours each day and year by year more of it is used online. A self evident fact but still important to mention, that companies’ blogs also exist online.

In the online use top-list there is still email holding the winning place, probably most of us spend a big part of our day with email. Serving business blogs via email, is very effective in B2B marketing.

Results of active business blogging

Year 2017 (2 posts in a month) we doubled the number of our blogposts at Vine compared to year 2016 (one blogpost in a month). We use around 6 hours on writing an individual blogpost and in addition to adding the number of our blogposts we also added the length of the posts.

Here are the results we got during 2017, with putting more effort into our blogposts, compared to year 2016:

 

1. Number of blog readers quadrupled

 

2. Organic search scores increased 35%

 

3. Number of leads tripled

 

4. Time spent on reading the posts quadrupled

 

5. Bounce rate decreased 20%

 

GDPR EU’s new general data protection regulation awakens a lot of discussion, confusion and misunderstandings. No wonder, because there is many fake news about this subject. Discussion is heated, because the requirements of the regulation involve practically all companies. The transition time to the regulation ends in may 25th 2018 and your companys general data protection needs to be by the book, also the marketing side of it. So how does the new regulation affect B2B marketing?

In this blog post we address GDPR from the view of a B2B marketing and we will wright more about this subject on our blog in the near future.

The goal for the new regulation is to unify the data protection policies in the EU reserve and to improve the rights of registered people considering data protection and the cofidental usage of personal data. Many requirements of the regulation are well known from the present data protection law. GDPR specifies the term of personal data, brings registered people new rights and increases the number of affirmations in the usage of personal data in different companies. Companies need to be sure, that the current processes and systems are compatible with the changes that come with GDPR.

B2B marketeer should start preparation to GDPR with the following:

1. Communicate and take care of the visibilty of your action to your customers. Most likely other functions of your company are fully employed to prepare internal processes.

2. Put your marketing register together. The time of excels is over and the outsourced services take care of many data protection regulations on behalf of you.

3. Don’t confuse the ePrivacy- preparation to the GDPR regulations. ePrivacy can cause even bigger changes to marketing, but it’s time isn’t yet.

 

DATA PROTECTION PRINCIPLES

GDPR sets the principles of data protection, that guides the register keeper to handle personal data with respect towards the registered person. Companies need to take care that the data protection principles are been followed in every step of the processing.

INDICATION OBLIGATION

Companys need to be able to indicate that they ar following the regulations when handling personal information. This is a big change, because before it was enough that the regulations are being followed. Differ from the earlier there is a big sanction if the regulation is not being followed. (20 milion euros or 4% of the revenue).

Register keeper needs to document the use of personal information and execute all the legal and technical operations, which shows that the regulation is followed. The company is the register keeper and resposible for the handling of personal data, even when the handling has been outsourced to a partner. Company must give the partner written instructions for handling personal information and data.


RISK BASED APPROACH

GDPR-regulations risk based approach means, that the regulation obligations and protective actions must be put into perspective with the risk that the personal information handling might cause to the registrated person. B2B- marketing register usually consists of contact details and there is not as big of a risk included there as there is with for example financial information.


RIGHTS OF THE REGISTERED

The meaning of GDPR-regulation is to increase the visibility of personal information handling and strenghten the registered rights to regulate the use of his personal information. Who collects data and why? What kind of data is collected and with what grounds? Who is the data handed over? How long is the information being preserved? Registerd will have the opportunity to ask for the data that has been collected from him, and the company needs to be able to deliver the information to him.

Rights such as ”right to be forgatten” are still being defined so it works in practice. How to delete the informations of a person and at the same time make sure that they don’t come back from the same source again?

GDPR will increase the common interest in the handling of personal data. Customers activate themself to use their rights and will test companies with this. Companies that are one step ahead will stand out with visibility, informativity and readiness to act. The best marketing register-solutions will offer the functions considering peronal information and data handling as selfservice, without overloading customer service.

At Vine we prepare ourselves for GDPR in our own service. With the help of us you can tackle many changes that GDPR brings with in.

 

This blogtext is sequel to our previous GDPR post: GDPR for B2B marketer.

Google finds over 8 million results with the word ”GDPR” at the moment. Discussion is heated, because the requirements of the regulation involve pretty much all companies. As usual in digitalisated world, there are a lot of fake news about GDPR. Here is a few fake news from the top of the list in Google, about GDPR and B2B marketing.


1. ”Opt-out isn’t enough anymore, there needs to be a clear permission from the user to do direct marketing (Opt-in)”

This argument isn’t valid in B2B marketing: The new regulation doesn’t prevent targeted B2B-marketing and you are still allowed to send emails to B2B decision-makers if the content involves their job description. So there is still a possibility to do direct marketing in B2B world.

2. ”Person needs to give their approval for profiling in automated personal data handling”

Many writings about GDPR mention the prohibited right for profiling. This is fake news because there isn’t anything like this prohibited in the regulation. Profiling is still permissible.

3. ”It’s prohibited to use bought marketing registers”

It’s still allowed to use bought marketing registers and you can send content to B2B decision-makers if it conserns their job description. The information is just allowed to be used for the same meaning it was collected in the first place. Register keeper must document all the use of personal details.

4. GDPR vs. ePRIVACY

It’s good to notice that GDPR is about the usage of personal details but it’s often getting mixed up with ePrivacy-regulation, which is being prepared at the moment. ePrivacy is about digital communication data protection and there are different views about this which are still very far from each other. When the time comes ePrivacy will step in to the picture, but not quite yet.

Vine fullfills all the regulations of GDPR and helps customers to do the same.

At Vine we are very strongly commited to the new data protection regulation and we have found out everything there is to know about the GDPR. We will help our customers to follow the regulation with the help of our service and information. With the help of Vine, it’s a bit more easier to follow the regulation when it comes to marketing register, data protection and marketing automation.

 

The amount of content has raised up to clouds because of digitalisation. There is a lot of different marketing communication coming from different channels all the time. People are more and more busy and racing with time all the time. No one wants to spend time reading meaningless content to them. Instead of the amount of marketing content it’s the relevant content for the right target group that matters. When you target your content to the right people it can be very wanted communication. We have listed six tips for better targeting:


Why to segment?


Wouldn’t it just be easier to send the same marketing content to all of the customers? Yes, one of the biggest challenges in marketing is to recognize the differences between customers and separating customers to target groups based on the differences. Segmentation isn’t the word of the day for nothing though. When the right content meets the right customer the business is much more efficient and cost effective.
These days the customer should be at the core of the whole function of business. Targeted customer groups make the real understanding of customer possible and the customer understanding is the most important thing. When understanding the customer it’s easier to answer to his needs and this way to offer better and custom-made solutions for him. This leads to offering more value to the customer which hopefully leads to long lasting and profitable relationship. Insightful customer understanding gives the business a competitive advantage!


One step at a time


Segmenting is a long term process that builds up all the time. When defining the target groups it is important to know who do you want to target your marketing. There are many ways to separate your customers into groups and you need to come up with the best way for your company to do it. There is no right way when it comes to segmenting.
Anyways to get started with the segmenting process you can first divide your customers in clear groups. Dividing customers into prospects, current customers and former customers can make the big segmenting process clearer. Also an effective way to get started with segmenting is to first divide customers by the profitability, buying density or customer satisfaction. After the start it is easier to get deeper in the customer understanding.


Demography is not a segment


Segmenting customers by the residence, age, gender and marital status is a good way to segment. But two same age people living in the same area can be in a very different life situation and like very different things? Demografical facts are just a scratch of the surface when pursuing effective targeting of marketing. Psykografical segmenting take into account the interests, point of views and cultural identity of the customer. When these facts are also recognized it opens the door for a deeper customer understanding, which makes effective targeting of marketing possible.
Dare to try
The secret of segmenting is testing. Sending new content to customers is a great way to learn more about them by their reactions to the content. It’s always good to try!
The importance of measuring the results is highlighted when starting to target your content to different customer groups. In many companies it is very common that the sales people measure the outcome, but it’s important that the marketing department is also involved in the measuring process. Marketing and sales should work together towards the mutual goal.


Understand why


After dividing the customers into target groups the next step is to get to know each target group as well as possible. This means profiling the groups. Few psychology courses would help here. When you understand why customers behave the way they do it is also easier to target marketing to them. For example let’s say there is a situation where the customer is just not interested in the service or the product you are offering. In this situation it helps to find out why isn’t the customer interested. When you find out the reason why it’s easier to find a solution to the situation. The most important question during the buying process is WHY, and it is impossible to understand this if not knowing your customer.
Automation in segmenting
The help of marketing automation helps to find out what the customer really needs and this way lightens the segmenting process of the sales organization. By the help of automation the marketer learns piece by piece more about the customer and by customers activity the image of individual customers gets clearer. Automation also helps the process of sending content to the target croups.

 

 

Text of tips in Marketing week is only available in Finnish. See the text from here.

Vine had an honor to be a partner in Sales Morning 2017 event at Finlandia Hall in 14th March 2017. There was over 200 guests and Sales Morning was all about the future and efficiency of B2B sales. We had plenty of new ideas and we want to share ideas of Markus Ejenäs (CEO in ProSales institute) who's speech ”Are You Ready? How do you prepare the sales and marketing organization for digital transformation?” inspired us a lot. Here are 4 steps how you can prepare your B2B marketing and sales for digitalization:

Understand and map the customer journey. Customer buying process has changed due to digitalization. Even 70% of buying decision is made already before meeting a sales representative based on the information found online. Help your potential customer already in the beginning of the journey and offer them interesting content. 

- Maximize digital support for your sales process. You can make your sales process more efficient with for example automated communications, lead scoring and many other activities. Support your sales with digital services like marketing automation. 

- Be agile and data-driven. We have lots of data of which we can use in decision making. Use data and make changes in your business based on data. "They win who know the market and their customers."

- Build digital capabilities. Now it's at least time to take advantage of the new possibilities digitalization brings. Use for example social media and automation in your sales. Take care of your own knowledge.

 

Do you already know how automation helps sales? If you have any questions, download our guide to marketing automation (in Finnish) and learn the basics.

Marketing trends 2017

We picked the most important topics of marketing trends for the year 2017. We believe these six issues are something you should at least concider when planning the year of marketing 2017.

 

Change has become permanent. The cornestone of marketing, 4P, is not disappearing but it has to cope with the changes digitalization brings. There are two type of trends: short ones (like Pokemon Go) come and go and more permanent ones stay and grow. We hope more customer focud, social and responsible marketing. Videos, automation ja mobile usage continues stronger than ever. 

 

VIDEOS

The trend of using videos in marketing continues even stronger than last year. Videos are especially watched with mobile devices: 50% of people watch videos with their mobile phones at least once a week. Short videos work well and opporunities for video marketing increse. For example Marks&Spences listed Koskenkorva based on the brands new videos.

Video live streaming is also getting more and more popular. Snapchat and Periscope focus on live streaming and Facebook Live and Instagram stories launched their live streaming opportunities last year.

 

MOBILE

Mobile devices are more used than desktop in many services. For example more than 50% of search engine searches are made with mobile devices and more than 90% of Facebook usage is made mobile. Use of desktop is decreasing and potential customers spend their time in web more and more with mobile devices.

Also the amount of apps is increasing day by day. There are plenty of opportunities od companies to utilixe apps in their business.

 

MARKETING AUTOMATION

The cloud services in digital marketing, like marketing automation, are becoming more popular. The services of marketing automation become better all the time and there are many different options for different kinds of companies. It will become a necessity in business within a few years.

 

MORE PRECISE SEGMENTATION

Marketing, sales and customer service are becoming one and the customer experience is in the middle of all the actions. Getting your message through in this jugle of too much content in the web is difficult. There has been created more content in the web in two year more than there has ever been.

The best way to reach potential customers is to create unique and personalized content and segment target market more precise. The significance of unique content is becoming huge and more precise segmentation is needed to reach the target market. 

 

SOCIAL SELLING

Even three out of for Twitter users are waiting an answer for their question in social media within an hour of time after asking. It'se time to fix your customer service, sales and marketing in socia media. Social media is part of daily life and important channel for customers. Companies need to be present in social media and social selling is becoming a norm. 

Social media is changing all the time too. Especially the youth are using more restricted social media channels (for example Snapchat and Whatsapp). Reaching target market is more difficult but same time this creates an opportunity for more personalized dialogue with potential customers. 

 

RESPONSIBILITY

When the events of chaotic World are domitaning the news and social media, responsibility and equity are becoming more important in the daily base in companies. And if you do good things, don't forget to tell! Use those responsible acts in your marketing communications too. Ethicalness and responsibility should be a base for all the other acts. 

An up-to-date customer and marketing database is the best fuel for sales and marketing. When did your company last update its customer and marketing database? Do you update your database regularly, and is there anyone else responsible for doing that other than the sales people? Unfortunately, the fact is often that only few companies have time and resources for updating their customer and marketing database regularly.

Over the course of years, information included in the marketing and customer database might be gathered in excel files, emails, notebooks, as well as even in sales people’s memory. Thus, for the most of the time the information in marketing and customer database might be incorrect, incomplete, or irrelevant. Bad quality of information can lead to unnecessary sales contacts, targeting marketing messages to wrong people, or even to losing potential customers, among other things.

What comes to business, reaching the right people on the right time is naturally more efficient option than mass communication which the company, fingers crossed, then hopes to be able to reach interested, potential customers. Communication tactics based on “Reaches if it happens to reach” –attitude won’t be a wise choice on the long run. It’s somewhat comparable to archery, where the arrow would be randomly shot towards a hidden target.

How to improve your B2B –marketing database:

Gather customers, prospects and stakeholders in one place
You’ll save time, and ensure the quality of information as you don’t have jump from excel sheet to another when handling information
Categorize companies, and define the roles of people
Your message is more influential if you know whom you’re writing to, and analyzing becomes easier when you know who’s reacting to the message
Take care of information being up-to-date
Companies move and employees change continuously, old information and its bad quality makes communication blurry
Collect customers’ reactions
Customer reaction is more important than a sent message, target and choose your following messages based on people’s reactions
Remove unnecessary manual work and delays
Automate changes in customer information, newsletter subscriptions, and processing of invalid email addresses

With the help of a high-quality customer and marketing database, it’s easier to hit the right target. If your database is up-to-date, extensive, accurate, and includes relevant information what comes to the industry of your company, you instantly get a better chance to succeed through your communication. Sales and marketing will then be targeted to right people, and your communications won’t thus be based on random actions. Providing the same extensive and up-to-date information also to your colleagues gives even more people, and therefore the whole company, a better chance to hit targets.

You are able to better target your marketing messages to the right people, and can also design them based on reliable database information. Sales contacts the right people and also avoids many unnecessary contacts. Management gets a better view on company’s present state, which makes strategy planning and customer oriented business development easier and more efficient.

 

An ideal situation would obviously be such where your customer and marketing database would be updated automatically and continuously. If so, you’d get extensive and up-to-date information of a good quality, based on those groups of companies and people which are relevant for your company, specifically. We listened to our customers, and packaged the company and decision-maker database and search tools of Suomen Asiakastieto, and automated information transfers and continuous, monthly updates into Vine Address Service. The service saves time, which benefits our customers’ sales, marketing, as well as management. Decisions and actions based on high-quality decision-maker information can guide also your company’s “arrow” towards the right target, and thus also towards better results.


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