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We all know that ‘Brick & Mortar’ retail is hurting (thanks to the internet and Direct-to-Consumer shipping), but what about B2B?

Toys R Us, Sears, Foot Locker and Best Buy (their cell phone stores) have all announced partial or total store closings. Gap, Teavana, Starbucks and Chipotle are also closing a number of stores. The most recent to go out of business and make the news is Payless with the closure of all 2,100 stores.

Other brands that might disappear in 2019 include The Container Store and Neiman Marcus. But it’s not just traditional retailers on the block. GoPro and Fitbit are questionable. Immunomedics is fast running out of money. And here’s a shocker Remington (the gun manufacturer that just came out of bankruptcy), may not survive much longer due to market forces out of their control.

Delivery services like Grubhub continue to grow, and now competitors like Uber Eats are jumping on the trend and into this space — putting the future of restaurants in question. Is this fear-mongering? I don’t think so. It’s happening right now and a possible antidote for the restaurant industries woes has significant VC backing.

So, if we (as a society) don’t want to get out of our ‘comfy pants’ and leave our homes — instead preferring to stream movies on demand and ‘order in’ anything we want — we can almost entirely avoid engaging with others. At this rate, the only ‘experiences’ we’ll have left will be the required family get-to-gether’s and destination vacations… assuming virtual reality doesn’t take that from us!

And if you ever need an example of what this fundamental shift is — this website customer testimonial is it:

…and was approved for financing without ever speaking to a human…”

Planned or not, our preferences are being met and these ‘conveniences’ are changing how we live our lives. The question is; how does this ‘consumer behavior’ affect B2B buying behavior?

I came across some interesting Sales Statistics this past week and this one stood out — not only because it fits with other data around the ‘buyer’s journey’, but because it supports a fundamental shift in buyer behavior. 

Only 20% of potential customers want to talk to you during the decision stage.

That means they’ve already reached their decision and decided (on their own terms) what to buy. And from whom.

That’s scary for a few reasons:

  • Firstly, it means you have been excluded from their decision-making process—so you’re unable to make your case, or worse yet, you’re not even on their radar
  • It also means you probably have no idea who the other 80% are — that’s a potential 400% in lost opportunity and revenue (not including cross-sell, up-sell and lifetime value)
  • And these 20% who might contact you… have already, somehow, researched your product or service and now just want to close the deal.

If you’re not using Inbound Marketing, how are you getting noticed and staying in front of your market?

For many organizations the solution to stay ‘top-of-mind’ is Inbound Marketing otherwise known as Content Marketing. This makes a lot of sense, given our approach to buying anything these days is; gaining brand awareness, then research and more research, and only when we’re satisfied do we then buy. And to make this happen as efficiently as possible brands are using sophisticated Marketing Automation (MA) software platforms.

Marketing Automation is much more than an email, or a social media post scheduling platform.

A good Inbound Marketing Automation solution is a single platform that’s fully integrated with broad-based and deep reporting capabilities—so you have real-time insight into your campaigns and, better yet, you’re able to see what happened with each marketing contact at an individual prospect or customer level; Did they open your email communication? Did they click on a link and engage with your marketing? Which web pages did they visit? and on, and on.

Marketing Automation’s promise is that it can help drive more leads, convert leads to sales, and provides insight into where to spend your budget.

So how does it do that?

To start with, MA integrates with your existing CRM solution – such as Salesforce – and has capabilities built-in that enable you to:

  • Carry out Behavior-Based Email campaigns
  • Create Dynamic Landing Pages and Dynamic, Progressive Forms
  • Easily set up Blog’s, Track Campaigns, Assign Lead Scores to individual prospects
  • Identify Anonymous Site Visitors

and much more.

To achieve this, many organizations have opted for platforms like Pardot, Hubspot, or Marketo. And for many they’re a good fit. But for most SMB’s and mid-sized organizations they’re not ideal. Either these Inbound Marketing platforms are just too complex and their deep capabilities are not utilized, or they’re just too expensive with annual contracts in the $30,000 to $60,000 range. This doesn’t include the additional budget needed for the creation of all your content, or the time and staff tasked with using the platform. And this can put tools like these out of the reach of many… until now.

If you’re reviewing your Marketing Automation needs, wondering if MA is right for you, or looking at reducing costs and consolidating your different platform vendors so that you have a more comprehensive, single view of your marketing and campaign performance… we may have the answer you’re looking for.

If you’d like to know more about Inbound Marketing and how Marketing Automation can work for you, while letting you transfer some of those platform costs into customer-facing campaign development, we’d love to meet you and have an open and frank discussion.

> If this is something you’re interested in exploring, simply give us a call at 612 349 2711 or send us an email and let’s schedule a chat. Because no business can afford to be off their prospects’ radar.