The way forward for B2B marketing is a clear focus on three things-the customers, technology, and of course, the martech stack that works best- says Kartik Anand, Executive Chairman, Kings Group Ventures LLC.
- What, in your opinion, have been the most significant factors in B2B marketing?
I do feel that there has been a lot of change in the content marketing side of B2B. Essentially it does revolve around three major aspects. Firstly, it is what kind of content, to gauge how effective can the content can be and how quickly can you get the content on the web, especially the Customer segment. Secondly, it’s about identifying the right segment.
Over the last decade or so, B2B has grown phenomenally. Initially, it was like shooting in the dark, we used to know that any company with a certain focus and business objective can be our target customer. And we used to go all out to meet the leadership team for business. But now, looking back I feel our success rate with that dark strategy was nothing.
Now, with Account-Based Marketing, we have a plan, a strategy for whom to target. An even better strategy is Intent-Based Marketing. This allows marketers to pinpoint exactly where to throw the dart. The difference is- defining the strategy around the accounts, versus defining the strategy around the market.
- What role do you see automation playing in smarter B2B marketing?
It is a very important element -the biggest piece of technology for marketers is business automation. A decade ago, we used to have Salesforce -a good effective CRM. But today, the scenario is very different. While Salesforce is something that will evolve, a plain CRM is something we cannot function with. Companies need to automate their marketing platform.
Today, over 50 % of B2B brands have dedicated marketing automation platform. This is automation has to be more targeted on the dollars spent, to manage the cost better and of course to make the internal and external customer experience become better. Infused with Artificial intelligence, it is a force to reckon with. An intelligent self-tracking mechanism is also the need of the hour, to enable scalability and even more efficiency.
- What do you see as adoption rates for these? How far is the world adjusting to Automation, AI tools?
We have already adopted the top areas for technology companies to essentially spend around. Out of 100 companies over 29% of the companies in 2019 spent on marketing technology. It could be content marketing, automation marketing, sales marketing, or any new initiative in B2B marketing strategy. The B2B tech segment is where most of this 29% have planned spends- of course, B2B tech has more money to spend and it has also been the focus area for the last 12 months.
Within this segment, the biggest chunk was spent was in content marketing outsourcing, and then the next big thing is coming up again was around Programmatic advertising like LinkedIn and other media.
- Content marketing is a big thing you think?
Of course. Over the last 12 months, top marketers have focused on it, and most of them have been very successful. B2B content marketing is proving to be beneficial and more successful every year. It has of course been very successful in the local-global B2B marketing strategy, for companies that come with a global market focus. This essentially depends on the country, the target area of the product, and the range is usually about the amount of target output.
- While making global B2B ABM strategies, do you face localization challenges? Especially for non- English parts of the world which are massive markets in themselves?
Localization is not a challenge anymore. Because I think for a global company into different geographies spending, planning, executing the media plan is fairly easy. Having said that, we are always tuned to what is changing and what has changed. Of course, we are better aligned to certain products, a bigger segment campaign that needs to be customized. Clearly, a strategy suited in the USA cannot be the same in India, or if we go to Africa. But that is the customization for strategies that we provide, which are very sharp and very focused. So yes the concentration on each type of product is different. Essentially, what we focus on is to help increase the market share and improve customer loyalty. The rest of the thing is peripheral.
- How does data privacy regulation affect B2B marketing especially in Europe, the US, India?
GDPR had a major impact on the way we look at data. We clearly cannot be mishandling privacy anywhere in the world today. Europe has taken it very seriously and they launched GDPR. I do feel that making laws tougher around the privacy side can address most of the issues. But In my opinion from the B2B perspective, there are very limited areas that GDPR covers. So data like cookie information or IP information on the computer, or the system details the user is using, or information like personal phone number the demographic information related to IP data- is not something B2B focuses on. For a B2B marketing plan, we, fortunately, don’t deal too much with this kind of data. So unless we are collecting or profiling, or sending campaigns targeted to B2C it’s not very applicable. We do not expect customers to give out their personal information to us.
- What happens to data storage?
GDPR requires any marketer to store the data within the country. They cannot modify, alter or give access to anyone outside the office. We have a very strong policy when it comes to the B2B marketing business. Every country we operate in has very strong compliances. US Market and Canada have a very strict stand spam law. But as vendors we need to invest in technology to adhere to compliances, so we continue to spend millions of dollars every year on technology. It makes immense business sense for us to meet the regulations, and it makes sense to invest long term in this too.
Kartik Anand is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Kings Group Ventures (KGV)- a multinational holding company with investments in Technology, Finance, Media & Entertainment, Hospitality, Manufacturing, and Auto. Kartik provides strategic leadership and management direction to a host of businesses that he has instituted over the past decade. Kartik has successfully expanded his businesses globally, driving mergers, partnerships, and new ventures.