Published for DNA Business. Link –
Brand everywhere are going live every day, to showcase events, production, behind the scenes, and more on their favorite platforms of choice. With Instagram and Facebook taking a huge leap of innovation towards the 24/7 model, and Whatsapp following suite in the coming quarters, Social+Live is quickly becoming the next avenue of marketing commuincations. Mahesh Chauhan also famously pitching to Nearbuy using Facebook Live as a showcase of creativity and depth.
What is the potential of being online and social real time? – The upside is huge. It creates a fan-focused moment, when you’re excited to open Facebook while taking a break, or on the weekends. It makes the relationship between the brand and the consumer more transparent and synchronous. It reveals who the brand is every day, and people can re-imagine what it’s like to have a one-to-one sales conversation at scale.
Brands in the US have pioneered their way into the minds of the customers with live, chief among them are FMCG and Media brands. Brands in India can come a long way if they use the techniques that the West is using all these years and build upon them. Celebrities have been leveraging the Live platform for almost a year now, and they’re loving it – reaching a larger chunk of their followers per live story compared to a regular post, and are connecting directly with their fans to promote their movies or merchandise.
Businesses in India can take over Live using the following quick tactics –
- Create an online event – Brands in the consumer space have an immense opportunity in renting a space out, crafting an experience over there, and inviting their audiences to participate in a live event during the session. Fans can interact with the product, or ask the representatives to share their vision for the next few months, etc. E.g. a Puma Store that’s completely online, and sales heads can talk about the upcoming shoes for an extended period. The experience can also be gamified with a contest like activity, where participants can interact with the brand by answering basic questions or interacting with brand collaterals.
- Press Release, Media interactions – B2B brands can now open up any press conference, media interaction event, or other public meetings to Facebook live for their audiences to ask questions and drive insights from the media activity directly as well.
- SME Webinars – For startups, consultants, and small business, these come in very handy. When you can interact with your colleagues, fans, and prospective leads from the comfort of Facebook, you convert a passive entertainment tool to a powerful lead generation mechanism.
For brands to close-in on a deal, and differentiate themselves from the competition, they need to speak their story. A story that speaks about –
A) Who they are – Name, legacy, good-guys, positioning strategy
B) Why they’re here – to change the world, to sell innovation, to cure cancer, to spread joy
C) What should we I about it? – buy my stuff, signup for my newsletter, like my FB page, or don’t source inorganic.
Ledbury Shirts for Men
On their site, they have videos that take the customer through the journey of who they are and why they’re here. Customers have no idea who these guys are. They know Louis Phillipe and Wills are corporations that give decent quality shirts. Who is this Ledbury? Hence, a strong story line helps to create the bond with the customer. If the story resonates, people might even buy a small-ticket item just to try it out on the first-go. Reminder to all marketers – small sizes matter long-term.
They stand for anti-GM cattle and agriculture. Its message is clear. Choose us for your next fast-food purchase. Its better for everyone. That was their attempt with the scarecrow video. They’ve also launched an engaging concept called Farmed&Dangerous where they attempt to create social change via art and comedy.
A) Who they were – A niche brand that was anti-establishment
B) Why they’re here – To ethically serve customers with anti-GM food
C) What should I do about it? – Choose us. Because, we are the good guys. Vote for us with your money.
Axis didn’t focus so much on the “who were are”, but they did a great job of explaining “why they’re here”. It’s an engaging concept that captures the essence of what a bank should be. Their competition tried something similar – IDBI (your friend in banking), ICICI (easy banking), but failed to produce a coherent story.
An attempt that could have been engaging. Their whole storyline is all about meeting, interacting and being motivated. But they forgot to focus on “who they are”. There are countless perceptions of Starbucks in the marketplace – all the way from being pretentious to being a place of home for entrepreneurs and artists. Starbucks needs to reengage with their 1% of their fans globally and reach out to them regularly. Starbucks needs to be a core part of the zeitgeist of today.
Talia incorporated emotional drive and real-world conversions in one successful experiment. They created a landing page that very creatively (via a cute puppy and a basket of goodies) indicated the overall message of the brand and its positioning. Creativity in communication is an excellent positive sign to consumers – the business is confident enough to be artful.
There was a significant increase in conversions – 65%. It triggered the neural pathways dedicated to emotional engagement while interacting with a service model.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most revolutionary technologies to emerge in 2018. The scope of the technology is immense, with many organizations developing critical tools to help in B2B marketing. From marketing automation to scaled advertising, there are various applications in the space.
Lead generation is also an area of emphasis for AI, as there are many tools available that focus specifically on that. AI has the capability to create unique efficiencies in the B2B marketing domain, while driving scaled marketing through the industry. Lead conversion can also be impacted when companies incorporate AI into their B2B marketing strategies.
Starting from B2B data analytics & research
It’s important to have a systematic approach when it comes to B2B marketing strategy. AI can help in analysing company data and customer insights, to create new avenues for lead generation. B2B marketing is all about having data-based decision-making capabilities. Companies that are able to leverage AI, see a rise in adoption and lead quality.
Through the power of AI, companies can review their leads closely and find the best lead targets to optimize further in. Lead optimization is positively impacted, with AI leading the way in the space. Data from Adobe suggests that 31% of companies will be incorporating AI in the year to come. It’s an important tool that is designed to provide research-backed insights.
Analytics are also enhanced using AI. When large quantities of data can be analysed at scale, B2B marketing is positively impacted as well. Clients can focus on how well their marketing is performing by using AI-empowered analytics. This helps in driving insights much faster, as the AI ecosystem delivers quality knowledge at scale.
B2B marketers that adopt AI today, are market leaders in the years to come. This is because AI creates a systematic shift from instinct to research-based insights. The tool is powerful enough to shape the way that we’re conducting B2B marketing in the future.
Adopting AI across outreach initiatives
The main goal for any successful B2B sales outreach program is to optimize the relevant channels. This includes digital marketing channels like LinkedIn, and SEO channels like Google & Bing. Companies are adopting AI to integrate distributed initiatives across the marketing landscape. B2B firms can start reviewing their outreach activities and fit in AI to their existing systems.
There are many tools available in the marketplace, that focus on creating value through AI. These tools can work within the existing framework of the B2B marketing strategy, as they’re based on a plug & play model. Companies can incorporate AI into their systems effectively through this mechanism.
Outreach activities that include traditional formats can also be enhanced. When it comes to tele-marketing or print marketing, AI can provide valuable consumer insights that can be integrated into the marketing system. For companies that are traditionally-bound, they can still leverage AI to create efficiencies. The technology can help them develop core competencies in lead acquisition.
AI & Content Marketing
Content marketing is another area of contention when it comes to AI. AI can provide a new look into how content can impact your business model. AI can create research-backed insights, that can be incorporated into the content marketing channels used.
Additionally, companies are using AI tools to create lead magnets fitted inside the content. These lead magnets are dynamically positioned to create maximum leads per content shared. These tools also analyse the content on the website to create better messaging and customized branding depending on visitor action.
Through AI and content marketing, companies can capture leads dynamically and in a systematic format. Leads can be captured via email marketing automation, and communication can be structured depending on what format of content was consumed. If a certain content genre appealed more than another, then all email marketing activities would be customized to reflect that.
Content can also be made SEO-friendly with automated tools within an existing B2B marketing strategy. From long-tail keywords to introducing optimized links, there is a wide scope in the content and SEO space. Content can also be used for thought leadership activities and SEM purposes as well.
Acquiring the right team
The right AI strategy involves having a robust team that understands the technology from the inside out. Not only the marketing applications of AI, but a coherent understanding of the technology itself is needed. This helps in analysing insights better and using AI as a core B2B marketing strategy. AI can become a value-add in every aspect of the marketing domain, giving efficiencies to traditional practices.
B2B marketers can start by having the right skillset in the domain, after which they can review their existing marketing practices. Through this, they can initiate a robust AI marketing plan which can help in generating leads and converting them at a higher-level.
Marketers can then expand their team, and add new members, tools and technologies. From analytics & dashboards to sophisticated learning mechanisms, B2B marketers can adopt AI at scale from the beginning. They need the right team to execute on the plan and ensure that there is success in lead generation.
AI incorporated into your B2B marketing strategy
Technologies like AI have existed to provide key insights in to B2B marketing strategy. What’s key is the need to have the right talent that works with AI to enhance lead generation. Not only that, AI also needs to be integrated in B2B marketing research & analytics for the organization. AI requires a quality team to understand the scope of the technology.
Honesty is a critical feature on which businesses are set to be developed over the next few years. Stakeholders rely on honesty as the core mechanism through which communication and commerce would need to be conducted.
Underlying it, is a branding problem. Its a problem of a clear communication and clear policy. When institutions have clarity and purpose, there is significantly less ambiguity.
When professionals are clear there is greater honesty, which leads to greater outcomes.
Data can be manipulated, edited and customized into many formats. Many scientific data collection processes work with sponsors that require insights and sometimes complex conclusions.
Research, in its entirety is complex. Even Dan Ariely, Duke Researcher, has reservations about the impact of critical research. This is an excerpt from his predicament about “ripping bandages. “
The Sample Size
Having the right sample size is critical. Even inside one niche, (say gaming), there are varying personas of individuals that enable qualitative v/s quantitative data. All in all, people may have similar interests but their interests can vary with their own biases. E.g. a hardcore gamer may enjoy different game experiences in different scenarios. Even defining a hardcore gamer can be difficult
Finland & Taiwan. Here’s an example of bad research. The data is self documented and there are multiple misnomers.
Data is data, but people are people. There is significant complexity involved when dealing with real interactions. That’s why tests need to be designed in a manner that is compliant with best practices and have limited ambiguity with regards to external factors. Brands need to be developed using this model.
We often confuse the two. We start with the presumption that an ad is a story. Ultimately, it is story-selling in its most basic form.
Example of Storytelling –
Lifebuoy soaps – Help a child reach 5. This brand exists because there are people in various parts of India that don’t have access to effective hygiene. This kind of niche, but impactful, message suggests to the customers that Lifebuoy has done their due-diligence and cares enough to talk to remote villagers about their critical problems. It answers the question – “Why we are here” with its brand story.
Example of advertising –
A) Nike – Jogger Ad. This is a perfect example where marketers may confuse this to be storytelling. A story of the young boy that wants to lose weight is introduced here, with an inspiring message at the end. Sure, this looks like storytelling and can be confused with Nike’s “Why are we here”, but it speaks nothing about the brand itself. It’s a product placement in a movie. It’s emotional, but doesn’t deliver beyond the edit.
Comparison Note –
Both iconic campaigns. Both delivered effectively.
In the case of Lifebuoy, there was a clear message. Lifebuoy is here to aid Indian children. In the case of Nike, there was no clear message. Does Nike want to inspire kids? Or does it say that greatness starts with a pair of shoes? The message is somewhat there, the consumer resonance is present, but it is not core storytelling.