For years before B2B web marketing companies were conditioned to deploying traditional marketing vehicles such as telemarketing, advertising and promotion. Such channels served marketers well and made for relatively easy consumer targeting. But the dramatic and on-going changes in consumer behaviour have rendered traditional marketing less valuable. Advertising in all its forms, promotions and shows, which are all forms of so-called “outbound marketing,” still play a significant role in marketing communications. Yet their margins are getting thinner.
With traditional marketing on the wane, a new marketing platform is fast emerging: real-time inbound marketing. Real-time inbound marketing is defined as “targeting customers during marketing communications when the customer reaches out to the company and the company responds with presenting a perfectly timed and perfectly appropriate offer”.
The foundation of that response is the “decision making” process which suggests the ideal solution is based on creating the highest value to the customer. B2B web marketers need to have the decision making protocols at the ready, depending on which channel and stage the prospect is engaged in the customer journey.
The use of underlying technologies is the key for marketers who are eager to capitalise on real-time inbound marketing and enhance their ability to locate new customers. Use of all data about prospects and customers, including current interaction and historical data, along with self-learning algorithms and rules, enable real-time delivery of the right message at the right time. The essential opportunity in real-time inbound marketing is the application of real-time decision making. In fact, this decision making is the foundation of delivering exceptional value to the customer.
Research undertaken by Advertising Age and BtoB in the US found that real-time inbound marketing technology is designed to help marketers to align their messages with customers and prospects as they wend their way through the sales cycle. But the benefits of real-time inbound marketing technology go beyond getting closer to customers and enhancing lead generation.
The technology affords marketers with a “right-message, right time” mindset that is so crucial in adapting to how consumers purchase products and services online. Indeed, “right message, right time” may now be the baseline for b2b web marketers who need to monetise their digital marketing channels.
According to the survey, 58% of the respondents reported that “the right message and the right time” is the best tag line to explain real-time inbound marketing technology while only 17% reported that “the power of context” is the best tag line to communicate its benefits and 9% reported that “true message: everywhere, every time” would be a suitable tag line.
The Differentiating Factor in Effective Inbound Marketing
Real-time inbound helps marketers differentiate their products, services and messaging from the competitors. The technology understands that consumers no longer advance from Point A to Point B when they’re in purchasing mode, but, demand different types of content (e.g. advertising, email) as they travel along the path to purchase. The technology is able to harness all of the emerging digital channels, such as search and social marketing, and communicate a universal message.
Real-time inbound marketing technology is very likely a game changer. As the conversational Web transforms into the social Web, the technology is helping marketers to transition their marketing efforts to engage with customers and prospects on whichever marketing channel they may be accessing, with the right message at the right time. Similar to email, search, and social media, real-time inbound marketing technology is playing an integral role in the emerging online advertising infrastructure. For b2b web marketers looking to the future, real-time inbound marketing technology will enjoy a valued position in their portfolio.
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