B2B tech marketing post GDPR
Written by Paul Maher
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was hyped to levels last seen for Y2K.
However, thanks to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, its ramifications are clearly not just for Cyber Security firms. It impacts half a billion EU citizens, plus any company anywhere on this planet selling or communicating to them. And this is not just a B2C issue. B2B marketing professionals need to react, but maybe not as many expect.
The game has changed
Pre-GDPR, marketing tactics like email, telemarketing and corporate events were well proven. Data brokers, content publishers and online advertising re-targeters helped B2B marketing pros to access large amounts of prospect data with impunity. These data-heavy processes were reliant on a blend of internal and third party databases of variable quality which created a lot of ‘data wastage’. The reasons they did so are worth reviewing:
- A mistaken belief in volume, leading to a ‘more is more’ approach
- The perennial Sales or Marketing dilemma of dirty databases
- Accelerated sales prospect churn as B2B buyers change to Digital transformation roles
- ‘Content fatigue’. Apathy caused by poor quality B2B content
The Ad Blocker arms race
Now GDPR is set to regulate the ‘Wild West’ of digital marketing and the time has come for change. Handcrafted One-to-One marketing techniques like PR and events always offered stronger brand awareness and consideration. That message got lost in the data feeding frenzy which led directly to new privacy laws like GDPR.
Compared to fast-fix, data-driven marketing, tactics such as PR and analyst relations were perceived as costing too much in time and for the expertise which they require. To be fair, until recently they were less easy to measure. Thanks to the a raft of digital tools, this has all changed. In fact, given the allegations of ‘click fraud’ by some, it is arguable real readers of real B2B publications, especially those who comment, are perhaps the most identifiable and valuable of marketing results.
Playing the longer game
Those who champion direct marketing and ad retargeting, make good points. Time spent by prospective buyers on phones and tablets has risen and so too has their potential consumption of online ads and because obviously, outside of work hours, even B2B customers are social media surfers.
B2B tech decisions though typically involve many stakeholders and are made over time because multi-year budgets are agreed and signed off across departments. At each stage in the sign-off process, it is immensely helpful for sales teams to point to ‘proof points’ as enterprise software is installed, configured and tested. While PR is seen by many as ‘Top of Funnel’ rapid response its effectiveness as that proofpoint can last a long time.
Here are our top tips:
- Tag news for maximum SEO goodness
That way, announcements add to the gravity of a website even when the initial ‘newsiness’ has worn off. Use social tools to look for trending words and phrases which are spawning user searches when writing news releases. Use digital tools to pay special attention to hot tech keywords which buyers use and ‘leapfrog’ larger brands which you can tag if you mention them.
- Backlink barter
Whatever your content, marketers prefer prospects to interact with it, moving from awareness to consideration of offers, where they can ‘see it’. This may be on third-party marketing hubs, or owned websites. Post GDPR permission to identity these prospects will be harder, so backlinks will become more critical and well worth trading with other well-received sites.
- View PR hits as short-lasting web campaign assets
We know from client research that achieving editorial coverage in strong tech titles even without a backlink, generates up to 300% more web traffic than on a normal day. Viewed in this context press releases should seamlessly tie in with the latest web campaigns.
- Use Social to ‘retarget’ PR
Given the effort to generate media, it is wasteful not to reuse them. Using Twitter, Linkedin, Medium or even Facebook for Business and Instagram, is fast, easy amplification, especially when multiplied by as many social accounts as an organization’s users have. A real no-brainer many forget. In our view, this should be part of the job description, not for the marketing function.