Bank on Email, Mobile to Power B2B Customer Acquisition in 2016

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If you’re not banking on email marketing as well as the mobile market to move your business forward and get more customers in 2016, then you might need to reconsider your strategy. With 2016 now well underway, email marketing continues to build off the momentum it gained as a new business driver in recent years, especially in the business-to-business (B2B) realm.

According to a recent study by sales intelligence firm Datanyze, email marketing experienced 3% growth in 2015, and its use is poised to increase again this year. In examining more than 40 million websites to determine marketing technologies in use, the firm discovered that, in addition to email, use of marketing automation, analytics, web personalization and tag management are also on the rise.

Indeed, overall investment in marketing technology has increased over the last five years, with, according to VentureBeat Insights, over $134 billion invested since 2010. VentureBeat also says that 2016 should see some consolidation of marketing technology providers, as well as new products offered.

Meanwhile, the mobile revolution also continues to accelerate into 2016. According to a year-end Forrester Predictions Brief, as mobile becomes more ubiquitous, B2B companies will treat it as core to their customer experience. By the end of 2016, 4.8 billion individuals globally will use a mobile phone, representing almost half of the world’s population. In fact, users will stop considering the mobile web as a scaled-down subset of the “real” Internet. Mobile devices will become their go-to technology, even in mature economies where people can use alternative devices at home.

Forrester also forecasts mobile (and tablet) commerce will reach $142 billion in the U.S., representing 38% of total online transactions – and climbing. Furthermore, in the U.S., about a third of all sales will have a mobile component, meaning users will leverage a mobile device at some point within the purchase lifecycle, from product research to in-store interactions.

It’s clear that it’s more important than ever for B2B marketers to gain proficiency in leveraging mobile devices and related technologies in email and other outreach programs. As user expectations of handheld convenience escalate, the pressure will be on marketers to make use of technologies and approaches designed to serve customers in context wherever they might be–not where marketers find it convenient to serve them. Marketers will need to consider utilizing context in their email campaigns to assemble and deliver user experiences dynamically.

Email Marketing: Still New Territory for Many B2B Executives

Despite the ongoing dominance of email marketing, and the many advances in the space, here at our company, we continue to talk to large B2B organizations that, somewhat surprisingly, are still just getting started with it. Many of them, in their quest to generate new business, are finally turning to email to replace or augment their other marketing channels.

However, as readers of my blog know, diving in begins with identifying your ideal prospects and targets, and knowing how to best reach them—at the right time, and in the right context. That’s why building an accurate, targeted email list is the first priority for any email marketing inititiatve. But, it’s no easy task, especially for organizations that are just getting started. Acquired email data can help you jumpstart your first email marketing campaigns when your database, or house list, is nothing to shout about. Or alternatively, it can help you breathe new life into existing initiatives by allowing you to zero in on specific target markets or expand your reach into new areas, whether that means connecting with executives with specific titles, cultivating relationships in new vertical industries, or more.

Only when you have your email list properly assembled, cleansed and segmented, can you move into the next phases of your initiative involving crafting interesting content and subject lines, personalization, integration with social media, creating context and much more. After all, email marketing today is less about generating empty clicks and more about building prospect and customer engagement and customer lifetime value.

So, if you’re new to B2B email marketing, don’t fret. I look forward to providing more email marketing guidance and advice on these topics and much more over the coming year.

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