The best way to personalize content is to use audience insights and deliver the right message at the right time through the right channel.
MEDIA 7: What key factors do you consider when creating and developing a communications strategy?
LAURA GOLDSTONE: When crafting a marketing and communications strategy, I start by connecting overarching business goals to my team’s resources. Every program needs to support the corporate vision, and it must be attainable in terms of my team’s bandwidth and resources. I’m surrounded by a fantastic team and I like to make sure our programs are simultaneously fulfilling business needs and leveraging employees’ skills. It’s important to be aware of the budget at this stage, too, so that we can allocate resources effectively: how much money and time do we have? How valuable is this program to our brand? What are the risks and rewards? To ensure the feasibility of a program, we need to measure the perceived value against the spend and predict whether the ROI will be enough to justify the expense. Once I know the resources we have in our arsenal, I ensure alignment to our overarching brand strategy, which I draft at the beginning of each year and evaluate each quarter or as needed.
This should incorporate short-term goals, such as sales support, brand awareness, or demand generation, and long-term goals surrounding the brand’s identity and persona. I take a storytelling approach here, considering what matters most to our brand and our audience and determine how to drive the correct narrative the right way. From there, we make sure the approach is in line with our brand voice and topic positioning. We ask ourselves such questions as: Is this something our brand wants to say? Is this the way we want to say it? What kind of reaction can we anticipate, and would that be successful? This ties into audience engagement, which is vital for predicting success. We gather intel internally (conversations across teams) and externally (analytics and market research) around which topics, channels, and formats our audience prefers. Then, we put our message in context for them, ensuring that they feel its importance firsthand. If they don’t see the benefit, they won’t care, so we constantly check our strategy against our audience’s perceived value of it. Lastly, we choose our distribution channels carefully, coordinate an organized launch, and test wherever possible, making tweaks along the way and remaining agile and responsive to ensure continued success.
M7: Content marketing is now playing a significant role in marketing strategies and is likely to expand and evolve in the near future. What are some of the top emerging trends that marketers can leverage when shaping and positioning their brand’s image?
LG: Content marketing has become a significant driver of thought leadership, brand awareness, demand generation, sales pipeline management, revenue, and so much more because of how versatile and far-reaching it can be. It can deliver the right message at the right time in the right way to the right person for the right reason - when it is done correctly. I think the newest trends revolve around being a strategic resource, aligning marketing and sales, and using analytics to tailor messages to your audiences’ preferences or funnel stages. Don’t just sell a product - use content to establish yourself as an authentic thought leader that makes people’s lives easier. Knowing your audience’s pain points and delivering advice around the solution will show that you are a credible, trustworthy source they can rely on. By association, customers may also spend with you, if your offerings align with the problem-solving methods you tout in your content.
Analytics are also more actionable now than ever before. Data has always been important, but today, marketers are finding new, privacy-safe, audience-centric ways to leverage analytical insights to improve the efficiency of their programs. They are learning as much as they can about their audience and tailoring strategies accordingly. For example, from AdDaptive’s B2B perspective, instead of relying on the promise that ads reach the right audience, we now use our Campaign Analytics and Site Analytics reports to see which companies engage with our ads, content, and site across omnichannel campaigns. Having this level of understanding allows us to continually reshape our marketing programs to reach the right audience. This also enables better sales communication: Audience insights should be shared internally, so sales teams know how prospects are engaging with your content, how cold or warm they are, and where they are in the funnel. That way, everyone can tailor their communication accordingly, remaining efficient while also providing a positive, cohesive brand experience to your audience.
Be versatile and agile, understand what your audience needs and where they are engaging, and vary your messaging based on your audience’s experience with your brand. AdDaptive’s B2B marketing delivers different types of content to different accounts at different stages of the funnel based on our analytics reports. That has made us more efficient and effective in our internal operations and our audience engagement. And that is something we will continue to nourish and grow as new content learnings emerge in order to be as successful and informed as possible.
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Data has always been important, but today, marketers are finding new, privacy-safe, audience-centric ways to leverage analytical insights to improve the efficiency of their programs.
M7: What are your preferred marketing channels for promotions for AdDaptive Intelligence, and which ones do you see as the most promising given your target customers?
LG: We tend to take an omnichannel approach across a wide variety of touchpoints, covering as many channels as possible to increase brand awareness and build credibility and trust among our target audience base. This includes online advertising - of course, we use our own solutions to deploy display, native, and video advertisements! - as well as blog posts, one-sheets, slides, case studies, press releases, externally published articles, email marketing, video marketing, social media, conference sponsorship, gifting, and more. We see success in these among our target audience, which, as a B2B AdTech provider, is B2B agencies across the US.
In addition to our own direct promotions, we leverage our sales team as a major distribution channel as they are in constant communication with our prospects and clients; we equip them with content assets and topic positioning to ensure they are prepared with the right resources and messaging to act as a resource for our clientele. We also use PR as a way to convey thought leadership to the masses, and we employ co-marketing to combine our strategies with our partners’ experiences, as we believe we are better together. And as always, we evaluate all of our channels against funnel movement and marketing metrics and tweak as necessary throughout each campaign to reach our audience in the most strategic manner possible.
M7: What is your approach to market research? How do you identify your target audience and gaps within the market?
LG: We are constantly scouring our market - B2B advertising - in as many ways as we can. We stay abreast of industry topics, join market-wide conversations, attend conferences, read articles, and test new content. Our Brand team compiles monthly competitive analysis reports that break down what our competitors are doing and what topics are trending across industry publications; we then share it with the entire company along with some context into why it matters to us and how we stack up. We also utilize Slack to share articles or news stories in real-time so we can discuss as a company what they mean.
We also always keep our ears open to nuggets of information that may fall into our laps through conversation. Our sales team often engages in conversations with prospects and clients about their pain points, trends they’re paying attention to, successes and challenges they may have with other companies on their media plan, and internal struggles they may be experiencing, whether it’s an unproven strategy or cross-team silos or data confusion. We don’t just respond by selling to them blindly - we take that information and discuss it internally, we grapple with it and figure out how we can help solve those problems and fill those gaps, and we discover how we can be a strong partner to our clients in ways beyond a particular product or export. We want our clients to know we hear their concerns about the market or past experiences, and we’re going to work tirelessly to help them be as strategic and successful as possible. That firsthand communication is the best market research we could ask for!
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Knowing your audience’s pain points and delivering advice around the solution will show that you are a credible, trustworthy source they can rely on.
M7: How does AdDaptive Intelligence help its clients reach the right accounts?
LG: We start with strategy. Our sales, customer success, and client and media services teams work with clients to decipher the best strategy based on their business goals, campaign objectives, audience knowledge, creative capabilities, and other factors. First, the best audience is built, whether by an ABM list the client uploads, or a selection of segments through our platform, or an analytics report from a previous campaign. Then, the campaign is deployed. Our proprietary technology optimizes billions of data points in real-time to deliver your media mix - be it some combination of display, B2B Sponsored Content, video, CTV, and audio - to your intended accounts. Our cookieless B2B solution paired with validated company-level data ensures the industry’s most accurate account-based advertising solution. Throughout the flight of a campaign, our team pulls the appropriate levers as needed to achieve clients’ KPIs based on account engagement.
Our team also meets with each account to discuss strategy and progress in an agile approach so tweaks can be made during the process to yield the best results and highest ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). Then, our Campaign Analytics and Site Analytics reports are provided and our teams discuss performance, strategy, and recommendations for future campaigns. An important part of this conversation is how much we have learned about a client’s target audience - creative units they clicked on and web pages they visited - and how we can utilize this information to make each subsequent campaign increasingly more refined successful. These reports can also be turned into ABM lists to target in the next campaign, creating a virtuous cycle and a long-term partnership that positively impacts companies’ B2B strategies for years to come.
M7: What are some of the best ways to successfully produce personalized content that increases overall customer engagement?
LG: The best way to personalize content is to use audience insights and deliver the right message at the right time through the right channel. Dynamic personalization is a nice touch, but much more important than seeing my name in a subject line or my company’s name copied and pasted into an email template is the right marketing message being delivered. If I care about this message, and it’s the right message for the stage of the funnel I’m in or the experience I prefer, then it’s personalized to me - it’ll resonate and inspire engagement. This redefines personalization in content marketing and elevates it to a more strategic than tactical implementation. We need to personalize content’s messages and channels and strategies and communication and operations throughout the entire experience in order to resonate most effectively with our target audience. If we can do that, we’re giving them the best brand experience, which will yield much higher - and longer-term - returns than throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.