In business, nothing matters more than timing. When you send a message to your audience, the exact moment you reach them can make the difference between a conversion or lost lead. It can even determine whether they choose to go with your organization or a competitor.
The importance of timing in B2B marketing can’t be understated, but it’s also complex — how can you truly predict the right time to send a message to your audience? How do you know whether they’ll receive your message when you send it
Through audience segmentation and personalized customer journeys, you can successfully deploy the right marketing messages on the right channels according to your audiences’ needs, wants, and goals. This can also be modified to support different business objectives, like generating awareness for an upcoming launch or drawing leads in on a promotion to boost revenue before the quarter ends.
Before we look at the specifics of how to time your B2B marketing like a champion, let’s discuss Time to Market (TTM) and what it means for your organization.
Business execs are generally familiar with this term, but many marketers and salespeople are not. TTM, however, plays a vital role in the conception and development of a strong marketing strategy, and it influences the effectiveness of future campaigns.
TTM relates to the time between conceiving a new product idea and launching it on the market. This might seem like it has nothing to do with marketing, but it has everything to do with how a company effectively identifies its audience, establishes a brand identity, and attracts leads prior to a product going live.
An emphasis on pre-launch marketing can help B2B businesses strengthen their lead pool and convert more sales systematically after their release. Because pre-launch B2B marketing gives your organization an opportunity to develop relationships with its leads, closing sales becomes easier when your product goes live.
One of the biggest hurdles organizations often face is staying ahead in a hyper-competitive market. You are often faced with competition that has more resources, greater audience trust, and the benefit of being the first in their industry to provide a certain solution.
For businesses that do not have a market entrant advantage, there is still opportunity to capitalize upon their competitors’ first-in-line status. Product or price differentiation is key. Your organization does not have to provide something the audience has never seen before — you just have to offer it to them in a way that your competitor doesn’t or can’t.
Branding makes all the difference here. Imagine that your top competitor is a classic B2B provider who has a highly formal, detached personality that is “strictly business” with its audience.
Brand differentiation would allow your company to stand out by addressing particular audience pain points, building relationships, and providing a host of personalized, relatable material that nurtures feelings of understanding, trust, and support.
As a result, they will be more likely to turn to your organization as their preferred solution provider, even though there are more established and even more developed offerings on the market.
Marketing campaigns shouldn’t only be centered around selling what you have now. There are many ways to create agile campaigns that connect you with your audience at key moments in their lives and in your organization’s journey.
There are three critical periods in B2B marketing to consider:
Among these three critical periods, we can also assess each buyer’s position in the marketing funnel. People who are simply researching their problem would be best targeted during the pre-launch phase, since they have more time to deliberate and explore their options.
Established organizations often don’t focus on top-of-funnel (TOF) leads, since they take the longest to convert and don’t present a clear ROI on ad spend or marketing efforts. However, during the pre-launch phase, your organization has the invaluable opportunity to capitalize on TOF leads.
Rather than hope people eventually reach the mid-funnel and connect with your organization, you can nurture TOF leads all the way down to close, possibly being the only business they even consider as they learn more about their problem and your unique benefits and solutions.
During the launch phase, you can shift your focus more to mid-funnel and bottom-funnel leads that will be ready to take action quickly. It will be rapid-fire marketing techniques, high-value content, and social proof that ultimately attract these leads.
The secret to success in marketing timing in any B2B organization is synergy. It will be crucial for the sales team to be well-informed of each stage your marketing strategy is moving through, as well as where each individual lead is at any given time.
As marketing magnetizes your campaigns and brings leads to your organization, there has to be a seamless hand-off to the sales department that helps customers feel completely supported on their journey to close. The sales team will also need to know specifically what pain points and key features a potential client values, so they can highlight your solution as delivering the greatest ROI on the market.
All of this may sound great, but how does any of it actually play out in the real world? Let’s begin to look more closely at specific marketing techniques that you may use to connect with your audience at different moments in their buyer’s journey.
Now, we can begin to look more closely at each stage of the customer journey, as well as the type of marketing content that can be effective at each one.
The customer journey is divided into four key stages: consideration, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase. Each one plays a vital role in driving revenue and building brand equity, but the timing of your marketing messages must adapt to reflect the unique experience of leads and customers at each stage.
Here are some of the most effective types of B2B marketing for each stage of the customer journey:
To strike the right balance between post and place, you have to consider where your audience is online at any given moment. You can also consider omnichannel marketing, which combines all of the channels customers prefer to ensure a smooth transition from lead to customer.
Whether you are employing account-based marketing (ABM) or segmenting your current audience, the most important factors to remember are:
The more you learn about each segment or account, the easier it comes to craft personalized marketing content that aligns with their goals and addresses their current needs.
Through the integration of automated email campaigns and AI-powered analytics, you will be able to meet your audience at precisely the right time, then stay top-of-mind throughout the customer lifecycle.
While content is the most important part of a strategy, timing is essential to ensuring your well-crafted emails, social posts, and other marketing materials live up to their greatest potential.
By recognizing the unique needs of audiences at different stages of the customer’s journey, you can create value and connect it to opportunity for your most qualified leads. At the same time, leveraging top-of-funnel leads during pre-launch campaigns can help you cash in on under-targeted segments and gain greater market share through personalized, ongoing lead nurturement.