My sister has an uncanny ability to buy the perfect present for everyone in her life. Every time she gives me a gift, I’m surprised at how thoroughly perfect it is — and most of the time, I didn’t even realize I wanted whatever it was she got me. In fact, her gift giving ability is so good that I swear sometimes she can read minds.
Of course, she can’t actually read minds. No, her gift giving superpower is nothing more than listening to the people around her and understanding them. For example, she listened to me talk about my love for science fiction and my enthusiasm for getting dressed up, which made it easy enough for her to delight me with a space-themed tie clip.
As marketers, we can elevate our campaigns and delight our audiences with the same simple trick. But instead of listening to stories of how they spent their weekend, we can see what they’re talking about and searching for online.
Find out what’s interesting today
According to Gartner, 84% of business leaders say customer data and analytics are extremely important for achieving their business goals. That makes sense — customer data is a glimpse into the minds of your audience that you can’t get anywhere else. But where do you find it?
The best place to start is with one of the myriad of research tools available to marketers. Tools like SEMRush, BuzzSumo, and even trusty old Google Search Console have a wealth of data about search trends that can help guide the type of marketing messages, content, and experiences you provide your audience.
But the tools that give you insights into search trends shouldn’t be the one and only place you look for what’s on your audience’s mind. After all, seeking the answer to a question only happens after the question is formed. And questions are only formed after a bit of conversation and contemplation — and that conversation is happening on social media.
And, in 2022, there were more conversations happening on social media than ever before. This wealth of information about what’s on everyone’s minds is veritable gold for B2B marketers. And the best way to tap into those conversations and hear what people are saying is by using a social listening tool. Instead of going from site to site and scrolling through feeds hoping to glean some insights here and there, a social listening tool will give you a dashboard showcasing exactly the insights you need from across the social universe.
“A social listening tool will give you a dashboard showcasing exactly the insights you need from across the social universe.” — Art Allen @punsultant Click To Tweet
Understand your audience’s intent
Making sense of customer data remains a top challenge for marketers, according to recent research from Vericast. And it’s important not to overlook what your audience is trying to achieve, because user intent is the key dimension to unlocking B2B marketing success.
In other words, it’s all well and good to know what someone is searching for — but only when you know why they’re searching for it can you give them a marketing experience that meets the need they have in that moment. And it’s that confluence of understanding a need and meeting the need that creates an effective marketing message.
You can suss out user intent by using the search trend tools mentioned above, which will often give you information about a particular search term’s intent. Likewise, the social listening tools I mentioned will provide insight about sentiment within a conversation topic.
Adding a qualitative dimension based on intent and sentiment in combination with A/B testing and maybe a little intuition can help you pinpoint the right message and the right call to action for your audience.
“It’s all well and good to know what someone is searching for — but only when you know why they’re searching for it can you give them a marketing experience that meets the need they have in that moment.” — Art Allen @punsultant Click To Tweet
Get creative and speak to your audience’s passions
Aligning what your audience is interested in with what they’re trying to achieve will set you up for success in giving them what they want. But simply knowing what content your audience is interested in and how they want to use it is only half the battle. To really elevate your B2B campaign, you need to embrace creativity, emotion, and humanity.
One thing the B2B world is catching onto in recent years is the power of human, creative, emotion-based marketing campaigns. In fact, according to LinkedIn*, 82% of B2B marketers globally say creative confidence is growing.
An appeal to audience passions rooted in humanity and empathy rather than logic, data, and outcomes has been a staple of B2C marketing since its inception. But this emotional, creative approach is gaining a foothold in the B2B world — and these sorts of campaigns are actually winning awards.
When we have rich audience data and the intent behind it in hand and we put it to use with creativity and empathy, we can surprise and delight our audiences with elevated marketing experiences they didn’t even realize they wanted.
For more insights into how you can elevate your own B2B marketing campaigns, follow the TopRank Marketing Blog.
* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.