S1: E5 – B2B and B2C – retargeting, testing and COVID changing behaviours

Hello hello hellooo, welcome back to the Marketing Mindset Club, we are here together for episode 5 of season 1. 

I’m still genuinely amazed that you’re back and here and listening in again! and I’m so grateful that you are because it gives me a little spark of joy to know that I’m helping you out. Or maybe you just enjoy hanging out with me, but either way, I’d love to know what’s working and especially what’s not working for you about this podcast. After all, I’m here to help you get better at marketing. Please pop me a DM on Instagram @MarketingMindsetClub if you’re getting anything out of this or you’ve got any feedback at all, I’d love to hear from you. 

It feels like one helluva crazy time doesn’t it? Does anyone else feel like every day they are adapting to something new? That’s me right now… For me, the pace of change has never felt so quick or with such a steep learning curve. 

It’s absolutely mad, so here we are trying to find 20 minutes or so of time to take a step from the day-to-day pace and get some focused thinking done. Which is why we’re all here, after all, getting together in these extraordinary times. This club is all about bringing together anyone with any level of experience in marketing. Whether you consider yourself a marketer or not, if you’ve got something to promote and sell, this is the place to learn. You’re especially welcome if this is the first time you’re joining us, welcome to the club.

I’m also recording this the day after the pubs reopened in the UK, which may not have been the best planning I’ve ever done! So if by the time this episode comes out, I hope you’re fully recovered.

If you don’t already know, each episode is split into three bits:

  • The digital news bit and what matters about the top stories
  • The learning bit where I’ll deep dive on a tool, technique or strategy you can use
  • And the real-life lessons bit 

So let’s get going.

The digital news bit

For everyone in B2B marketing – that’s business to business marketing for those unfamiliar with that abbreviation – E-Marketer recently published a report called ‘B2B Best Practices in a COVID-19 World’. They pitch it as follows:  “Business and marketing plans conceived earlier in the year are no longer fit for purpose. B2B companies must alter how and what they sell to adjust to the economic and societal conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The report shares eight initial pivots and how we can drive long-term digital transformation for businesses”

Now, the report itself is behind a paywall so I don’t have access to the document, but the first pivot point they mention is about the loss of in-person exhibitions and how to address it. This is something I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about recently. They mention that from their research they found that without in-person conferences, B2B marketers have focussed their efforts on digital touchpoints, including virtual events, email, search advertising and content marketing.

That certainly reflects the kind of tactics I’d be employing if we were working with a client who’s main sales channel was in-person events. I’d also be looking really closely at the CRM software and processes. CRM for those not familiar is customer relationship management. Usually, the default position is to think of it as a piece of software, which it is, but it’s also a process. Using the software effectively is how you can do personalised communications and lead nurturing. 

The report also stated that existing customers are more important than ever, which I wholeheartedly agree with. A good CRM system and process are essential for relationship marketing. Imagine if you knew what pages on your website a prospect was browsing, which of your white papers they downloaded and the types of questions they were researching on your site – how awesome would you be if you send them a piece of content or a contact opportunity that exactly matched their needs in that moment? Pretty awesome, I think.

Another prominent topic in the news this week is that more than 100 brands including Coca Cola, Lululemon, Honda, Mars and Hershey are suspending their Facebook advertising in response to the platform’s change in policy around hate speech. I think the feeling is that the changes don’t go far enough to eradicate the spread of hate speech, racism and misinformation. Facebook makes about 98% of its $70bn in annual revenue from advertising, and The Guardian reported that Unilever’s announcement alone sent Facebook stocks tumbling 7%. 

Twitter recently took action to challenge hate speech on its platform, and the most high profile instance of this was to mark tweets from Donald Trump about voting with a ‘get the facts flag’ because the information was allegedly inaccurate. Now, the changes that Facebook announce to their platform to address this issue didn’t go far enough in the eyes on many. They may label some posts in violation of the platform’s policies but that are allowed to remain because they are deemed newsworthy. My issue with this is.. Who decides? And do any statements that could be described as hate speech, voter suppression or racism deserve any air at all? Because I feel like the answer should be an unequivocal no.

The campaign to boycott Facebook has been labelled as the ‘stop hate for profit’ and now stretches outside the USA. Ford and Honda, have also stopped their European ads. A BP spokesperson told the Guardian “We believe it is critically important for all social media platforms to deploy improved controls to eliminate the distribution of content that is untrue, discriminatory, or intended to incite, raise fear, or fan hate.”

The sceptical part of me can’t help but feel that once brands have taken their month off from Facebook ads, and gained the brand equity from supporting the boycott, they’ll go right back to it. I sincerely hope not, but I’m doubtful.

Also this week eMarketer reported some data on how households in the UK are becoming digital for the first time. And guess what? 36% of UK households video called for the first time during the pandemic. I find this a staggeringly large proportion since smartphone ownership is something like 96% of the entire UK population. 15% shopped online for groceries, and 15% also shopped online for other stuff.

What this means is that we as marketers with businesses suddenly have a whole lot of new opportunity out there to reach people online. It also means there’s a significant portion of our potential customer base who are new to doing business online – so that itself means that your business has a chance to grab their loyalty by providing a great service from the get-go. You could use this insight to feed into your content strategy. Do you have web content that answers the questions your potential audience might have? If you missed last week’s episode, go back to Episode 4 of this season and review the Hero, Hub and Help content model – it will give you a structure for planning your content. The kind of content that answers specific questions and helps you deliver great service is split often at the Help level.

Twitter also recently rolled out the choice to record and tweet a sound. It’s coming to the iOS version only but you will soon be able to tweet audio. Naturally, the first biggest concern I read about is how this content will be moderated. It also seems that actually humans will need to moderate the audio rather than an AI. 

I can see loads of benefits to it, especially as the popularity of podcasts continues to grow, but will it take trolling, bullying and hate speech to a whole new level? I really hope Twitter has a plan in place to stop that from happening.

The learning bit

Onto the learning bit and today, I want to talk about remarketing and retargeting. The B2B report I mentioned earlier said they couldn’t overstate the value of existing customers, and I think that’s true in the B2C world as well. There’s an old adage that says 80 percent of a business’ revenue comes from 20 percent of its customers. It’s also far easier and cheaper to upsell or cross-sell an existing customer than acquire a new one. So it’s especially pertinent right now to make the most of your marketing budget and get the most amount of revenue you can. 

Dr Dave Chaffey defines remarketing and/or retargeting as “Ads are served to people who have previously interacted with a brand, for example through visiting a website, social media profile or searching.”

The two terms, remarketing and retargeting, are used interchangeably, but I think there is one subtle but important difference. Remarketing has a more strategic element to it. It’s not just about the tactic of putting an ad in front of a prospect/customer who already has some awareness of your brand, it’s about designing the timing, content, message and delivery channel of that message. Typically, ads are of a visual nature delivered through content and display networks like Google and Linkedin.

Both terms are almost fully interchangeable, because one without the other is unlikely to be very successful. So, for ease of speaking about it, I’m going to refer to retargeting, but I’m including the strategic element in the process.

So, where do you start with thinking about retargeting? Firstly, you need to decide who is in the audience you want to retarget and what’s the goal? For instance, the audience characteristics may be that they are website visitors who browsed a particular product category but didn’t buy anything. Or they read about your services on your website and did not complete the lead conversion action you created. In either situation you would retarget them in order to encourage completion of an action – like a purchase or sign up. And that’s the most common goal for retargeting an audience, is to move them closer to that end goal. 

The next step is to figure out how to gather the data to implement the retargeting strategy. This may be through an existing customer database or list, or by placing a piece of javascript code, often called a tracking pixel, on your site. 

List-based retargeting allows you highly personalised communications, usually via email, to a contact who is already in your database. You can get really specific with upsell and cross-sell suggestions based on their history with your organisation. 

Pixel or cookie based retargeting is the more common route. The tracking pixels are usually provided by the platform you want to advertise on. They can be deployed using Google Tag Manager if you have that installed on your site, or you will need a developer to insert it directly into the site. Tag Manager is highly preferable because it gives you options to edit the conditions of the tag as you like. If you’re not familiar with Google Tag Manager, Google themselves helpfully have a video course on the product and how to use it. I’ll link to it from the show notes on Marketingmindset.club.

You will need to customise the installation to collect a segment of data – such as those who viewed a particular product category, but you can also install it across the entire site to build an audience of all your website visitors as a whole. The Linkedin Insight tag works slightly differently. It needs to fire on every page of the website, and then you build audiences within the Linkedin ad platform. 

Once you have installed the tracking pixels, it will probably take some time for audiences to build. After all, it cannot retrospectively gather interactions from the past, only those that occur after the tag has been installed. 

While that is happening, you’ve got time to design the ad content and creative you want to present to the audience. Will it feature a picture of a product, or a discount code? Up to you, you might want to run several different variants of ads to see which combination gets the most engagement.  And that’s the bit that no one can really teach. You are best placed to understand your audience, and it’s only by trying different ads, platforms, timings that you’ll find the combination that gets the best results.

Don’t forget that you will probably need to update your privacy policy to let website users know cookies are being used for this purpose. It’s a GDPR requirement, but you should seek your own advice on this.

The real-life lessons bit

I’ve just got a couple of tidbits for you this week.

We’ve seen competition increase in some PPC markets – namely for one of our B2B tech clients in the US search market. My guess is that companies are adjusting to the new normal and realising that their marketing can’t stop indefinitely. So, if you’re seeing your average cost per click increasing, that might have something to do with it.

I read a fascinating blog recently about the most surprising outcomes of A/B tests and there were a couple that really grabbed my attention. The first was the placement of a form on a web page. In a 3 column layout, the form was moved from column 3 to column 2 and it produced almost a 50% uplift in conversion rate. When you look at the layout in visual format, it seems to go against best practice because the form is in the centre of the information on the page, but it obviously works for them.

The second example was in PPC ad text. Two versions of copy were tested:

A. Get $10 off the first purchase. Book online now!

B. Get an additional $10 off. Book online now. 

The CTR doubled with option … B. (Just for the record, my money was on A.)  

As always, the key lesson here – test it for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a perfect test, it doesn’t have to be the perfect page. You’re just trying to understand how you can move the needle.

And that’s all I have for you this week. Thank you so much for being part of the Marketing Mindset Club. I’m so glad you tuned in! 

Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, it really helps me out in my goal to grow this club. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and questions so head over to Instagram @MarketingMindsetClub and I’ll see you next time.