It’s no secret that B2B lead nurturing has become almost synonymous with lead torturing. One signs up for a service or some trial, and sure enough those ostensibly automated emails start appearing in one’s inbox with the regularity of drug induced bowel movements and the inspiration factor of a home appliance user manual.
Wait, it’s not all bad, is it?
Don’t get me wrong: done right, lead nurturing can be a hell of a marketing engine. It represents a unique opportunity, granted to the marketer by the prospect’s gracious act of leaving her details on some website form, to actually prove to that prospect that she’s just stumbled on a rare piece of internet info-treasure island where much value can be had. Yet all too often, that opportunity is grossly mishandled and the prospect finds herself mired in a junk yard of scrappy information and rusty, useless and irrelevant content.
Seriously, take a look at your inboxes (I mean the promotions or updates tab, if you’re Gmail users) and tell me it isn’t true: 85% of the time, the marketers behind those emails you receive run such half-hearted lead nurturing campaigns that I won’t be surprised if at some point one of them saw a confirmation dialog from their marketing automation system asking if they really really want to send this crap to his prospects.
Now, consider this: what’s the advertising equivalent to lead nurture emails? you guessed it: ad retargeting. Everyone’s favorite thing on the web. And by everyone I mean of course all ad tech folks and ad agencies. As for consumers and web surfers, yeah, sure – who wouldn’t want the baker from that store they just left without buying anything to suddenly appear behind a rack of clothes at the fashion shop they entered, shoving a loaf of gluten free bread in their face? it’s a great advertising trick that works well because it relies on the majority of consumers being too info-saturated and ad-bombarded (notice my careful non-use of the pejorative here) to notice they’re actually being played.
So it’s Lead NurtuREmarketing or Lead RemarkeNurturing?
Now, imagine these two strategies combined. Are you ready for ‘Lead NurtuREmarketing’? I know I am, though not to that awful word. I’m ready because, again, done right, the combination of a well orchestrated email campaign with carefully placed banner ads that augment each other’s messaging has the potential to work massive wonders. Eloqua, through its joint offering with Bizo, shone a light down that road and it looks damn interesting. Enough to have Jay Famico from SiriusDecisions list it on his recent look-back post on the year in marketing automation. Though in all honesty, I see no reason for marketers who don’t use Eloqua to miss this particular boat. Just get your tracking and remarketing codes right, burn some grey matter to design a bunch of smart nurture flows, and you should be ok.
The flip side, of course, is that lazy marketers will take the easy neon lighted way out and simply brainwash their visitors to the point that they’ll sign up for whatever call to action they’re offered, if only to stop those damn recurring ads and emails from threatening their sanity. But I know you, dear reader/marketer, won’t do that. Because you’re smart. Or because I’m sucking up to you. Probably both. I digress.
In conclusion, the combination of lead nurturing and ad retargeting is a potentially powerful addition to the B2B marketer’s toolbox and I expect to see some interesting case studies emerge in 2014, alongside much hype and general B2B buyer angst over being totally inundated by bland emails and horrid banners from marketers who don’t work with me. wink wink, nudge nudge.