When you get into semantics with marketing, be it B2B or B2C, you lose a basic fact. Marketing is about the ways human beings interact with technology on the web and mobile devices.

Shawn Burns, global vice president of digital marketing for SAP, told this to attendees at the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference in Salt Lake City today. “Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, people interact with technology,” Burns said.

It’s one of the things Burns has realized as he’s managed web strategy, design, development and operations for SAP’s flagship web property: www.sap.com and its 72 country sites in 40 languages.

Here are 10 ways Burns and SAP approach B2B digital marketing.

1. Monitoring Employee Social Activity

SAP has about 60,000 employees, and Burns knows he can no more control what they do or say in social circles than his own customers. “A SAP employee today can say anything he wants at any time,” Burns said. “Two to three years ago, we didn’t have messages in this marketplace unless our communications teams approved it.”

SAP’s marketing team wants employees to understand the channel on which they interact and what they should and should not do.

customer experience, 10 Ways SAP Approaches its B2B Marketing

2. Sticking with Traditional Channels

Think email is dead? SAP doesn’t.

“I’m still sending 20 percent more emails to my customers than I was 12 months ago,” Burns said. “Emails continue to perform. Banners. Retargeting. It all plays a picture. You have to be able to see how these contribute to revenue.”

3. Non-SAP Content

SAP spends an immense about of time and energy creating content that is not about SAP. Not about their products, nor solutions.

customer experience, 10 Ways SAP Approaches its B2B Marketing #AdobeSummit

Why? Customers want to know the “why” behind their purchases. Why should I care about big data? How is mobility impacting my own customer’s experience?

SAP potential customers can find this dialogue on SAP’s website so they’re “with me earlier in the buying process,” Burns said. “And time-on-site goes up when we run much more editorially-based content than something based in corporate marketing.”

4. Baking in Social

Relative to content on its site, SAP sees social as a part of its core business. The goal of each website is to have a third to half of it be user-generated content. They want customer content. They want analyst content. Blogger content.

“I’m curating non-SAP content into SAP websites,” Burns said. “It increases traffic, relevancy and transparency. And all of a sudden I’m curating a lot of innovative ideas.”

5. ‘Immense’ Time on Search

Search is a “universal customer behavior,” Burns said. “We spend an immense amount of time on search. … And when people come to sap.com they expect the same quality of search they get from Google. … This is not going away any time soon.”

Burns said SAP spends a lot of time in the multi-touch attribution arena collecting massive amounts of data.

6. Nurturing Customers On-Site 

In everything marketers do, nothing produces results like personalization, Burns said. “As soon as we have customers willing to tell us anything about themselves we start to automatically produce content relevant to them,” Burns said. “That personalization doubles, triples things when you talk about yield to revenue.”

7. Events and Content

Events are a major content generator. Put your events content on your website. “Our biggest customer event comes in a month, and it would be impossible to hit our home page without” interacting with content from that event, Burns said.

8. Mobiles are Phones 

Too many marketers forget about the “phone” part of smartphone. Don’t forget to have an option to contact your organization by phone through your mobile sites and campaigns. “We’re reminding them on sap.com if they want to talk to us we’re one little button away,” Burns said, who added he sees a willingness by customers to call companies through smartphones more than other devices.

9. Website Usability

Marketers spend a lot of time on color tones of photos, the way an image looks, what words to use on a site. Don’t forget, Burns said: Make your websites usable and quick. Can you get to a service representative with one click?

“And there’s one other little thing you can’t forget, which is speed,” Burns said. “Nobody will wait more than one second. Are you measuring the speed of your website?”

Test everything. SAP does 25 A/B tests per quarter on SAP.com.

10. Have a Focus

Burns admitted this is a complicated industry. “There are more shiny objects in digital you can keep track of,” he said.

How do you focus? Everything you do has to contribute to revenue. 

Your social metrics should be going up, he added. Your traffic to your website should always be going up. Monitor to make sure this is happening, Burns said.

Engagement metrics are challenging, Burns said. Someone may be on your website for five minutes, which looks good, but it may take five minutes to find something on your website.

“Everything has to contribute to leads in the pipeline and revenue,” Burns said. “That allows us to focus in a very complicated world.” 

CMSWire is onsite from Salt Lake City covering the Adobe Summit Digital Marketing Conference. For any news or tips, contact us @cmswire or @domnicastro. Check out our prior coverage: