While B2C brands often lead the charge when finding new ways to attract and engage with customers, clients and prospects of B2B organisations need to deliver an equally customer-focused experience. Not only that, but one that can reach them online and offline. Being a multi-channel, if not omnichannel, business is no longer an expectation limited to big name retailers.
In 2018, there are many B2B marketing strategies your business can implement – and it’s not all about having the latest technology at your fingertips. Here are five key B2B marketing strategies you should consider:
Hooking your website up to marketing automation enables B2B marketers to track visitor actions, identify their most promising prospects and target them with relevant communications that align with their behaviour.
The main features of marketing automation include:
Analytics: Examine your customer database, segmenting them appropriately based on their demographics, location, lifetime value and behaviour, to identify trends and cluster your customers and prospects for messages.
Campaign management: Use these segmented lists and build acquisition, retention and sales campaign workflows. Marketing campaigns can automatically execute across multiple channels (like email, push messaging, and social) to nurture your prospects.
Lead scoring: Through assessment of the data customers supply (by filling out a form on your website, for example), in conjunction with how they engage with you (how many pages they click, how long they spend on each page, the emails they open and things they sign up) assigns new leads with a score. Reaching a certain score will trigger a response, whether that is another message, a call from business development or sales, or something else.
For B2B businesses, marketing automation can go to great lengths to identify your best leads, increase revenue and optimise marketing costs and productivity.
You can also give this insight a significant boost with a segmentation service like Money Mapping.
Your business is probably already creating content. Some say there is too much and all the ‘noise’ it creates means most serves little purpose.
Admittedly, unlike print media, when articles had to go through a succession of editors before making it to a page, anyone can post almost anything on a blog. Even so, there is huge value and opportunities for B2B organisations to use content marketing. Not least because it offers SEO and link building benefits to drive visitors to your website.
Other types of content B2B Marketers should explore include:
eBooks, reports and White Papers: Primarily, these in-depth documents are to assist your customers who are trying to understand more about a product, service or industry. Also, they can help businesses capture new leads and understand prospect intent, as well as help you generate coverage within your industry media.
Long-form content: Quick-read articles have their place. However, in a world of ‘fake news’, more people are appreciating well-written, well-researched articles that deliver quality, factual content. Moreover, many SEO experts agree Google favour longer (as in, 3000+ words) articles. This article is a paltry 1,300 or so words. Sorry Google.
Visual/Video content: Whether or not you believe infographics are dead, there is more to content than the written word. The BBC report that video, for example, will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Having the resources, skill and equipment to create high quality content does limit who can do it. However, when companies that use video marketing grow their revenue 49% faster than those that don’t, and that 70% of B2B marketers think that video is more effective than any other form of content when converting qualified leads, you may think it worth the investment.
Even though account-based marketing (ABM) has been a buzzword for years, B2B Marketing found that just 11% of marketing teams actually have an ABM plan in place. Part of this problem may come from confusion about what it is.
Effectively, ABM is the practice of treating a prospect or account company as a ‘market of one’. This is a particularly effective approach, as it means your business aims to address the specific needs of all that company's stakeholders needed to drive a sale.
Successful ABM will require, among other things:
To identify targets and research accounts: Building a target account list requires you to define not only your objectives, but also factor in your team’s capacity, product/services, and the competition in order to score these leads. You’ll then want to investigate the key players and decision makers within each account.
Close alignment between sales and marketing: This means both departments taking responsibility for lead nurturing and ensuring these leads are properly qualified. It also requires that marketing can provide the right (preferably personalised) content sales will need for the most appropriate stage of each of their prospects’ customer journeys.
To create a specific campaign for that account: Not only will you need content that is appropriate for each person within the account, you’ll need to consider which communication channels they prefer. Other forms of engagement also need planning, for example face-to-face contact, networking, hospitality, incentives and so on.
Influencer marketing is huge for B2C companies and explains why many YouTube ‘vloggers’ demonstrating makeup, fashion and videogames are now very wealthy.
Although the process is slightly different for B2B marketers, the motivation is the same – an authentic, third-party expert (ideally from outside of marketing), who will bring a trusted voice to your content. For these influencers to be effective, you’ll want them to have knowledge that is topically relevant to your field, considered a ‘thought leader’ within your community and (ideally) have a large audience they already engage with.
Benefits of using influencer marketing include:
An independent advocate of your product/services: Influencers can be asked to collaborate guest blog posts, author white papers, give interviews and so on. Not only can they create content that is seen as free of marketing ‘spin’, they give valuable outside opinions and endorsements that others trust.
Extending your visibility: Some business qualify an ‘influencer’ as someone with a large social media following. Although being able to take advantage of an influencer’s network, it’s more important that influencer marketing is seen by the right people, not just as many people as possible.
Pushing out your marketing messages across multiple channels is nothing new. However, there are some strategies that B2B organisations could be overlooking, beyond the normal emails and events, etc.
Direct mail: For many B2B companies, direct mail is core to their business. However, just as many have abandoned it as outdated. On the contrary, a report by Royal Mail found that 70 percent of respondents said that mail makes them feel more valued. Direct mail today doesn’t have to be like the useless spam of old. For example, mailshots can be combined with digital marketing as part of a larger campaign and/or include augmented reality technology. Data analysis means they are more targeted and personalised than before, and mails are more valuable and relevant for readers.
Native Ads: Native advertising is a type of paid media that has been designed the look creatively and editorially similar to the website where it has been placed, much like a magazine advertorial. Unlike an advertorial, though, they do not have an overt sales message, aim to inform readers and have a subtle call to action.
According to figures from Capterra, native ads record an 18% higher intent to purchase, and generate 82% more brand lift than banner ads. They can be valuable as they can get a relevant message to a key audience without disrupting their user experience, as well as generate leads and deliver a measurable ROI.
Download The B2B Guide to Customer Insight to learn:
- What is B2B customer insight?
- Why customer insight requires a foundation of data quality
- The process of cleansing, matching and enhancing customer data
- The three business objectives your customer insight goals need to meet
- What Money Mapping is, how it works, and the insights it can deliver
- How to leverage B2B customer insights for profitable gain