We get calls from B2B businesses all the time who want to know what type of digital campaigns they can run to be more successful.
In response, I have put together what we at Stream are calling the B2B Quadrangle:
Step One: A Great Advertising Campaign
Some of the most powerful campaigns for B2B businesses are campaigns which empower the audience. Successful examples of marketing campaigns of this nature include Lincoln Financial Group’s “Chief Life Officer” campaign, Progressive insurance’s “Name Your Price,” campaign, Obama’s “Yes We Can” election campaign.
These are the types of campaigns which are successful for B2C but which naturally translate exceptionally well into the B2B marketplace. By conducting in depth consumer research to pinpoint your audience, their fears and motivational factors, and then creating a campaign as a response to that need leads to success in B2B marketing.
You need to working with an advertising agency experienced in conducting target market research to pinpoint what creative campaign to structure for your specific audience/ niche market.
Tips for Creating the Right Campaign:
Research-based approach: It is extremely important to research your current market and study competitors to create a customer profile which includes people’s feelings and expectations for what they expect out of their B2B partners. This is also the time where we can pinpoint your differentiation factor; what makes your business different from everyone else’s and where do you fit in the market
Audience Empowerment and Emotion:
B2B consumers respond well to a combination approach which aligns feelings with empowerment. The most common reason for this is that B2B corporations usually are filling a void in the market and providing a service which is valuable to other business professionals who may feel overwhelmed or unhappy with their current service. Appealing to the state of the consumer has been highly successful in B2B.
The Importance of Creating an Integrated campaign:
Not only do you need to create this campaign digitally but you need to incorporate it into your PR strategy, internal brand communications and advertising.
Explore New Media Channels:
Extend your reach with adding new media channels which integrate this approach and speak to your audience based on demographic data.
Promote it from the inside out:
Make sure that prior to the launch of the campaign you have covered your internal bases: meaning you have trained employees on this new campaign, how to speak to customers who call, and how to integrate that feeling and structure inside the corporation so that when you speak outwardly you are cohesive with your corporate brand.
Step Two: The Right Social Media Campaign
B2B corporations are just now beginning to jump into social media, and one common question businesses ask all the time is, “We’re involved in social media but we don’t see an impact in our sales.” One of the most important criteria for gauging your online success as a B2B business is to ask, is your company engaging?
Engaging content can be humorous, tell a story, offer an exclusive tip or “inside” information; whatever the choice of content is you have to create a system for creating the content, promoting the content, and track engagement of that content.
You need to uncover the amplification ratio of your content to find out whether your content is engaging enough to motivate your target buyer through the various social marketing states:
- In-actives: In-actives represent 44% of the B2B audience, which is the lowest level of engagement meaning that these members do not participate in social media at all currently.
- Spectators: 48% are known as spectators, meaning they visit sites, read blogs, watch videos, and listen to podcasts about the topics that interest them.
- Joiners: 19% are joiners meaning that they participate within the social networks, posting comments and information and view social pages and Linkedin pages monthly.
- Collectors: 12% are collectors who search the internet for specific topics, collecting information by signing up for RSS feeds and social bookmarking sites they want to review on a consistent basis.
- Critics: 25% are known as critics, who post commentary on their own social pages and other’s social pages, submit reviews, and rate content monthly, and that last group is known as creators, these are individuals who create and/or publish their own content and share content created by others, have their own blog, and create videos which they distribute both online and via marketing vehicles such as email marketing, newsletters and even mail pieces.
You’ll need to identify your current audience based on a review of your current social media site and analyze the states of your audience. You’ll then need conduct market research online to uncover how to move your audience from their current state into the top funnel.
Leverage Your Audience
Once you have a handle on how to create an “engaged audience,” the next step is to leverage that audience, transforming them from listeners to co-promoters of your brand. Sounds simple, but getting anyone to do anything for things other than monetary incentives is not so easy; after all, once the audience is “activated,” increasing search results, bringing in new clients, high-powered introductions, then all come quite naturally.
The Power of Listening
More and more B2B businesses are implementing a listening dashboard to gather intelligence and strategize which includes collecting pieces of information such as conversations, posts, questions that are posed, problems that businesses are facing, all which when placed together produce a much larger picture, illuminating certain topics, brands or client prospects.
Social listening allows for B2B executives to:
- Hear what people are saying, and uncover sales leads whenever people discuss relevant keywords
- Gain closer access to the industry influencers through the article and blog posts they write
- Monitor your competition, gather sales intelligence and beat your competition by following discussions in real time
- Share fresh news and content from industry thought leaders with prospects and customers
- Create a network of B2B Brand Advocates/ Ambassadors using Social Media
- Use Social Listening to Strengthen Your B2B Brand
- Protect Your B2B Brand on Social Media
- Use social media to tell the story of your brand
- Make Your B2B Brand Personality Come Alive with a Corporate Spokesperson
Some of the critical goals of B2B branding which are then in turn promoted via social media include:
- Building better relationships with partners, prospects and customers.
- Attracting prospective customers and compressing sales cycles.
- Monitoring competitive positioning and ensuring you’re ahead.
- Establishing thought leadership in your industry.
- Building brand awareness and preference among decision makers
Step Three: A Singular Brand Personality or Multiple Brand Personalities
There are brand personalities everywhere, from Colonel Sanders at Kentucky Fried Chicken to Subway’s Jared, and Craigslist’s Craig Newmark, so what can B2B marketers take away from some of these very successful campaigns.
Brand personalities are created for one reason: to give a voice to their products which people will then in turn promote, make recommendations of the product to their family and friends, re-post videos, share and motivate others to join in on special offers, and expand your brand value, and in B2B marketing this is extremely valuable.
Sometimes just getting your foot in the door can make a huge difference for a B2B corporation, and by creating a powerful brand personality or empowering multiple brand personalities is the digital equation of having a digital sales force.
Multiple brand personalities can be created in different locations to speak the native language of that area. The key in the creation of a digital sales force is creating brand personalities that funnel customers right to you.
Step Four: Lead Generation/ Lead Nurturing Program
Once you have a captive audience, the next step is to capture their contact information so you can continue to reach this audience through your traditional marketing programs.
Creating a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly email or video series keeps the audience coming back.
Making sure that your lead submission form is prominently displayed and that traffic is being directed to download educational materials such as whitepapers, eBooks, educational videos, creative programs, and that the content speaks directly to your audience is extremely important.
The best lead generation/lead nurturing programs are based on the actions your buyers make online. Does your current email marketing program have multiple touch points of interaction?
Does it automatically distribute the right content to your audience based on their behaviors?
There you have it, a four step program for running a successful B2B digital marketing campaign.
If you would like to take your B2B digital marketing campaigns to the next level, feel free to contact us.