6 Key Strategies to Ramp up your B2B Marketing Success
In the super competitive world of B2B marketing, it’s a battle between your success –or that of your competitors. The right marketing strategies can keep you way ahead of the curve, but if you aren’t keeping up with the times, your competition will be hard on your heels.
The modern B2B cycle has evolved. It is no longer a funnel, but rather a fluid cycle with overlapping touchpoints, multiple stakeholders, and prospects engaging in more independent research. B2B products and services are also typically more complex, and require solutions geared towards rational decision making versus spur-of-the moment purchases.
Take a look at 6 key strategies to keep your marketing going strong and your revenues running higher:
1. Content Marketing
You may have heard this repeatedly, but content marketing continues to rule strong for B2B marketers. In the past, a sales representative, dealer, or channel partner was the key point of contact for gathering information. From warranty information, pricing, product features, and more, a sales rep was the gateway to any information related to the product or service.
Of course, we know this is no longer the case. B2B buyers have numerous channels on which to research. In fact, an estimated 57% of the purchase decision is made before a prospect even engages a sales rep.
According to a recent study by Regalix, 80% of senior marketers said creating marketing collateral is a top priority. In another study by TopRank, the most effective content marketing tactics according to B2B marketers are:
- In-person events (70%)
- Case studies (65%)
- Videos (63%)
- Webinars (63%)
- Blogs (62%)
- Newsletters (60%)
- White papers and research reports (59%)
As prospects are doing research, be sure to create different types of content based on where they are in the buying cycle. Develop a mixture of content to help a buyer move seamlessly from awareness to price and product comparison, without any involvement from a sales rep until the prospect is ready to engage.
2. Digital Marketing Channels
B2B market leaders are investing big in digital marketing channels. According to a survey by StrongView, spend is on the rise for email, social media, mobile marketing, and search (SEO, PPC).
As prospects head to digital sources to do their research, B2B marketers must make sure they are being relevant in the channels a prospect is most likely to be searching. Now that you have an arsenal full of great content, the next important step is to make sure your content can be found!
3. Social Media Channels = #B2B Revenue
Social media is a great way to share content, build brand loyalty, and engage with potential prospects. Real Business Rescue shares some great insights on the value of social media for B2B marketers:
- 9 in 10 B2B businesses say that increased exposure is the number one benefit of social media
- Increased traffic (80%) the development of loyal fans (72%) and marketplace insights (71%) were also cited as major benefits.
The top B2B social media sites revealed by the study include:
While social media has been thought of as primarily a B2C strategy in the past, nothing can be further from the truth. As customer purchase decisions are increasingly affected by word of mouth and content marketing, social media is an ideal avenue to engage with prospects seeking education and peer recommendations.
4. The Power of Third-Party Data
Did you know that on average, every 30 minutes 120 business addresses change, 75 phone numbers change, 20 CEOs leave their jobs, and 30 new businesses are formed?
(Source: D&B The Sales and Marketing Institute)
Keeping your customer and prospect information accurate and up-to-date can mean the difference between a sale for you, or a sale for your competitor. A wrong email address or phone number can quickly derail the best laid out communication strategy. Not knowing about key management changes or about the formation of a new company can leave opportunities on the table.
A third-party vendor can quickly get your data into shape by correcting wrong information and adding missing information such as phone numbers and email addresses. Additional information such as online IDs can also be appended to boost digital targeting across channels.
According to a survey by Spear Marketing Group, 40.7% of B2B marketers currently use a third-party data solution while almost half (46%) don’t use any type of third-party lead enrichment.
5. Personalize the Experience
Personalization is an active topic of discussion among both B2B and B2C marketers. Your prospects and customer have come to expect companies to know who they are and to deliver personalized experiences based on this knowledge. According to Accenture, 50% of B2B buyers want personalization and identified it as being a key feature among suppliers they would want to work with.
Consider offering the following types of personalization:
- Social Media: Engage in personal conversations with your customers. Just as importantly, be sure to continually monitor social sites. Social users expect a quick response to their questions and inquiries.
- Email: Send targeted emails to segments based on purchase history, firmographic information, stage in the process cycle, and so forth.
- Websites: Offer different navigation options, a good site search engine, and landing pages for promotions.
- Phone: Be sure you have an interface to quickly pull up customer details so you can offer personalized recommendations and offers at the moment.
6. Don’t Forget about the Millennials
As millennials become of age, there has been an increasing shift over the past 2 years in the profile of today’s B2B buyer. According to Google research, nearly half of B2B buyers are between the ages of 18-34, an increase of 70%!
Image: Google/Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014.
As millennial buyers have more influence over purchase decisions, implementing ways to connect with this generation are increasing in importance. Millennials are more likely to trust information found in social communities because they believe they provide more accurate, authentic information. Research by Elite Daily revealed that 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.
Millennials also expect to engage with sales reps through the channel of their choosing and at any time. 87% of millennials use between 2 and 3 devices on a daily basis, so having information easily accessible and mobile friendly is crucial to capture the attention of this audience.
As B2B buyers are becoming more sophisticated, so must your marketing strategies. The way buyers research and buy products has changed and your marketing must be able to do more of the heavy lifting before a buyer is finally ready to engage with your sales reps.
To learn how to implement highly successful strategies used by today’s top data-driven marketers, download this free eBook.
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