B2B advertising begins with the target audience. Until you know who you are targeting, you cannot identify the publications, sites or ad networks you should be working with.

However, one of the first things advertisers do is generalize their target audience. Here are a couple examples of how B2B target audiences are generalized for advertising:

  • Juniper targets companies with large data centers. However, before that can be turned into a broad advertising plan, it is generalized as large companies or specific industries likely to have large data centers.
  • UPS targets companies with national and international logistics and high volume shipping needs. Again, that is generalized into industries, large companies or even geographic regions before it can be used as a target for advertising campaigns.

What if you didn’t need to generalize your audience? Instead of targeting large companies or industries, what if Juniper could directly target companies with large data centers or UPS could directly target companies with complex logistics needs?

Today they can.

Targeting Online Ads to Specific Companies

Bizo announced the ability to target named companies with online ads about a month ago. Yesterday Demandbase launched Company-Targeted Advertising, giving marketers a second option with some different capabilities.

Disclosure: Demandbase is a Babcock & Jenkins client. Normally I do not promote clients here on B2B Digital Marketing. I was first introduced to this feature and intended to write about it well before they became a client. Now that Demandbase’s offering is public, I wanted to share it. This post reflects my own opinion and perspective only.

Here are three of Demandbase’s capabilities that I believe are particularly interesting for B2B marketers:

  • Customizing creative. Beyond just targeting, Demandbase allows creative to be customized to every company. If you want to tailor your message to every company, you can.
  • Measure traffic by company. Rather than just measuring clicks, registrations or downloads from individuals, Demandbase measures the increase in traffic from the companies you are targeting. If you target companies, you should be measuring companies too.
  • Create custom target lists. It is often far easier to define the criteria for a target list than to develop the target list. Demandbase has a database of company information that can be used to develop lists based on your criteria.

Applications of Company Targeted Advertising

There are many applications when you think about targeting companies instead of broader audiences. For B2B marketers looking to get started, here are three places to begin:

  • Target your named accounts. Even if your named accounts represent 10% of a publisher’s audience (and that would require a very large account list and a very targeted publisher), delivering ads only to those named accounts is a 10x improvement in targeting. For many B2B advertisers it will be a closer to a 100x improvement.
  • Extend your upsell, winback and competitive replacement campaigns. These programs already run in direct mail, email and through your account or sales team, adding online lets you further surround your target.
  • Extend nurture programs. Most B2B nurture programs center around email and only reach known contacts. By targeting companies in the buying process, you can reach a broader set of decision makers and influencers than you can via email.

Your Turn

How would you make use the ability to target advertising to specific companies? Share your ideas in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

If you want help getting started with a program, you can contact Bizo or Demandbase (the only current providers I’m aware of), or reach out to me directly and I will be happy to discuss it with you.

Image Credit: Target Audience from FreeDigitalPhotos.net