The digital marketing revolution is sweeping the world – and B2B advertising is no exception. Buyers and sellers are shifting to digital channels for conducting networking, brand building, product demos and training, and even transactions.
Using this handbook, you can adapt your brand to the evolving marketplace by using the most effective channels, targeting methods and measurement strategies for reaching modern B2B buyers. In this guide you’ll learn the answers to key marketing questions, such as:
How can you efficiently target B2B audiences?
B2B’s emphasis on precisely targeting niche audience groups will be affected by third-party cookie deprecation in 2023. Find a balance between leveraging non-cookie based second and third-party prospecting audiences and creating digital touch points with your CRM contacts to reach the buyers that matter most for your brand.
What are the best channels for B2B brands to advertise on?
Some of the most effective and fastest growing digital channels we recommend for B2B marketers include social, display, search, connected TV and audio. Read the full guide or continue scrolling to learn how to activate each channel most effectively and achieve business results.
How to measure the results of B2B digital marketing?
Track the cross-channel customer journey via both sales and marketing touchpoints. Accurate measurement provides learnings to optimize the process, making the sales funnel shorter and ad spend more effective. A common misstep marketers make is focusing solely on attribution and sourcing metrics. This is an oversimplification that blinds true insights and efficiency. To more accurately track a complex buying cycle, we outline a five step measurement process to define omni-channel success.
Future-Proof Your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy
Digital-first marketing is the way forward for B2B brands. This handbook provides a deeper understanding of the high level trends you need to know to stay ahead of the competitive curve and capitalize on untapped marketing space.
Adapting to the Digital-First B2B Marketplace
B2B digital ad spending is growing rapidly, and traditional spend is not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Digital advertising will be pivotal for B2B brands moving forward as buyers become more accustomed to a digital-first marketplace.
Here’s three simple shifts that can have a major impact:
Follow B2C’s Example
Leading consumer brands diversify and digitize their marketing mix to create robust omni-channel strategies. This is highly successful for meeting customers wherever they are online. Personalizing content is now an expectation for B2B digital marketing.
Lead with Data
Use CRM data to identify customers with the greatest lifetime value based on potential or historical spend to optimize your marketing expenditure. Then, create AI-based lookalike models to find new consumers who behave like your best customers.
Lean into Video
B2B buyers engage heavily with video content across the consumer journey, perhaps to the surprise of the more traditional B2B marketers. Product demos, tutorials, webinars, and culture-based content all have an impact on engaging and informing buyers.
Digital Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Companies are placing the highest investment for their account based marketing (ABM) strategies into digital. The majority of spend occurs on social media, paid search, and e-newsletters. However, other channels such as display, CTV and audio are gaining more share of wallet each year.
A barrier to successful ABM is the ability to efficiently and effectively personalize marketing at scale. This is addressable by using AI technology to segment and serve account-based ads on a programmatic level. There are also various methods for account-based targeting on platforms such as LinkedIn.
Targeting B2B Audiences with Digital Marketing
Impact of the Cookieless Future
It is important to maintain a forward looking mentality for lead generation. The cookieless future will affect targeting niche audience groups, an emphasis of B2B marketers. Brands should explore emerging identity-solution technologies while also prioritizing first-party data collection. Finding a balance between leveraging third-party prospecting audiences and your CRM contacts can define your success.
Know Your B2B Audience
Use consumer intelligence tools to create highly specific audience personas. Understand where their media consumption lies so you can reach them in both endemic and non-endemic environments. Focusing on intentionally targeting high quality leads will achieve a much higher return on investment than a mass market approach.
Job Title Targeting
Reach industry professionals based on the NAICS listed industries in which they work. Target using ABM, job title, job function and seniority targeting, firmographic, and intent signals. Further refine targeting through Boolean logic to reach specific B2B audiences.
IP targeting enables brands to identify qualified households and businesses based on IP address. You can also create look-alike models using audience lists to expand reach. This allows you to target specific business locations and reach employees while they are at work.
Geo-fencing powers hyper-local mobile targeting in specific locations of your target accounts. Geo-targeting industry conferences can be effective to reach a high concentration of relevant professionals with greater efficiency.
Website retargeting allows you to reach warm leads who have recently visited your site with sequential messaging. Conversion pixels can be particularly useful for B2B brands to place on key actions, like PDF downloads or form submissions. However, the deprecation of third-party cookies will inevitably impact this – so avoid overreliance on this tactic.
Key Channels for B2B Digital Marketing
Brands need to enable digital transaction and communication across all stages of the lead funnel. Here are some of the most effective and fastest growing digital channels we recommend for B2B marketers:
While social media is extremely useful in personifying the brand, it also goes a long way in driving new prospects and increasing customer lifetime value. Advertising and engaging content initiates that process. The most commonly used and highly effective social media for B2B brands is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has millions of active professionals with detailed targeting capabilities for reaching a business-focused target audience. On LinkedIn, individuals are more likely to be engaged in business-related activities, which is a great fit for B2B initiatives.
Brands are realizing the value of video in driving awareness through storytelling, which is just as important to B2B as it is to B2C. CTV ads provide maximum impact, reaching users on the largest screen in their home against premium content. With advanced audience targeting across CTV devices brands can re-engage existing customers and reach new audiences.
Programmatic audio is a growing sector for B2B. Placements in relevant podcasts or streaming platforms can reach very specific audiences. B2B spend in this category is currently lagging, but we expect growth in the next several years. By capitalizing on this tactic now, your brand has the potential to capture attention ahead of more widespread adoption
Digital Out of Home (DOOH) refers to the purchasing of digital screens in public. With DOOH, you can purchase inventory nearly in real-time versus traditional methods that take multiple weeks and contracts. Digital screens place ads in locations where you know key decision makers are likely to be.
4 out of 10 US B2B marketers said they plan to increase their display budget in 2022. Use display to drive consideration and lead generation through specific CTAs. Segment audiences based on attributes and behaviors. Then, connect with them on relevant sites and apps using a combined approach of contextual and audience targeting.
Native ads match readers’ interests with curated content and generate higher brand engagement. This is especially useful for targeting B2B buyers when they are consuming contextually relevant content. Plus, it can position your content as an additional resource to the topic they are reading about without being intrusive.
Paid Search (PPC)
To show up in highly competitive search rankings, combine organic and paid search strategies for maximum impact and profitability. When B2B buyers begin searching for information, they will likely land on a top ranking site on Google. So, it is critical to bid against the most effective keywords to place your brand at the forefront of the consumer journey.
Measuring B2B Digital Marketing Results
Tracking the cross-channel journey across sales and digital marketing touchpoints is essential. Accurate measurement provides learnings to optimize the process, making the sales funnel shorter and ad spend more effective.
Focusing on sourcing metrics is an oversimplification that blinds true insights and efficiency. To more accurately track a complex buying cycle, we recommend creating a custom measurement framework.
Use this 5-step process to define omni-channel success for your B2B marketing:
1) Align Sales and Marketing Teams
First, sales and marketing must have alignment. The following steps of identifying business OKRs should be collaborative to meet shared goals and understand the impact of one another’s efforts.
2) Identify Desired Business Outcomes
Secondly, establish and understand your core business goals. This creates a roadmap that empowers marketing and sales teams to make informed decisions. From there, you can begin to build a strategic marketing plan to move the needle for the brand
3) Determine KPIs to Indicate Success
Begin to identify the signals that trigger audience actions and bring you closer to your goals. Next, determine how each touchpoint leads the customer to the point of purchase and how you can track directional success. Move beyond typical metrics that simply measure media efficiency and see what is truly impacting your business results.
4) Evaluate Incrementality
As you nurture leads and drive new business, evaluate the incremental effects of your marketing strategy. To test different tactics or channels, establish a performance baseline and then adjust one variable at time to see the impact. This will give you more accurate insight than attribution or last-click models.
5) Create a Cycle of Test and Learn
Now it is important to identify the key questions we can answer to improve upon results in the next campaign. Create a learning agenda to determine which components are driving the best outcomes so you can adjust and optimize in the future.
Apply these core principles and watch your business transform. Using this approach will allow you to track and communicate meaningful data about your buyers, no matter how complex your channel strategy may be.
Key Takeaways for B2B Marketers
Agility will be key in 2022 and B2B brands have an exciting opportunity to leverage the digital marketplace to their advantage. Using this guide, you should be able to better understand how to adapt your brand’s strategies for long-term success.
With a digital-first approach, audience personalization, and strategic targeting, you can reach your highest potential buyers with maximum efficiency.
As you continue to navigate these challenges, Coegi is here to be your guide!
Reach out to us at email@example.com for a strategy consultation to enhance your customers’ digital journey.