18 Feb Digital Marketing Keys That B2B Should Borrow from B2C
While B2C (business to consumer) brands have shifted strongly to digital marketing tactics, B2B (business-to-business) brands are a bit behind the cut in this aspect.
- 67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago
- 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media
- 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement
- 86% of B2B buyers “frequently” use mobile phones to access business-related content
- Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less
Despite this, many B2B brands are still hesitant to introduce digital into their branding initiatives. Three key factors underpin B2B skepticism about digital:
Companies underestimate digital’s efficacy and reach, assuming that potential clients will miss any posts and activity. Also, there is often an assumption that B2B customers are a different audience from that of a B2C company. This is an unusual assumption given that we all know that people buy from people—businesses don’t buy from businesses.
#2 Limited Data
Access to hard statistics on digital ROI for B2B brands remains limited. As a result, B2B companies question whether their online spend will generate business revenue.
#3 Different Sides, Different Approaches
Over the years, B2B and B2C branding have been addressed differently. Print and TV have slowly given way to websites, mobile and streaming media as the core of B2B communication channels, but only because that has been the consumer trend of the hour. There seems to be a perception that B2B customers are unique, and that has resulted in a lack of progress toward applying more cost-effective mediums such as widespread digital and social media.
So, what does all this mean for B2B brands?
Traditional Media, Traditional Gaps
While there’s no question that traditional media branding offers powerful reach, there are gaps in its efficacy that expanding digital outreach can fill. These gaps include:
Despite the powerful reach, traditional media messages are more challenging to customize. In contrast, digital messaging can be adjusted in a variety of ways to reach both broad and sharply defined targets so as to fit both business needs and stakeholders’ requirements.
Getting information is the typical stage 2 in the buying process, yet traditional marketing isn’t keeping up with how customers are evolving in their search for goods and services. More often than not, B2B customers kick off searches with online digging, much like B2C customers.
Adjustability and Diversity
Traditional marketing is much more fixed, not dynamic. It isn’t able to address customers in an always-on world while being relevant to their needs and requirements. In addition, traditional channels cannot effectively address multiple stakeholders. Traditional media does not have the flexibility to adapt to the diversity of audiences that B2B brands need to address today.
Digital Branding Opportunities for B2B
Recent studies show that business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete.
Before that, a B2B brand can lose out to a competitor who reaches the customer first and nurtures the relationship through:
- Showing up for keywords related to the product or service due to high-traffic content ranking in the top spots for Google searches
- Tiers of content—posts, e-books, infographics and more—that engage the customer during the information-gathering stage of the buying process
- Complementary search ads and highly targeted ads in relevant industry sites that keep the brand top-of-mind for the customers
- Landing pages that drive action once a prospect clicks on the ad
Heavy social media activity that not only shows up in search but shares content from the B2B brand to position itself as a market intelligence resource—not just a provider of products or services.
Making This Happen
Far too often, B2B brands jump into digital tactics without a clear plan and thus flounder. So semi-abandoned blogs, long social media silences, newsletters that last 2 issues or staggeringly untargeted digital ads abound and leaders then question the ROI of their digital marketing efforts.
As such, the approach is crucial. When we work with clients at 3Degreez Marketing, we follow a much more structured planning process to:
- Define the business objectives—leads, stronger brand presence, sales conversions…all three?
- Understand the B2B brand’s sales process and how their leads flow so that digital marketing efforts are aligned to support this sales process
- Master the media habits of the target audience own proprietary marketing intelligence tools and external research
- Fit tactics to the brand—content could be a solution…or not, as with mobile app ads, site retargeting, LinkedIn posts, etc.—regardless, the fit should be obvious with clearly defined benefits
- Define the metrics to determine what’s working and what isn’t, while allowing for continuous improvements and adjustments that will increase your return on marketing with whatever tactics are employed
Contact 3degreeZ Marketing to explore how we can develop the right digital strategies that fit your objectives, brand personality and, most importantly, sales pipeline.