Updated: Feb 11, 2019
Author: Tony Waldegrave
Traditionally the core of b2b marketing has always been a direct marketing strategy and that remains true today.
The nature of direct marketing is to target your predefined audiences, and in the past, lists were widely available and direct mail and telemarketing were the main delivery mediums.
Email became a popular delivery vehicle in the nineties as email became widely adopted by the business community. Today email marketing remains the most effective marketing tactic in the b2b marketing arsenal. There are now some excellent 3rd party cloud based email marketing platforms that are purpose built for the marketer. These platforms include full database list management features, customisable html templates (browser responsive options for smart phones) and detailed reporting and analytics. The main challenge with email marketing is building your target lists, as it is no longer viable to purchase these due to spam rules which now require lists to be permission based by the recipient.
EDM (electronic direct mailer marketing) is another option where you feature your offering within a third party email campaign, possibly a trade or an association driven campaign that overlaps with your target audience. This is often less effective than direct email marketing as you are effectively advertising on another parties list.
The website plays a vital part in today's b2b marketing mix and is the key touch point for all offline and online marketing initiatives. The website is also normally the point of conversion and in a b2b context this is usually an enquiry form and or a sign up to the database list. The website therefore needs to provide a good user experience and to satisfy the user's informational requirements. Having a well planned, designed and constructed website will impact on your conversion rate of visitors into enquiries and sign ups.
Content has always been the foundation of all communication initiatives and in todays fiercely competitive online environment its even more important. Having a well thought out content marketing and creation plan will determine your level of success.
Most of us make the mistake of seeing online marketing as a one-to-many broadcast type medium, where in fact it's a highly effective narrow cast (direct marketing) medium with sophisticated audience targeting and engagement capabilities. Increasingly, is often referred to as inbound marketing (where it operates in the reverse direction) as the target audience is in control distinct from traditional direct marketing where the seller makes the action and control over the sales engagement.
Visibility in search engines is a highly effective way to reach and connect with your target audience and advertising in Google AdWords is a must do tactic in any b2b marketing plan. For example, in search you are targeting individuals who search for keywords that relate directly to your service or product offering and they are highly valued as they present themselves as being in the buying cycle.
The new capabilities available now in remarketing have made this an effective means to retarget audiences that have previously visited your website but did not complete a goal. This tactic can work really well where the sales value is high and or the sales cycle is long and competitive.
Other means of direct targeting your audience online is to place ads alongside content that the audience would likely read. This content would best bear a relationship to your product or service. The ads would normally take the form of image or banner ads. Targeting content in this way is best done via the Google Display Network which provides access to a vast inventory or websites and supports a content ad placement targeting feature.
B2B advertising in Facebook has become very effective, particularly as the FB advertising platform has developed its targeting capabilities. Remarketing in Facebook is one tactic that can be very effective at expanding your presence when used in parallel with Google remarketing.
Facebook's custom audience advertising feature aligns very well with b2b direct marketing objectives. Email database lists can be loaded as an audience list into the FB ad platform and matched to FB account email addressees and then targeted with ads.
LinkedIn is proving to be another very effective channel as it has become widely adopted by business people (over 1m NZ'ers with LinkedIn profiles) and employees of all types in New Zealand. It can be a very effective advertising channel for New Zealand b2b businesses and allows ads to be placed within the LinkedIn network based on targeting options that include industry, role function and role description.
If you need help with your b2b online marketing strategy or you are seeking clarity on components of the mix, then contact Adhesion today for a no obligation discussion.
Our reputation goes hand-in-hand with our team’s dedication to best practice. As a registered Premier Google Partner, our team refreshes our certifications every 12 months — A tradition we started over a decade ago. To stay ahead, we are always looking forward to upcoming certifications for online advertising, website development and search engine optimisation.