About 90% of the world’s data has been produced in the last two years, launching us into what Deloitte has dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Technology has changed the way we think, learn, act, and shop—and the B2B sector is included. However, when it comes to B2B marketing, many B2B business owners I know have (on some level) made the same mistake—treating their sales and marketing strategies like it’s still 1999.
After years on the front lines of the B2B digital marketing transformation, I’ve learned what it takes to succeed and what leads to failure—and I want to share that insider tribal knowledge with you. Below, I’ve condensed everything you need to know about creating a winning B2B marketing strategy into this easy-to-understand guide.
As the name suggests, business-to-business marketing refers to the marketing of products or services to other businesses and organizations. It holds several key distinctions from B2C marketing, which is oriented toward consumers.
In broad sense, B2B marketing content tends to be more informational and straightforward than B2C. This is because business purchase decisions, in comparison to those of consumers, are based more on bottom-line revenue impact. Return on investment (ROI) is rarely a consideration for the everyday person — at least in a monetary sense — but it’s a primary focus for corporate decision makers.
In the modern environment, B2B marketers often sell to buying committees with various key stakeholders. This makes for a complex and sometimes challenging landscape, but as data sources become more robust and accurate, the ability to map out committees and reach buyers with relevant, personalized information is greatly improving.
Any company that sells to other companies. This can come in many forms: software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, security solutions, tools, accessories, office supplies, you name it. Many organizations fall under both the B2B and B2C umbrellas.
B2B marketing campaigns are aimed at any individual(s) with control or influence on purchasing decisions. This can encompass a wide variety of titles and functions, from low-level researchers all the way up to the C-suite.
Here are a few of the most common B2B marketing types and channels:
Blogs: A mainstay for almost any content team. Regularly updated blogs provide organic visibility and drive inbound traffic to your site. Your blog can house any number of different content formats: written copy, infographics, videos, case studies, and more.
Search: SEO best practices change as often as Google’s algorithm (a lot), making this a tricky space to operate in, but any B2B marketing strategy needs to account for it. Lately the focus has been shifting away from keywords and metadata, and more toward searcher intent signals.
Social Media: Both organic and paid should be in the mix. Social networks allow you to reach and engage prospects where they’re active. B2B buyers increasingly use these channels to research potential vendors for purchase decisions.
Whitepapers/eBooks: Standalone assets containing valuable information, these downloadable documents can either be gated (meaning a user must provide contact information or perform another action to access) or ungated. Often used as a B2B lead generation tool.
Email: While its effectiveness is waning somewhat in the age of spam filters and inbox shock, email won’t disappear anytime soon. To work around overloaded inboxes, some sales and marketing professionals use LinkedIn InMail for lead generation.
Videos: This content type can be applied in several of the previous categories mentioned here (blogs, social media, emails) but is worth singling out because it is growing so important to B2B strategies.