Online Marketing – B2B’s New Best Friend

READ THIS ARTICLE. Why? Because I said so, and because it has some great stuff in it. I thought I would get straight to the point. After all, we are in the business of actionable results and the era of information overload. We are moving quickly too, being in the zettabyte era, according to some of the most brilliant minds, where we have moved from 100GB per day in global Internet traffic in 1992, to 26,600GB per second in 2016. (Cisco Trends and Analysis report 2017)

It’s difficult to keep up with all the new best practices and industry understandings, and, well, with all the information out there! That’s where having a credible, trustworthy digital partner comes in, to guide you through the maze and get the best results for your business.

There still exists a certain fear around online marketing when it comes to B2B, which is interesting because it should be viewed as just another channel for communication, such as television or print. However, with digital, you have the ability to monitor and respond to whispers – a larger degree of control over word of mouth, if you will – with the ability to learn from your mistakes because you know about them.

I understand that this can be scary, but you can negate those fears with in-depth online reputation management guidelines and frameworks that are specifically tailored to suit your particular business. The digital ORM framework does not stand or operate in isolation; it contains the same principles and fundamental communication structures as any other corporate communications do, and can be vetted and participated in, using all the necessary legal and compliance channels within your particular infrastructure.

Now that we have dealt with some of the fear, let’s move onto valuable digital metrics for B2B. When your sales cycle is 18 months or longer, you’re not going to drive an impulse sale because you took someone to your website. You have to modify your measures of success, and you have to re-think your strategies for achieving them. It’s not impossible, but it takes collaboration between sales and marketing teams. After all, can you prove that the multi-million rand TV ad you ran brought you any business?

One of my biggest frustrations with digital marketing and advertising conferences, articles, events, workshops, etc., is that there in an abundance of telling What and Why, but very little on How.   So let me give you some practical tips on online B2B marketing.

  1. Add value to time and mind-strapped audiences.

A B2B online marketing plan’s focus should be on quality content that assists in the long-term building of client relationships. This is not a new concept. The crucial point to take away here is that internal sales and marketing teams need to work together to accomplish this. The silos within organizations need to merge in order to leverage knowledge and insights.

  1. Digital strategy is not separate from overall business strategy

Digital communication and operational means cannot be an afterthought once business strategy has been thought out. All tools and resources need to be looked at together,  from the beginning, in order to maximize their efficacy..

  1. Targeting is key

Consumer is king translates into Targeting is key for B2B marketing efforts online. Data tracking and targeting capabilities are continually being optimized and refined, and a partner who is on the cutting edge of this area is a definite must when it comes to B2B marketing online.

  1. Track and iterate

The beauty of digital is that it can be edited at any time, unlike a billboard which, once printed, is printed, and if there is a mistake to be rectified or a learning to be had, requires a long lead time as well as a substantial cost to turn around. With digital, real time optimization of advertising campaigns is possible, targeting amendments can be made and creative can be changed without it costing an arm and a leg.   Conclusion There still exists a discussion around valuable digital metrics when it comes to B2B, which is business objective- and asset-specific. However, this isn’t impossible and it isn’t anything to be scared of. Remember, your business is different from anybody else’s. Benchmarking against industry norms is a start, but actual historical data for your business is best. Benchmark against what your kind of content has done for your specific audience – you don’t need fancy tools to do this; a simple Excel spreadsheet will do. It’s just important to keep that data and build on it.

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