Let’s face it, in 2019 the best marketing strategies for B2B are digital marketing strategies. In the past, the marketing plans we created might have included a small section on digital, outlining how we’d manage our website and maybe try some social media, in addition to all the traditional marketing tools. Now, our marketing strategies are primarily digital, with maybe a few traditional tools (like brochures, trade show booths, flags and banners, etc.) included in the mix.
The reason for the shift is simple. As technology has advanced, and our reliance on the internet has expanded, the behavior of B2B prospects and purchasers has changed:
- Today most prospects are already 57 percent through the buying process before they meet face-to-face with a sales rep[i]
- For B2B prospects and customers, 61 percent of all transactions start online[ii]
- 90 percent of decision makers will not respond to a cold call[iii]
Researching a purchase decision online is easier, faster and it gives prospects a leg up when they do start talking to a sales rep. But while where and how you connect with your prospects has shifted, the way you develop your marketing strategy hasn’t changed. You still start from your goals, and figure out the best ways to reach your targets. The difference now is that the best ways are digital.
So how can you create the best (digital) marketing strategy? Start with these steps:
- Define your goals. (Build awareness, strengthen your reputation, generate leads, generate revenue, etc.)
- Decide how much of your budget you will allot to each goal.
- Choose the programs and tools that will help you reach each of your goals.
- Define how you will measure success.
- Ensure that your programs and tools are fully integrated, with each helping to boost all the others.
What you’ll end up with is an inbound marketing strategy that outlines
- where and how you’ll connect with your prospects;
- how you’ll support them with information (and the types of information);
- the path or buyer’s journey you want to direct them on;
- the Calls to Action you want them to respond to along the way.
Digital marketing is a lot harder than “regular” marketing used to be. Part of that is due to the complexity of the analytics you need to review and understand. But those analytics also provide rich and immediate feedback that marketers could not access before. So one of the most important things you can do as a digital marketer is to learn all you can about your analytical tools.
Digital also introduces levels of impact and entertainment that we’ve never experienced before. The trick is to harness this incredible power and array of choices, and bring it back to your goals – and apply it to find the best way to reach your targets.
And make sure to bring it all back together as a unified digital marketing strategy. Silos can be a big problem here – avoid ‘channel managers’ who focus solely on a specific social media platform, for example, or product managers who promote their products independently. All of your efforts, across all channels and touchpoints, have to be integrated.
In our next blogpost on this topic, we’ll look at how to apply the best digital marketing strategies across your primary digital tools, with specific and practical suggestions to optimize your website, online content, social media and email programs.
If you’d like to learn more about developing digital marketing strategies for your organization, we would like to invite you to our free inspiration session “Creating a winning brand in the digital age” on Thursday, November 7 from 14h00-16h00 at Living Stone, Oudenweg 42 in Beerlegem. We’d be glad to share our insights and expertise, and help you develop the best digital strategy to meet your goals.
[i] JASON ANGELOS, PHIL DAVIS, MARK GAYLARD, ‘Make Music, Not Noise, Achieve Connected Growth With Ecosystem Orchestration,’ report from Accenture Strategy, retrieved from https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-b2b-customer-experience