In today’s digital world, the tables have turned. B2B marketers have all the advantages of consumer marketers and more – and it is about time.
B2B marketers have long been challenged to find effective methods to target narrow, highly specialized audiences. Relative to large and broad consumer audiences, B2B audiences are fairly small in numbers and have traditionally been difficult to reach.
But there are no more excuses. According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) 57 percent of research is done online before contact is ever made with a company. It is marketing’s job to influence that journey and lead customers to a contact. B2B marketers need to do the hard work of identifying the steps a prospect needs to take to go from interest to action that ends in a purchase. So often, the purchase cycles in B2B markets are long and complex. Prospects need to be educated on a product, solution or benefit of a new process. Sometimes this requires an in-depth technical briefing on your product or service. Prospects may also need to build confidence that you are a leading provider they can trust with a critical business process. In most cases, they need some combination or all of these messages to be communicated at different touch points along the way.
Once prospective customer needs have been identified, there are many targeting options to consider for driving business results. Your audience will rely on various types and forms of content during the evaluation and decision-making process. The list below offers options to drive awareness, interest and engagement with your content.
- Specific channels on an industry site that complement your product or service
- Industry newsletters targeting an opt-in audience narrowed to your parameters
- Sole-sponsored newsletters to a list that matches your specific criteria
- Pre-planned webinar sponsorship opportunities on topics of interest to your audience
- Industry media websites’ customized webinars on your technology, application, products or service offering
- Custom content centers within an industry website including datasheets, application notes, case studies
Nurturing Interest and Action
After driving prospects to initially engage with your company’s content, provide relevant messaging that will lead them to the next research step. Retarget visitors to your website with messages that relate to their behavior and drive the next action using AdRoll, FetchBack or other providers. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market to your database based on their site visits and actions.
Reach out to your prospects by meeting them where they are going. Our Associate Media Director Sherie Wigder recently talked about the increasing importance of location when targeting your audience in a post on this blog. There are several options for reaching your target at the right place and the right time such as IP targeting that focuses on a particular company; geo-targeting to focus on a specific building, longitude or latitude; or using geofencing to drop nets around a primary location to promote traffic or engagement at a specific event, like a trade show.
Put your company in the consideration set when prospects are using search. Utilize pay-per-click search based on the key terms most related to your product or service. Retarget searchers who didn’t click on your result but have demonstrated an interest in your product category.
Social Media Targeting
More and more professionals are using social media for business. Don’t overlook the specialized targeting capabilities by education, group participation, title and many others available through social networks where B2B professionals are active. This includes LinkedIn as well as vertical social networks like OilPro for energy workers or SpiceWorks for IT professionals.
The biggest challenge facing B2B marketers is aligning objectives, strategies and tactics with the budget. You need experience and expertise to help build and optimize programs that successfully target these specialized audiences and drive new revenue. Let us know how you have targeted B2B audiences; or, better yet, let’s talk about how we can help you take your success to the next level.