A long time ago, marketers reached their target audience through basic tactics – such as cold calling, television or radio – and were left with nothing more than the hope that these messages were actually heard. The entire marketing system was, to a degree, flawed. For this reason, many businesses have integrated digital strategies which have opened the door to one-on-one customer engagement and more accurate measurements of marketing efforts.
However, with that said, the majority of B2B marketers don’t appear to share the same sentiment when it comes to ‘digital marketing’. For some reason, these marketers believe that their target audience aren’t using things such as ‘social media’ and their products or services are just too niche for digital to actually work. These speculations are entirely unfounded and it’s proven when you look at B2B marketers that have already moved away from traditional media and embraced elements of digital.
The rise of digital within B2B markets
The CEB Marketing Leadership Council conducted a survey of over 1500 customers – which are decision makers in business purchases – for 22 large B2B organizations. The findings showed the average customer made more than 50% of their purchase decision after online research, before even speaking to a sales representative.
What this implies is that companies which aren’t making themselves visible on digital platforms are at risk of falling behind the competitors and, as a result, losing potential business. There are a few B2B marketers who are unwilling to take this risk. The same report showed that many of the largest B2B organizations were investing more than 50% of total marketing budget on digital. Most are within the experimental phase and held back by negative perception of digital media within the actual organization, but it still shows progress.
B2B marketers tip-toeing into digital marketing
If you’re considering digital marketing, there are a few tips to get you started based on what other B2B marketers are already doing. And they are:
- Submit to the search engine gods:
‘Old timers’ using digital as a marketing strategy are already familiar with the power of the search engine. What the search engine rankings say to the customer is: This is relevant and important. A study conducted by Marketo showed that 93% of B2B buyers were using search engines to begin their buying process. Why is SEO so important? Because it allows marketers to reach their customers the moment that they’re looking. In other words, it’s a sales pitch meets interested customer.
- Content is king:
What is it about content marketing that has marketers so excited? It allows for effective storytelling. B2B marketers which are not making use of digital have to rely on referrals. However, by showcasing your expertise through blogs or video’s – preferably both – you’re engaging with your customers and telling them yourselves why they should choose you. Tying in with SEO, if your customers are looking for products or services which you offer, you can develop stories around these topics and have these customers come to you.
- Embrace social media
Social media is one of the biggest influences in the digital marketing sphere as it allows for real-time customer interaction. Earlier this year, Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst for social media at eMarketer Inc said that 68%of companies which were selling products or services to other businesses were getting involved in social media marketing.