The Right Digital Marketing Mix for B2B Marketers

Blog Post By:Eric Dudley

James Culliton first described the role of the marketing manager in 1948 as a "mixer of ingredients." This idea later became popular in an article by Niel Borden called “The Concept of the Marketing Mix.” Essentially, marketing leaders find their niche recipe by utilizing ingredients made successful by others and developing recipes of their own.

The marketing mix is a broad concept that includes numerous ingredients that seek to attract, acquire and retain a loyal customer base.

Digital media’s rise and constant evolution has reshaped the way we plan, execute and manage marketing activities. Regardless of industry, product or target audience, today’s B2B marketing mixes call for more ingredient diversity. This white paper provides an outline of best practices and key ingredients that facilitate your ability to create a strategic marketing mix that satisfies your desire for growth.

Best Practices for B2B Marketing Leaders

Content Strategy

As consumer behavior continues to shift, we see a larger focus on the web as a primary resource for research, insight and information. This shift drives business-buying decisions more rapidly as years progress. B2B marketing influencers must connect with customers where they spend time online through engaging, relevant content. Product information, expert advice, industry best practices, relevant articles and review ratings are all examples of content that can bond potential leads to your brand. An effective content strategy extends beyond the pages of a corporate website or blog; quality content reflects company activity in relevant social spaces and communication channels, such as email marketing and public relations.

Marketing Automation

By recognizing marketing automation’s potential, marketers can draw more revenue, be better equipped to manage lead flow and prospect interactions and close new business more efficiently.

To maximize marketing automation value, consider these four critical elements:

  • An integrated lead management process
  • A well-planned content strategy
  • Relevant marketing data and target audience profiles and
  • Technology to execute activities, analyze data, and report results

Integration

B2B enterprises have an opportunity to redefine integration across organizational roles, media channels, agency partnerships, marketing technology and messaging. While traditional initiatives continue to influence online activity in terms of search, web traffic and online conversions, traditional sales model silos are becoming less relevant in today’s digital, real-time world. More holistic internal communication practices, external marketing strategies and a greater understanding of the reverberations of one on the other yields improved alignment between sales and marketing teams.

Mixing the right digital ingredients together starts with understanding your unique situation and mapping the right tactics to a strategy that will build long-term success and loyal customers.

Success hinges upon applying the right components to align with three B2B buying process stages: Awareness, Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing.

How to Create the Right Digital Marketing Mix for Your Brand

Awareness

Delivering incremental results starts with awareness. Business executives consistently express the desire for incremental leads and greater marketing ROI (Return on Investment). Too often, their expectations and goals remain unmet due to lack of understanding and budget limits. However, creating brand awareness does not mean measurement and return on investment are avoided. By combining the right ingredients and applying best practices, the right mix for awareness will provide insight and metrics that guide future decisions.

The Awareness Mix

Display Advertising

Totaling 50% of the ideal awareness mix, B2B digital display advertising typically consists of static or animated banners, images and interactive media that sometimes include AV elements. Display advertisers use cookies and browser history to determine demographic interests in order to target individuals with appropriate ads. Behavioral, demographic, geographic and site-based targeting are proven, readily available strategies that fuel heightened brand awareness.

Social Media

Making up roughly 30% of the ideal awareness recipe, social media is a pertinent factor to consider. B2B social media turns communication into interactive dialogue and word-of-mouth sharing among individuals. LinkedIn, blogs, forums, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter initiate awareness early on in a prospect’s buying cycle. Individuals make buying decisions based on information they gain via trusted social sites and peers. Businesses that share educational content and engage themselves in relevant conversations create their own awareness, driving more interested leads to your services.

Search Engine Marketing — Broad Keywords

Search engines play an important role throughout the B2B buying experience, making up the last 20% of the ideal industry awareness mixture. Typically, search engine marketing is viewed as a strategy for capturing existing demand. However, the opportunity to create awareness should not be overlooked. Properly aligning keyword phrases with user intent is critical for reaching users early in the buying process through SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Marketers should identify and target users who search using broad, generic keyword phrases versus more specific, brand name phrases. By achieving visibility for broad phrases, companies have the opportunity to introduce a visitor to their brand, which influences lead generation and nurturing. Brand name phrases that gain visibility increase chances further for higher lead conversions.

Lead Generation

There are numerous lead generation ingredients and best practices available to all B2B organizations - not to mention an endless supply of customers seeking purchase decision-making information. Due to the abundance of resources, we ask ourselves why marketing executives rank lead generation as their top challenge year after year. Is pressure to increase lead quantity and reduce lead generation costs leading to a perpetual cycle of misguided strategies?

Quality lead generation should focus on metrics that reflect on quality and quantity. For instance, considering your CPL (Cost per Lead) is important in your overall marketing goals. However, honing in on what exactly your business should do with it is where quality and strategy matter most.

The Lead Generation Mix

Search Engine Marketing — Paid Search (PPC)

Your B2B customers rely on search engines throughout the buying process to find relevant information and research potential solutions. Paid search advertising provides testing and control over keyword effectiveness, messaging, geographic targeting and a user’s first impression beyond the initial click. While research suggests organic results garner more engagement, an SEO strategy often requires a long-term investment of time, resources and budget.

Many marketers are expected to justify future initiatives by demonstrating short-term results. Paid search has proven to be an effective tactic that gains immediate search engine visibility while simultaneously intercepting relevant,targeted visitors who are actively engaged in the buying process.

Display Advertising — Retargeting

Retargeting is a form of display advertising that delivers a specific message to website visitors who leave without converting. How does it work? When visitors leave your site and continue Internet browsing, your ads display on other sites they visit. This keeps your company on a front burner while the individual surfs the web. These ads can display the exact product, white paper or case study they were viewing while on your site. These subtle ad reminders provide a vehicle to bring visitors back to your site, often resulting in higher conversion rates.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the creation and sharing of information that answer prospective buyer questions. Effective forms of B2B content include articles, videos, blog posts, case studies and white papers. Deploying the right content at the right time throughout the buying cycle is critical for converting prospects into loyal customers. Successful content strategies require marketers to think more like publishers. Aside from customer research, creating editorial calendars keep company content consistent and relevant. As part of the lead generation mix, compelling content fuels engagement from an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and display advertising standpoint.

The Lead Nurturing Mix

Social Media

Social media marketing extends the concept of one-to-one communication by allowing prospects to control how they consume and share your content. Nurturing leads through social media requires your content to be consistently educational and shared regularly. . Social media is not the platform for “closing the deal.” Rather, when performed correctly, social media will build trust among prospects and create a customer community that relies on your business for advice. B2B marketers who follow best practices will be able to convert social media connections into profitable business conversations.

Email Marketing

Today, B2B lead nurturing via email marketing is much more than “batch-and-blast” campaigns. For effective customer engagement, one on one email campaigns need to embody three facets: preferences, segmentation and automation. With these three steps in place, your business can boost customer retention and sales revenue. Let’s examine each facet closer to see the direct :

Preferences

Identifying and fine-tuning prospect preferences are key for loyal customer development. By asking the following three questions, B2B organizations can improve email communication with potential clients: :

  1. How often would you like to receive communications from us?
  2. Which types of communication would you like to receive? (i.e. email, direct mail, text messages, etc.)
  3. What are your primary interests? (Offer multiple checkboxes that apply to your products or services.)

Segmentation

Segmentation divides email opt-in lists into various categories (or segments). Afterward, specifically written content is sent to one or more of the targeted segment lists for each group’s filtered interests. According to Marketing Sherpa, segmented campaigns produce at least 30% more opens and 50% higher CTR (Click Through Rate) when compared to undifferentiated messages.

Automation

Email automation supports lead nurturing by sending relevant messages based on certain online subscriber actions or triggers.. Automating immediate follow-ups to confirm an email subscription or download is a perfect opportunity to request further information and define future communication preferences.

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