With traditional B2B marketing strategies continuing to evolve, there are five your company needs to start implementing right now.
Below you’ll learn more about these strategies, building a marketing plan, and more.
- Traditional B2B Marketing Strategy
- The B2B Marketing Essentials
- Outbound Marketing
- Inbound Marketing
- Account-Based Marketing
- Employee Marketing
- Conversational Marketing
Traditional B2B Marketing Strategy
Over the years, digital marketing has shifted to quite a few strategy variations and unique tactics. Mostly due to the evolution of the internet and the way people consume information today.
And while traditional marketing is still a common practice among certain brands, the digital age has completely revolutionized and caused marketing to evolve, especially for B2B companies.
With B2B marketing strategies, your company needs to be focused on multiple demand generation and lead generation tactics while, simultaneously keeping an eye on new trends and strategies.
It seems like every year, some new strategy or a different variation of marketing pops-up.
It can get a little complicated for B2B marketers because there are so many strategies, how are you to know which are best to implement?
Most of the time it comes down to testing, being patient, and taking what has worked from your testing to the next level.
However, out of all the B2B marketing strategies out there, five of them are essential for all marketing departments to implement.
No one strategy should be the main focus (at first), as each of these contributes to the increase of your leads, lead quality, and overall revenue.
It’s also worth to note, that these are the high-level marketing strategies your company needs to focus on.
Under each section, there are branches of tactics as well, but what you ultimately choose to implement under each section is based on your resources, budgets, etc.
The B2B Marketing Essentials
Before you jump into the more in-depth strategies below, it’s important you set yourself, your team, and company up for success.
Here are the necessary items all B2B marketing strategies will need first. Think of this has items as part of your marketing planning so that you are prepared ahead of starting a new strategy.
- Research (industry, customers, buyer personas)
- Strong website that attracts, builds engagement, drives sales
- Focus on search engine optimization
- Master social media (company profiles and employee training)
- Marketing automation and CRM
- Analytics and reporting process
- Testing and optimization plan
These above areas will offer valuable marketing insights as you put strategies in place.
It will help you determine results, how things are working, and ensure as they strategies attract potential buyers that you are able to give them the best experience with your brand.
Ready to dive in further now? Below are the top five B2B marketing strategies that your company needs to be sure it is implementing together and takes priority.
Yes, yes, I have to include this one.
As a marketer, I’m sure you are familiar with outbound marketing and it is still somewhat a relevant strategy for B2B companies to still practice.
You might also think of outbound marketing as traditional, but it’s sort of the modern name for it now.
If you need a quick refresher, outbound marketing is a traditional method where a company initiates the conversation by sending its message out to an audience to build brand awareness.
This form of marketing and advertising would include TV commercials, radio ads, print advertisements (newspaper ads, magazine ads, flyers, brochures, etc.), tradeshows, cold call prospects, and even cold emailing.
The challenges with outbound?
It’s a saturated strategy and sometimes is less effective because people are bombarded with these marketing tactics and messages daily.
Additionally, it can get expensive. But like anything else, it also keeps your brand in front of people and in their minds.
However, I still have included it this B2B marketing strategy list. Why?
Well, one potentially great way to market your brand is to attend or sponsor events.
And while you will need to budget and find which events your potential buyers are going to, these are still a great way for your brand to be seen and a great way to showcase your products or services to others.
Now that we got outbound out of the way, it’s time to talk about inbound marketing. I’m sure as someone in marketing, this term has been hammered into your brain over the last couple of years.
Yet, it’s still an effective B2B marketing strategy and one that digital marketers are practicing every workday.
Inbound marketing is focused on attracting potential customers through relevant and useful content and adding value at every stage in the buying journey.
Now, potential customers find you through channels like your company blog, other blogs (if you are guest blogging), search engines, and social media.
It’s also the complete opposite of outbound.
Instead of waving your brand around and hoping potential customers see you and pay attention to you, now you are creating content that addresses the challenges and needs of your potential buyers.
This form of marketing really skyrocketed thanks to HubSpot, who is the main player of the inbound methodology.
Inbound has been a widely accepted strategy and even if you do not have an official version in place or if you even call it “inbound,” you are definitely still practicing this strategy in some way.
Some have even said inbound marketing is dead, and while it does take time, resources, and patience to gain results, it’s still an effective piece of your company’s overall B2B marketing.
Yet, it’s also why this should be a complementary strategy to the others listed in this blog post.
Primarily focusing on inbound only–when it is a long-game strategy and takes resources that you might not have—can disappoint you if you’re looking for more immediate results.
The concept of employee marketing might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many companies in the B2B space neglect the power of their workforce.
Employee marketing consists of creating a team of engaged employees who don’t just show up for their paychecks, but who come to work ready to promote the business and help it achieve the goals your company has outlined.
Obviously, you need a great company culture and to ensure your product/services are solid, otherwise, why would employees care?
Employees should be encouraged to be brand ambassadors, who can help spread the word about their business to friends, family members, and colleagues.
Your co-workers and colleagues might share content on social media, blog about it, and refer new potential employees. They act as an extension of your marketing team to elevate your brand messages and content.
Employee marketing can also be identified as internal marketing or employee advocacy, each are pretty interchangeable terms/strategy names.
There, of course, have been concerns with getting employees active online on behalf of the company. But with proper policies, guidelines, and not requiring employees to get involved, your marketing can quickly scale.
So why should employees be active in online marketing?
- 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions (Source)
- Content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Source)
- Brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees vs a brand (Source)
- 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing. (Source)
Interested in activating employees in your marketing strategy and boosting brand visibility organically? Here 6 ways to get all employees active in social media marketing.
This is another B2B marketing strategy you probably have been hearing a lot about in the last few years or so and is growing in popularity just like inbound marketing did prior.
Yet, for B2B marketing strategies, account-based marketing or “ABM” (as it is typically abbreviated) has become essential and complements your inbound and outbound strategies.
Account-Based Marketing is about marketing to specifically identified companies, or sometimes to the individual at a targeted company, with a personalized message/content.
The idea is that the more targeted the effort the better the results will be.
Instead of putting content out there and hoping to attract the right accounts, now you are targeting those accounts directly that content/ads/emails are tailored towards specifically.
Advertising platforms for example (LinkedIn, Terminus) let you get blog posts or ads in front of these accounts directly.
Or marketing and sales can interact and build relationships with key players sharing the personal content through social, email, and much more.
- Almost 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach (Source)
- Individual customer stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t (Source)
This strategy has honestly become a core part of B2B marketing and over the next years will become a standard operation for marketing teams.
One of the biggest needs in B2B marketing strategies is for more personalization and human-to-human interactions.
If you read that out loud, of course, more human interaction would yield better results, but it’s not as common of a practice (yet).
No longer are robotic-sounding marketing emails or drip campaigns working like they used to, the market is just saturated with the same things.
This is not to say you should stop all marketing emails or drips, but pairing these tactics with conversational marketing will be key to boosting results.
So what is conversational marketing?
It is the process of having real-time, one-to-one conversations in order to capture, qualify, and connect with your most qualified leads.
This can be via personal chat, face-to-face meeting, a phone call, or an email exchange. But it also includes actively listening to your customers and potential customer’s needs.
By being flexible and willing to incorporate feedback into your marketing strategy and communicating with the customer on a one-to-one basis, it can help to distinguish your company’s brand.
And it also encourages potential customers to engage more with your product or service.
Conversational marketing uses very targeted messaging with social media and intelligent chatbots instead of just standard gated lead forms — that way leads can engage with your business when it’s convenient for them (which typically is right at that moment they are engaging on your company website).
This is one marketing strategy that is continuing to grow, but you will see more adoption in the year(s) to come.
There you have it, five B2B marketing strategies that your company needs to implement right now, simultaneously.
It seems like a lot and can take up a bit of time and resources, but it is possible for small digital marketing teams to implement all the above (and effectively). It’s also essential that you are combining all these marketing strategies together because the power of combination will help take your marketing results to the next level.
Of course, you also may see one strategy working better than others (which is normal) and that is the one where you’ll want to put more time and energy into. Just remember to not neglect the others as well.
Which B2B marketing strategies have you implemented and are seeing results? Are you combining and focusing on more than one strategy (hint: you should be ????)?