Times have changed since the old message in a bottle trick. We no longer have to wait for someone, somewhere to find our message washed up on a beach to find us. Tools like search engines and social media are continuously changing how B2B channel marketing is used to deliver your content to your desired customers. To avoid the old throwing messaging at a wall and wasting resources seeing what sticks – we should take a step back and assess:
B2B channel marketing is about meeting the consumer where they are to deliver relevant content to the customer at the right point in their buying journey. Understanding your brand, product or service’s message – and communicating it well – is simply paramount. Once you have nailed how to communicate your offering, being able to structure your content to be customer-centric and solve their problems can drive better lead acquisition, engagement, education and nurturing.
Avoid wasting your time and money by stretching yourself too thin across every possible channel, which might not actually reach your target audience. Instead, find out who your target B2B audiences are and investigate what platforms they use to meet them where they are.
So then, how do you develop a strategy that utilises the most effective channels for your business?
What do you want to achieve with your marketing? Maybe you want to see an increase in sales (the dream!) or to have heightened awareness for your brand or more signups to your newsletter. Whatever your goals (short AND long term), getting clear on them sets the foundation for your marketing strategy.
Each marketing channel works differently, and some are better at achieving certain goals than others. For instance, social media can be a great way to strengthen relationships with your existing customers, while a billboard, on the other hand, might help increase awareness by getting your brand in front of lots of eyeballs. Knowing your goals means you can pick the marketing channels that will benefit your business the most.
2. Know where your customers hang out
If you sell life insurance, you wouldn’t waste resources advertising on a predominantly young platform like TikTok just to gain awareness. Instead, think about your ideal customer. What kind of media do they consume? What magazines? What events do they attend? What websites or apps do they frequently visit and what words are they searching on Google? Who do they go to for business advice?
The key to remember is that your business is not the only company trying to attract your ideal customers and not all marketing channels will be right for your business. To help break through the clutter that your customers are being bombarded with daily, know exactly where and when to communicate with them (this can be broken down further into ideal times of the day and days of the week).
Sure certain channels are cheaper to advertise on, but if you’re advertising based on cost over where your audiences can be targeted, then your message is wasted. Want to talk to B2B decision makers? Odds are they will be on LinkedIn networking and consuming thought leadership pieces. Does your persona research indicate that they avoid social media and prefer getting their knowledge from industry magazines?
3. Talk to your consumers throughout their journey
We communicate to our target market when they’re at the beginning of the funnel for obvious reasons; we want to do a little dance, speak to their problems/needs and encourage them to move to the next phase of the purchasing journey. But what many businesses fail to do is nurture these same consumers once they’ve converted.
If you go on a date with someone and you had a great time and then radio silence, you end up feeling a little deflated and forgotten. This is also true for the customer relationship. If you choose to advertise on only one marketing channel – make sure it’s a channel that allows you to attract and nurture your customers both pre and post-sale. Just because your target audience likes to be outdoors, doesn’t mean skywriting is a sound investment. Target, nurture and retarget to develop a more meaningful relationship with them and encourage brand loyalty. Social media and marketing automation platforms like Marketo are great tools to help nurture your customers who have interacted with your brand’s content.
4. Scope out the competition
Unsure how to find out what channels your target audience uses? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look to your key competitors and note which marketing channels they use and use that to inform your brand’s strategy. Your competitors’ use of a marketing channel often confirms that a channel is likely to be effective for your business and lets you grab some share of voice on each channel.
5. Measure and Optimise.
Now you’ve stepped into the shoes of your ideal customer and figured out what channels they look to for their information, and worked out what messaging to speak to them with, you probably have a pretty good idea what channels will be the most effective and efficient channels for your business. Your job is done and you can kick your feet up and relax right? Wrong! Marketing isn’t set and forget. It needs to be constantly tested, optimised and updated to stay relevant and ensure the best results are achieved.
“There’s an inherent danger in letting people think that they have perfected something. When they believe they’ve ‘nailed it,’ most people tend to sit back and rest on their laurels while countless others will be labouring furiously to better their work!”
Many channels have analytic tools to measure how your content is performing. If your metrics aren’t quite hitting your goals, adjust your strategy and make sure your content is solving a customer’s problem at the right time and in the right place.