As the B2B marketplace becomes more digital, B2B online marketing strategies must evolve with it.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the major trends that are impacting the B2B marketing landscape, from shifting demographics to changing digital habits.
Here are 5 online marketing strategies that will help you survive in a quickly evolving digital landscape.
1. Mobile Should Be First…Even for a B2B Marketing Strategy
Not too long ago, Think With Google revealed some research that showed the changing face of the digital marketing landscape.
Insights from this research demonstrated that B2B researchers aren’t fitting some of the stereotypes they’ve been saddled with.
One stereotype is that B2B researchers spend much of their time doing research from desks.
But Think With Google found that 42% of B2B researcher use mobile devices during the research path and 49% of those used mobile devices while still at work to perform research. And mobile purchase rates have climbed 22% in the past 2 years.
According to Google’s research, B2B researchers using smartphones throughout the path to purchase has increased 91% over the past two years.
Given the clear trend towards mobile, it should be clear to any marketer that mobile should take priority…even for B2B marketing strategies.
2. B2B Marketers Should Invest in Video
Trend after trend has pointed to video as the next big thing in both marketing and advertising. There are a number of shifts taking place in the B2B landscape, from the demographics of B2B decision-makers to their media consumption habits.
As technology catches up to consumer demand, we’re seeing an explosive growth of online video, even in the B2B world.
According to US YouTube data, over 895,000 hours of top B2B brand videos were watched in 2014. And nearly half of those researchers were watching in-depth videos that lasted 30 minutes or more. Almost 20% of those B2B researchers would watch B2B video that lasted an hour or more.
After watching these videos, most B2B researchers continued their evaluation process, by speaking with colleagues about the content, searched for more information, visited brand websites, and so on.
Whether you decide to invest in short video ads or extended video content, B2B video should be one of your top online marketing strategies in 2015 and the years to come.
3. Your B2B Audience Is Getting Younger…So Adapt to Their Needs
In 2014, 46% of B2B buyers were aged 18-34, up from 27% in 2012.
This means that nearly half of the B2B buyer demographic is composed of digital natives. Any B2B online marketing strategy needs to take their needs into consideration and adapt accordingly. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Developing cutting edge marketing campaigns that are centered around digital platforms
- Creating campaigns that are optimized for this mobile-friendly, video-hungry audience
- B2B marketing campaigns should focus on the needs and considerations of a buying audience that is younger and more at-home in the digital environment
- Targeted, personalized B2B messages and top-quality user experiences are key to success
4. Your B2B Audience Isn’t Just the Top-Level Executive Any More
Traditionally, the highest-level executives were the ones making all the purchase decisions in a B2B environment. And while that still holds true in the majority of cases, the balance of purchasing power is shifting.
Today, almost a quarter of non-C-suite employees have the ability to make B2B purchase decisions on their own. On top of that, over 80% of non-executives have become major influencers in the purchase process.
The implications are clear for any B2B online marketing strategy: discover the decision-makers and target your campaigns appropriately. Senior-level executives are only part of the communication chain and decision-making process, so marketing communications should be expanded to accommodate non-C-suite employees as needed.
5. Most B2B Research Happens Before Customers Reach You, So Create a Full Content Funnel
The majority of B2B purchasers don’t contact suppliers until they have already completed 57% of the purchase process. In other words, up until that point, buyers, researchers, and decision-makers are:
- Developing opinions
- Learning about your products and your competitors’ products
- Narrowing down their options
- Building requirements lists
- Educating themselves about their needs and potential solutions
This self-directed research process is occurring thanks to the digital environment we now live in.
It’s up to marketers to develop content that educates, informs, and persuades – rather than just waiting for customers to come to your doorstep.
Ineffective content marketing hinders the B2B researcher – your customer – which will only hurt sales and make it that much more difficult for them to understand the value of your solution.
Effective content marketers will use the aforementioned digital strategies to communicate to younger buyers across the communication chain. A complete, effective B2B content marketing strategy will include education and information that accounts for all possible questions, problems, and challenges that the B2B researcher will need addressed.
Regardless of your specific industry, these B2B online marketing strategies will help you adapt to the needs of the changing B2B landscape. The right mix of media, the right targeting, and the right content will help you meet the needs of your customers…and your bottom line will show the results.