The Best Way to Get B2B Marketing Results – Guaranteed

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B2B Marketing

Time was, if you were a B2B company you had limited options for marketing yourself to potential or current clients. And none of those options gave you meaningful data on who was showing interest or what your actual return on investment was.

Now, if you are up to speed with the digital revolution, all that has changed. But first, let’s look at the traditional routes to market.

Trade Press

If you are a supplier of ingredients to food manufacturers and retailers, finding the Holy Grail used to be epitomised by getting a feature in The Grocer. Of course to get that sort of PR you were blackmailed into the inevitable paid-for full page advertisement: and for guaranteed higher profile featuring you would be persuaded to pay for an ongoing campaign costing many thousands of pounds.

The snag is, how do you know that people are actually watching and taking notice? Where is the data? Sure, you will be presented with figures for circulation but what about active readership – and what about drilling down to individual page views? I don’t think so.

Of course, most trade buyers now consume their data digitally – but with an online edition, who really stops to peruse all the ads? And there’s not really a convincing replacement for the good old coupon response. Some publications try to corral readers down a funnel where they are encouraged to use a dedicated access route to contact the advertiser. But in my experience few wish to go down this path (preferring to check out the advertiser’s site themselves), and the resulting numbers of leads coming through is lamentably small.

Exhibitions

Wherever I go, people tell me that visitor numbers are dropping at the big trade shows. Travel is high-cost and time-consuming, and buyers prefer to search suppliers on the Net at their desks or even on their daily commute. You might get lucky with a big buyer happening to stop at your stand: but it’s what my American friends would call a ‘crap shoot’. Too often you get little return from a week spent tiringly and very expensively in some depressing hall.

Sponsorship

It’s one thing for Red Bull to own a Formula One team and to have a symbiotic relationship between its brand values and the activities it promotes: it’s quite another for a maker of chemicals for energy drinks to sponsor a lower-league football team local to their factory. It might give the boss a warm feeling to entertain clients and be known as a local philanthropist, but it has a relatively limited value, and one that is near-impossible to measure.

The Digital Advertising Alternative

The new ‘big beast’ in B2B marketing may appear tiny in physical terms. It’s the seemingly humble Google Ad. It may only be a line or two of type, sometimes accompanied by a small image, but it is mighty when it comes to actual, tangible results.

I know that there are many people who are still wary about committing their budgets to digital ads, but the fact is – they work. Many of our clients achieve hundreds of thousands and even millions of page views. Yes, you might say, but they will include a lot of irrelevant visits and people who are not in buying mode. True (although we can do plenty to focus your activity more tightly) but it doesn’t actually matter – because it costs you nothing to be seen on the search results page.

And when someone does respond, you pay for that click to your selected landing page. That may only have cost you pennies – but it then gets really interesting because every step of their journey through your site and any subsequent ‘goal completion’ as defined by you – a request for a contact, an enquiry form completion, an interest in becoming a distributor, a view of your explainer video, or a purchase on your trade Shop – all of these positive results and more are measured and can be ascribed a value that you can use to extract an actual ROI.

So based on the fact that you know the lifetime value of a customer, for the first time you can decide on how much it is worth you spending on your advertising, based upon a likely financial return generated by existing and new customers that have come through your online advertising.

You can (and should) try alternative messages and creative wording to see what works best based on matched comparisons. And you will get detailed data on where the visitors are coming from as well as much more demographic data.

Managing your Digital Media

We at Hannon Digital offer a managed service that will take care of all your website and social media marketing needs – and we link the social network responses that are achieved to subsequent clicks on searches. More and more people encounter a business on social media and then go directly to a linked search result.

If you think that your website is generating plenty of leads through organic searches alone, then consider all the new Google changes that mean ads now take up more of the space, and we advise our advertisers to take a two-pronged approach – to dominate your chosen marketplace and impress potential buyers of your importance, make sure you appear on the front page of Google with an ad and an organic search result. You will be surprised how little the ad will cost you – and you will be amazed how easily you will shed the preconceptions that traditional B2B marketing routes are best.

Colm Hannon is founder and Director of Hannon Digital in London