Guide to Digital Marketing for Business-To-Business (B2B)!

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1 o2markit consulting ltd Guide to Digital Marketing for Business-To-Business (B2B) A brief guide aimed at small business or start-up executives who are not Marketing professionals but who need to understand the basic concepts behind digital marketing. There is a bewildering array of sources for detailed advice and guidance on using digital mechanisms to further sales and marketing strategies in Business-To-Business companies. However, most assume an initial level of understanding that many non-marketing professionals do not possess. This guide includes a 1 page very high level executive summary that can be used as a simple crib sheet plus some slightly more detailed commentary that I hope you find helpful. Mark Kusionowicz Founder & Director Go2Markit Consulting Ltd May of 8

2 Executive Guide to Digital Marketing 2 of 8

3 What do we mean by Digital Marketing? Digital Marketing means the use of online tools and channels for marketing. In the Business-To-Business (B2B) world this usually includes marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO - getting a website to feature high up search rankings such as with Google), search engine marketing (SEM - the use of paid for search advertising such as Google Adwords and LinkedIn ads), online display advertising and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, Google+). You will not want to use just one of these techniques in isolation but rather use them in combination to get best effect. You will also need to identify which mechanisms to prioritise based on your understanding of your target audiences and their preferences (see below). One of the major benefits of digital marketing when compared to more traditional marketing methods is the greater capability to engage in two-way communication with a target audience and then to measure the responses in order to understand Return on Investment. What are Inbound and Outbound Marketing? Outbound Marketing is the use of methods to try and make contact with prospects (telemarketing, , direct mail, tradeshows). Inbound Marketing is where you create the awareness and desire for prospects to make contact with you (PR, SEO, SEM, social media). In today s B2B world buyers carry out as much as 60-70% of the buying process before even speaking to a supplier so inbound marketing is becoming the most critical factor in a marketing strategy. However, this does not mean outbound marketing should be ignored - in the digital environment marketing is still often the most successful lead generation technique. Key to a successful inbound marketing strategy is Content - see below. Before you Start Go2Markit Consulting describes the B2B marketing cycle in 3 phases, Understand - Build - Engage. Although your Digital Marketing strategy is mainly about the Engage with the market section of the cycle you need to have carried out the Understand the market and Build for the market phases before you start. As with all forms of marketing you cannot hope to have any sort of success without clarifying what you are trying to achieve, who you are selling to, what they are buying and how they make their purchasing decisions. Engage with the market Deliver target revenue, profit & market share; Inbound & outbound marketing; Demand generation, lead management; Communications, content marketing; Sales alignment & enablement. Understand the market B2B marketing cycle Go2Markit Consulting Ltd Build the product, solution & services; Value propositions & messaging; Delivery, pricing & commercials; Solution requirements collection & prioritisation, roadmap planning. Define market needs, opportunities, competition; Create strategy target market segmentation, buyer/user personas, go-tomarket strategy; Build business case. Build for the market 3 of 8

4 1. Agree on your Objectives The reason for your digital marketing activities will dictate where you should focus and spend most of your time and resources. Your objectives can probably be summarised as either creation of market awareness for your company and your products or services or creation of sales leads for your companies products or services. These objectives are not mutually exclusive, but you must be clear about which is your top priority as that will direct your efforts. Obviously to be true objectives they also need to have real measures of success associated with them so that you know when you have achieved them 2. Make sure you can Measure Results You will need to put in place the requisite analytical tools, processes and procedures that can measure not only your marketing activity (for example, number of posts, blogs, s sent) but more importantly determine the level of engagement of your target audience (such as views, likes, comments, responses, downloads) and track business results (qualified leads, conversions to proposals and orders). Luckily enough digital tools are readily available to help with this and it is far better initiated before you start activity so that you can accurately determine the impact of your marketing campaigns. 3. Decide on your Target Market Despite your understandable view that everyone is bound to want to buy your new offering it will actually be more attractive to some businesses than to others. Your best strategy is to initially focus your activities where that attraction is strongest. This will be as a result of a combination of factors such as industry, size, geography, external influences/regulations, competition. The closer you can define your target market segment the more compelling you can make your messaging, the more realistic your business targets and more successful your sales activities. 4. Describe your Typical Buyer As with understanding your target market, the more defined your knowledge of who you are selling to and why they are buying, the more successful your messaging, sales and marketing activities will be. You need to understand about them as individuals (hence the term buyer persona and the advice to actually give the persona a name) so demographic information is a start. However demographic information is the same for whatever buying decisions they are making so you also need to identify specific factors that connect them to your product or service - what is their pain that you are addressing, what is the trigger that makes them consider you, what criteria influence their decision, what would success look like to them, and what perceived barriers are there to your solution. 4 of 8

5 5. Define the Buyer Journey In the old days companies talked about a sales cycle that described the steps a salesperson went through from making contact with a prospect to the sale. The modern B2B world has turned that around and now the buyer is in control - there will be a set of steps a buyer goes through from recognition of a pain or need to be addressed through to purchase and advocacy. Typically they will not involve a selling company directly until they are well along that buying journey so it essential that your digital marketing activities enable them to be aware of your propositions before they contact you and find it easy to get you when they need to. This means you have to understand this buyer journey and the buyers need for information at each step so that you can target your digital activities to deliver that. 6. Understand your Value Proposition It is not enough for you to describe your product or service - your prospects needs to be clearly told what specific value it delivers to them and why it is better than any other way of achieving the same end. This messaging will vary depending on the target market you have selected and the buyer personas you have identified. You have to be able to make clear that you deliver everything that is important to the buyer and is delivered by your competition, but, more importantly, identify the elements of your offering that are important to the prospect, unique to your proposition and provable/ defensible - this is your competitive differentiation. In the B2B world it is very much more likely that a successful Value Proposition will target the removal of a pain rather than just the receipt of a gain. 7. Create a Content Strategy Inbound and digital marketing activities rely on a supply of quality content that is of high value to the target audience - providing insight and information not available elsewhere. This will drive credibility, thought leadership and leads. You need a content plan that is targeted to your selected market, will influence each stage of the buyer journey and has the aim of attracting and retaining an audience with the ultimate goal of driving profitable customer action. You will probably use a multiple set of media types - video, webinars, papers/ebooks, infographics, slideshow. You should plan a programme to include a mix of a few cornerstone pieces (reusable major research/reports - commissioned/expert authorship), a schedule of regular blogs on relevant opinions/topics and frequent Twitter/LinkedIn posts. Website You will require somewhere to direct prospects that have become aware of your company and want to discover more or wish to contact you directly - in the B2B world this is usually a website. 5 of 8

6 With the advent of tools such as WordPress this does not have to be a very expensive task requiring armies of dedicated programmers. But, whether you outsource the creation to a web design company or do it yourself, you need to create it with your buyer in mind. This means answering questions like if I was deciding whether to buy my solution what do I definitely need to see?, what is the call to action as a result of a visit to my website? and how do I measure and engage with visitors? rather than using it as a dumping ground for a whole lot of irrelevant stuff. To make sure your site attracts visitors you can employ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) techniques - see below. Marketing If your prime objective is lead generation, it may be surprising to learn that marketing is still considered the most effective mechanism in the B2B digital armoury. There are many marking tools available and often at low or no cost. However, there are some critical success factors - the quality of your opt-in list (don't just buy in 000 s of addresses as this is likely to get you blacklisted for spamming and will not return high numbers of leads - it is far better to build your own through direct and social engagement); the value of your content; the design of your s (especially the subject line) and the call to action. You do need to understand the legalities around marketing, create a plan and employ A/B testing techniques so it may be best to seek initial advice and help for a major campaign, but there is nothing stopping you starting with a few personalised s to targeted individuals in your contact file - this personal touch often has a high success rate. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Whether your objective is awareness or lead generation, you want target audiences to find your site. SEO is the process that allows your website to achieve and retain a high ranking position in Search Engines, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. SEO helps the Search Engines recognise how relevant your site is to specific keywords that people search for online. The process starts with keyword research to identify what keywords to focus on, and there are tools available to help with this. You then need to create content that is suitable to being found using those keywords. Google and the others use ever-changing complex algorithms to rate sites and take into account content, popularity (e.g. back-links) and other factors - but more importantly will penalise sites that try and trick the system. For that reason the simplest approach is to write compelling, understandable content first with target keywords in mind, use tools such as those available with WordPress and then, if you wish to refine your ranking, use outsourced SEO services from experts who keep up with latest best practice. 6 of 8

7 Search Engine Marketing (SEM) The alternative, or in addition, to native SEO is pay-per-click advertising such as Google Adwords where you effectively pay for a keyword search to put your site at the top of the page of search results. The cost of this will depend on the popularity of the keywords you pay for. The process is essentially similar to SEO in that you start with keyword research and production of suitable content first. You do need to be aware that many users may tend to be suspicious of the paid results and more likely to click on the native results, but you have to balance this with the impact of being on the first page that means a far higher likelihood of being seen. As such it can be helpful to start with SEM while building a stronger native SEO rating in parallel. Online Display Advertising Display advertising is another paid way to promote your company and proposition online. However, just like its close cousin in the printed world, you need to be sure that you are placing your adverts where your target audience will see them and, more importantly in the online world, you must have a call to action - somewhere for the reader to click through to and a reason for them to do it. Again, this usually means content of great value or a compelling offer. As with SEM, you may find users ignore more adverts and banners than actually notice them, and in extreme cases may find them irritating. You might find it most useful to combine display advertising with Social Marketing in order to enhance the impact of your content on these networks. Social Marketing Social networks are used to share content, engage with audiences and build relationships - these include LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook and Google+. In addition you will find sites where you can hold and share your content, such as Youtube, SlideShare, Vimeo and Pinterest. The tactics you employ in Social Marketing include blogging, commenting, bookmarking, podcasting, sharing. Key to the success of Social Marketing is having something valuable to say - content again Equally it is vital that you do not just broadcast - the overwhelming benefit of social networks is the building of credibility, relationships and engagement such that when a prospect decides to buy something they immediately look to you. This is a two-way process - you should probably spend more time sharing valuable content from others and commenting on theirs than on publishing your own. For B2B marketing LinkedIn is the prime social network with much higher visitor to lead conversion rates and revenue generation results. B2B marketers currently view Twitter as the better awareness generator, but with LinkedIn evolving from just a contact network to a 7 of 8

8 content publishing platform this may well also change. You should definitely have a LinkedIn strategy to include a company page, active participation in interest groups and blog/post publication - you can augment this with a Twitter activity stream. About Go2Markit Consulting Limited Whether you are a startup company needing help to develop your marketing strategy but without the resources to recruit a seasoned Marketing Director; an established company with an overloaded marketing team that cannot get everything done; or anyone with a dysfunctional sales and marketing family that wants to create an integrated revenue generation machine we can help. Go2Markit Consulting Limited was founded by Mark Kusionowicz to provide clients with the benefits of an extensive experience gained from leading Business to Business Marketing (B2B Marketing) for technology companies ranging from the largest, such as IBM and BMC, down to VC funded startups. Go2Markit Consulting Limited is Registered in England & Wales, Registration Number Terms & Conditions You may freely copy and print this document for internal use. You may also excerpt material from this document, provided that you add the following notice: Copyright Go2Markit Consulting Ltd. Used with the permission of the copyright holder Additional reproduction of this publication in any format without written permission is forbidden. For information on allowed usage While the information in this report is based on best available resources, Go2Markit Consulting Ltd disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Go2Markit Consulting Ltd shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. Opinions reflect judgement at the time and are subject to change. All trademarks appearing in this report are trademarks of their respective owners. 8 of 8

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