A B2B marketing strategy without a digital component is like a morning without coffee: incomplete and a bit bland. And, just as a delicious cup of Joe can put a pep in your step for the rest of the day, a creative, thoughtful digital strategy can give your marketing efforts – and your entire brand – that extra “oomph” to help you stand out against competitors. But too often, we see B2B companies think of digital as a low priority “nice-to-have,” as separate from the rest of their marketing efforts, or the worst yet – not at all.
Social media, display and PPC advertising, and other forms of digital marketing are no-brainers for B2C brands, but consumer audiences aren’t the only ones glued to their devices. Professionals from across industries spend their time online, both for work and for leisure. And the benefits B2B companies can get out of digital marketing go beyond digital channels themselves. Integrating digital strategies strengthens every other activity in the B2B marketing mix, from public relations and events to content and thought leadership. While goals of individual marketing tactics can vary, they should all work together to present a united marketing “front.”
Here are four reasons why an integrated digital strategy is essential to your brand’s success.
1. Digital Strategies Scale to Meet Your Needs
A common myth about digital marketing is that you have to invest a lot of cash up front before kicking off any tactical initiatives. But the truth is, digital is scalable.
Start with a digital strategy that ladders up to larger business and marketing goals. For instance, if one of your goals is to increase brand awareness, running ads with Google Display Network or on social media is a good place to start because you can earn a large sum of impressions while keeping costs low. Conversely, if your goal is to generate conversions and retarget, email and paid search will do the trick, as these mid- to low-funnel methods allow marketers to speak to users who have previously interacted with their brand.
At the end of the day, no one digital initiative should be the pillar of your entire online presence. Explore and implement platforms and channels that make the most sense for what you’re trying to accomplish, and then iterate as needed. The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, providing B2B brands plenty of opportunities for experimentation. And while B2B has a reputation of sticking to what’s familiar, just remember: If your competitors are slow to adopt new ways of online marketing (and you’re not), that bodes well for your brand. You gain the competitive advantage – and a massive opportunity to lead the conversation.
Don’t be afraid to invest and test, especially in unsaturated markets.
2. Digital Amplifies Your Audience Reach
The power digital has with audience reach cannot be overstated – it’s an amplifying powerhouse. There are nearly 4 billion social media users across the globe (more than half the world’s population), and the average person sees up to 10,000 ads every single day. This creates huge potential for reaching your priority audiences.
Incorporating digital can bolster every aspect of your marketing efforts. Whether you’re writing a blog, sharing a press release, or sponsoring an event, digital extends the reach of your message to garner awareness, interest, and conversions. Digital platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google offer extremely detailed audience targeting for their ads, which allows companies to reach key demographics in a cost-effective and measurable way. Additionally, experimental targeting, such as testing a campaign on Instagram Reels, A/B testing new brand imagery, or targeting competitors’ social media followers, provides opportunities to glean insights into untapped markets.
3. Digital Helps You Track & Measure ROI
For B2B marketers, tracking ROI is especially tricky because the impact of some initiatives, like media relations and speaking opportunities, can be difficult to quantify. But digital campaigns are one place where measurement is crystal clear.
Tools like Pixels (snippets of code placed on webpages that track user behavior), UTM tracking (a string of code attached to the end of a URL), and Google Analytics offer a wealth of data and insight to marketers that make it easier to efficiently track leads and conversions. After establishing with your team which KPIs to track in a given campaign, you’ll be able to set more data-driven benchmarks and goals. From there, you can continuously optimize your campaign tactics to reach them while reporting successes up the ladder.
Having 24/7 access to key metrics and custom dashboards means continuous insight into what makes your targeted audiences tick (or click). This information can help you make decisions that save time, money, and resources while serving audiences the content they care about most. The knowledge you gain here can be applied to your larger integrated strategy to help all but guarantee a positive return on your investment.
4. Digital Allows You to Listen & React in Real-Time
Online chatter is constant. Social media is where trending topics are born, debated, and go viral. It’s also where customers go to both complain about or compliment products and services. You can’t take part in the conversation if you’re listening from the sidelines (or not listening at all).
One of the biggest advantages of social media is the ability to watch as conversations unfold in real time. That’s why it’s crucial to set up social listening dashboards. Let’s say someone asks a question about your brand. If you’ve set up your dashboard strategically, you’ll be notified immediately and can answer that customer’s inquiry ASAP. In today’s fast-paced, instant-gratification world, the ability to help your customers out in real, or near-real time, can make or break your brand.
Whether you’re responding to a reporter who asked about a certain statistic or getting ahead of a communications crisis, swift and direct engagement with customers and stakeholders is critical.
Creating A Cohesive Brand Experience with Digital Marketing
With the B2B sales model going digital due to COVID-19 (and showing no signs of shifting back), it’s critical for B2B marketing teams to fully embrace opportunities across digital channels – and make them a priority. The goal of integrated marketing is to create a unified and seamless experience for customers. Aligning your digital strategy with your other communications initiatives ensures your marketing channels work in tandem to present a consistent message. For more insight on how to better align your PR and social media strategies, and encourage cross-team collaboration, check out Cision’s recent Take 5 Live session featuring INKer Traci Mazurek.