B2B or B2C: Digital Advertising Doesn’t Care

What You Can Do to Make the Most of Your Digital Advertising

As the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Bear Group, I’m tasked with growing the company. While there’s a lot that goes into that, it ultimately means one thing: new leads. Not just any leads though, qualified leads, which means bigger and better leads over time.

As a small to mid-size business to business (B2B) brand, there are a lot of options for incorporating digital tactics into our marketing strategy. For the sake of this post I’ll focus on one aspect of this, digital advertising, because there is no end to the challenges a marketing team faces on this topic.

Some of the challenges of digital advertising for mid-sized B2B companies are (but definitely not limited to):

  • Attribution – What is the lead really attributed to?
  • Small audience sizes – Your target audience is very specific
  • Conversions – Lead time to conversion, defining what a conversion is, and questioning why more traffic to the website isn’t converting
  • Knowing when to to walk away from a strategy or tactic
  • Knowing when to jump into a new technology
  • How to be agile

However, the two biggest issues that we encounter are:

  1. The à la carte platforms are designed for business to consumer product advertising.
  2. The platforms that are actually designed to meet the needs of a business to business company are stupidly expensive.

So How Do You Leverage the À la Carte Platforms to Keep Your Budget in Check and Meet Your Marketing Goals?

Think like B2C but optimize like B2B:

  • Have more than 1 conversion point in your lead funnel.
  • Have multiple campaigns to hit leads at different stages of their buying lifecycle.
  • Build your brand through awareness campaigns.
  • Don’t be afraid of new technologies.
  • Leverage each channel based on their unique audiences. Every channel has a different ROI and each has to have its own budget, optimization schedule, and time commitment.

In order to do any one of them though, you need to know your personas and target audiences. The more familiar you are with the audience you’re trying to reach, the more easily you can leverage the ad platforms to drive for conversions and the ROI you need.

What Have We Done to Overcome These Challenges?

  1. Don’t just focus on one platform: If there are keywords working on one platform, figure out a way to incorporate them into other platforms.
  2. Focus on goals: Spend time reviewing your website to identify user goals for every visit, and create ad campaigns across all channels that will drive traffic attempting to achieve that goal, specifically.
  3. Always be testing: Things are always changing, messaging can always be improved, and need states aren’t the same from day to day.
  4. Always be researching: Data is one of the biggest differences between the marketing of old, and modern marketing. Use it.
  5. Stay Alert: Watch your competitors so they don’t mimic your success.

The Best Recommendation I Can Make to Any B2B Marketer: Know When It’s Time to Walk

In B2C strategies, it’s really easy to know when to kill a strategy -- when it’s not converting. But in B2B, it’s not so straight-forward. Attribution challenges and long lead conversion timelines affect this. Sometimes, you’re willing to keep trying to see if a channel or tactic will start to convert, because, well, you’ve seen it work for other companies or you just think it should. And other times you don’t think it will, it doesn’t, and yet you still feel like you should be doing it.

Let’s keep in mind that just because you kill a campaign, strategy, tactic, or channel now, doesn’t mean you can’t relaunch it and try again in the future. If something is not working, adjust your budget and move on.