I have had around 6 years of experience in the B2B industry mainly infrastructure/construction. Companies in this industry especially in India are the ones you least expect to bring in technology till recently. My exposure with how B2B companies in this industry can leverage digital medium was sparked when I joined Buildzar.com. Buildzar came into existence to provide an online marketplace for construction marketplace. Another organization that I worked for manufactured high end elevators and escalators. This organization had developed tools where the customer could experience the feel and experience of using the product through their website. Customers could see the elevators from inside and customize the same according to their tastes. I remember my first company ACC Ltd, a large cement manufacturer which hardly had any presence on Social media, has a very strong presence on social media today. As per a 2015 survey by Regalix, 92% percent of B2B marketers shared content on social media. Email, which was 95%, was a close third. My personal experience of the use of digital media more or less developed with Buildzar, an ecommerce startup, which was involved in selling construction material online. Buildzar mainly focused on Inbound marketing and later on, to some extent outbound marketing (both search and display), leads were generated through the site, through just dial, blogs etc. Being an ecommerce company it was an obvious decision to invest in SCO and SEO. Soon it became one of the top ranked site for online construction material. Buildzar was also very particular about aspects such as user experience of the main site, layout of the site etc. It was unfortunate. The company could not gain traction because of some revenue generation issues and margins even though it had made created considerable impact and buzz.
B2B marketers are shifting focus from traditional channels to digital. Many companies have started to feel that the customer’s digital experience fits into the company’s marketing plan and have started to give greater budget shares for the same. Also B2B organizations rely many times on sales representatives for increasing revenue, but digital media can greatly assist the sales representatives in developing their sales funnel and focusing on the core segment customers. This also gives the advantage to weed away customers not relevant as customers through analytics. In general digital media if effectively used can help in increasing marketing budget efficiency. For example a company can hold a webinar for several organizations at once.
GE, a pioneer organization in leveraging social media; one of GE’s brilliantly simplistic ad describes how the GE has managed to humanize its brand.
GE has not only restricted itself to such campaigns but has gone to the extent of partnering with crowdsourcing community of data scientists to optimize two big ‘aerial’ problems : Air traffic control and patient experience in healthcare. GE has several such initiatives. It manages to curate all these efforts consistently by using a smart aggregation on to their main website.
It is not only important for organizations to bring in customers, it is just as important to nurture these leads. Some methods such as maximizing leads through landing pages can help your inbound campaigns whereas profiles and welcome emails help building relationship. It is important for the business to set up clear marketing and business goals. Lead nurturing has developed into the most significant outcome of marketing automation software, and it will become one of the most important digital marketing tactics in the future.
Since I have background in Sales and marketing in the B2B field, it always intrigued me how technology could replace complex functions like hunting and farming of prospective organizational customers. Although technology has not been able to completely replace the presence of sales representatives for the above mentioned tactics, I discovered that Account based advertising can certainly help. The following are three possible ways how it can do so: 1) Personal profiles on Facebook and Linkedin contain where you work and the same can be used by the marketer and advertiser for targeting ads. 2) IP targeting: this can be used to target ads to people in specific companies. This can be very experience when the target company is very large such as IBM such methods can prove to be very expensive. 3) Onboarding offline databases: Many companies want to convert their offline customer database into online database. B2B organizations have large amount of data but their ability to utilize the same is only possible if several tools can run and focus on several customer groups add or remove demographics.
GE : Rohitbhargava.com
Bain Infographic by Jonathan Frick and Mark Kovac
Marketers get on board the offline to online data train by Kate Kaye
The top B2B marketing strategies by Chris Leone