Digital Marketing Strategies
A B2B digital marketing strategy should take a proactive approach in response to challenges and opportunities that are not only unique to the business, but that also affect the industry at large. Additionally, the digital marketing strategy should keep an eye out for better ways of doing business and disruptive technologies that could both provide substantial competitive advantages.
Any decent marketing strategy is comprised of three main elements including:
- Business goals and objectives to be measured within a specific time frame
- Campaigns and actions to fulfill the goals and objectives
- Tactics, tools, and resources needed to efficiently and successfully implement campaigns and activities
Marketers should plan, budget, and execute their digital marketing strategies by taking into account their current position and the general trajectory that they wish to take towards their goals. Success will be defined by both the goals set right from the start and the journey towards those goals. What this means is that a cut-and-paste approach, no matter how good it is, will not necessarily lead to success. Objective assessment of your marketing team, which includes taking into account competition from other players in your space, is necessary. Another important variable in the equation is ROI. Basically, you need to consider how your efforts in different marketing channels measure against each other.
If you understand what your team is capable of and if you know where you need to build efficiencies, then identifying areas of improvement and integrating them as goals and objectives in your digital marketing strategy will become straight-forward. With this in mind, here are some of the strategies that you should take into account in 2019 if you want to maximize your energy, time, and money.
1. Have a documented marketing plan
More and more businesses today recognize the benefits of having a calculated, strategic approach to marketing. A documented marketing plan inspires B2B companies to consider their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), within their industry landscape. A formal documented plan combines situational analysis of your brand and market research to help your business stay ahead of the competition.
One way to get started is by:
- Bringing together a team (the team can include a marketing agency, marketing professionals and others) and then brainstorming to find the businesses biggest competitors
- Conducting a SWOT analysis for each competitor.
- Cross-referencing the SWOT analysis for each competitor against your business to find your strengths and weaknesses as a whole
- Then develop a brand strategy that includes the right messaging that strategically markets features that differentiate your brand and that make it stand out as being better than other brands.
According to the 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report by the Sagefrog marketing group, 66% of businesses have a documented marketing plan. If you don’t have a documented plan, then you will most likely lag behind others.
2. Pegging the right spend on digital marketing
Most companies peg a significant portion of their yearly budget on marketing. In fact, according to the 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report, 38% of B2B companies spend 10+% on their marketing budget. This significant portion of the budget allocated to marketing is a reflection of the stiff competition in the marketing arena.
What this means for marketing strategies in 2019 is that at least 10% of revenue should be spent on marketing to take advantage of available tactics, tools, and resources.
The top four tactics implemented by B2B companies in order of priority include:
- Email Marketing (according to 78% of B2B marketers)
- Search Engine Optimization (75% of B2B marketers)
- Social Media & Social Media Advertising (75% of B2B marketers)
- Blogging and Content Marketing (66% of B2B marketers)
3. Choose the right partners
A majority of B2B companies (63%) consistently outsource their marketing efforts to agencies. The idea is to manage internal resources more efficiently and effectively as well as diversify their capability and capacity by outsourcing to marketing experts.
With such a vast number of tools, tactics, strategies, resources, across Inbound, digital and traditional marketing methods, it can be quite daunting for in-house teams to manage it all. Successful in-house marketing teams find ways to collaborate with the best to achieve their marketing goals and objectives. Regardless of the size of the B2B company, (enterprise level to a sole proprietorship), the skill of choosing the right partner to complement one’s strengths and weaknesses is critically important. Finding the right synergy will be based on an objective assessment of situational analysis, market research, budget, objectives, culture, and rapport with the marketing agency.
4. Choose between project contracts and retainer contracts
There is a close balance in the choice between project contracts and retainer contracts with B2B marketing agencies (53% retainer contracts and 47% project contracts according to the 2019 B2B marketing Mix Report).
Most B2B companies tend to choose retainer contracts because they want to build long-term relationships with their marketing agencies. This way, they can develop their digital marketing strategy together instead of only hiring the marketing agency when reacting to immediate pressure. Marketers that use the retainer model are also attracted by the fact that they value and depend on their marketing agencies as guides across the vast, nuanced, and fast-paced digital marketing landscape.
Projects contracts are not to be ignored. They are best used for marketing initiatives that have a definite time frame with tangible results. Appropriate use cases include website development, the design of graphics and other visual content.
5. Choose the right B2B marketing strategy toolbox
In as much as hiring a marketing agency is quite useful in many ways, there are currently many tools, tactics, and resources that B2B marketers can tap into to get a lot done within a reasonable time frame. These sophisticated, data-driven, highly targeted tools are capable of helping marketers build immersive customer experiences.
Several different B2B marketing technology stacks exist depending on what you may want to achieve. These marketing stacks can be categorized and visualized in 4 main ways including:
- Buyer journey: e.g., lead conversion, awareness, sales conversion, nurturing
- Marketing function: e.g., analytics, lead management, content
- ‘Circuit board’ of how components are connected around data flow
- Layer cake architecture where platforms are the foundation and specialized components are layered on the platforms.
Building a robust digital marketing foundation is the best way to start 2019 if you haven’t already done so. Whichever digital marketing tactics you use should be informed by this strong foundation. In doing so, execution will be a lot more efficient and effective, while being less prone to stress and immediate pressures of the day. Have a bountiful 2019!