Examples of What Good B2B Marketing Looks Like
First, we must thoroughly understand what B2B marketing is. It’s actually a really simple early 2000’s Internet acronym for “business to business.” B2B marketing is the art of a business marketing their products and services to another business. This is a completely different ball game from B2C marketing which—you guessed it—stands for business to consumer marketing. B2C marketing takes on a more pathos approach to marketing, while B2B marketing communicates product and service value at a higher level. Think about it: who provides toilet paper for the Nike corporate office in Beaverton, Oregon? And who replenishes CNN’s headquarters water cooler where employees discuss the day’s latest news—whether internal or external? A B2B company provides these services, consultations, products, and more to help meet specific needs for another business or organization.
An example of a B2B market in our day and age is the construction and development industry. For the most part, construction companies outsource their contracts to several different specialized contractors or businesses. For example, let’s say a large construction business lands a contract to build a new school in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Smaller, specialized construction businesses would hear about this and start pitching proposals for the larger contract. From electrical, plumbing, brick-laying, demolishing, etc., different businesses would market their services to this larger business. This same concept can be applied to virtually any market or industry.
There are several different types of B2B markets that business owners should be aware of in order to maximize their efforts.
Traditional B2B Services: These include the aforementioned examples of tangible goods and services being provided. Other examples include cash registers and business technologies from IBM, and uniforms for hospital staff from CINTAS.
Online B2B services: From web development, graphic design, and more, B2B companies that offer online services are steadily taking over the B2B market space. The technological age has paved the way for strictly online platform services and software to gain significant traction. Examples include Salesforce and Hubspot.
E-Procurement Sites: In the 21st century, virtually everything is convenient, and the procurement of supplies is no different. This unique B2B market focuses on providing the most up-to-date information concerning trends in procurement and serves as a broker for the supplier and the business wishing to purchase the supplies.
Examples of Failed B2B Marketing Campaigns
The best way to learn is from mistakes. Failure is a stepping stone to success and the characteristics that lead to failed B2B marketing campaigns are an incredible opportunity to gain insight into the best (and worst) practices.
- Disregarding social media marketing
- Guest blogs
- Lack of proper data usage
- Targeted vs. general campaigns
Disregarding Social Media Marketing
The biggest mistake that businesses make when conducting B2B marketing campaigns is ignoring the most influential digital platforms - social media. Unfortunately, businesses often discredit the power of social media marketing and presence. Did you know that 3.4 BILLION (not million) people worldwide utilize social media? Not engaging this powerful platform is a killer in B2B marketing campaigns.
Most businesses assume that the “higher-ups” or C-Suite level decision-makers of the businesses they are targeting, don’t engage on social media but that is far from the truth. The numbers don’t lie, and if 45% of the world’s population is on social media, then chances are the VP of Sales or CMO of the companies you’re pitching proposals to, are reposting controversial political tweets or giving a Happy Father’s Day shout out to their husbands on Facebook.
In addition to this misconception, many businesses assume that social media is primarily a B2C (business to consumer) platform. Again, that assumption can cost B2B campaign hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars. Why else would businesses spend nearly $93 billion dollars a year on social media marketing?
So, how can a business maximize their B2B marketing campaign on social media? Well, the truth of the matter is that it will take time to build a following, consistently engage users, develop an online presence, and reinforce your brand. However, these steps are critical to the sustainability of a B2B marketing campaign and are guaranteed to generate leads when done the right way.
Another common mistake is contributing as a guest blogger to just any website. With guest blogging, the saying is most certainly true: quality over quantity, at all times. A good rule of thumb is to recognize that if you don't visit the potential guest blogging site, then chances are your audience won’t either. Aim for relevancy and quality when choosing a website to contribute to.
While this may limit your options, it will help increase the quality of your company by maintaining brand integrity. The key to developing a great guest blog is to make sure your content is not only relevant but that it also contains valuable information and key takeaways that your prospective client can walk away with. This means you should strive to make your blog the ultimate resource for whatever topic you’re covering.
Lack of Proper Data Usage
With B2B marketing, the last thing you want to do is “guess” anything. The vast amount of data analysis software and tools available are a gold mine for implementing targeted and evidence-based strategies. Many businesses fail in their B2B marketing campaigns because they don’t take the time to conduct the proper market research on trends in their industry, their clients and their internal systems.
Without the proper data analysis tools to identify your customer base and measure and track your progress, you’ll simply be taking a shot in the dark. An expensive, long, shot in the dark, dark web. A successful B2B marketing campaign understands its customer base and creates a B2B marketing campaign around this data.
For example, what are their pain points, their interests, their level of education, and more. This data can make or break your campaign. Data analysis allows you to understand the language your customer base is speaking so that you can communicate with them more effectively.
Targeted vs. General Campaigns
B2B marketing campaigns are not a “one size fits all.” In fact, that misconception has cost businesses a lot of valuable leads and potential clients. Piggybacking off of the previous mistake of disregarding data, failed B2B marketing campaigns tend to follow a particular pattern of not tending to a specific market or client need.
For example, a SaaS business provides social media management software products and uses the headline “Social Media management for business made easy.” While this might generate interest, it is quite broad in nature and does not immediately capture a tailored pain point. A more compelling campaign would be “Social media management software for B2C marketers.” In this way, you are speaking directly to a group of people who would most benefit from your business but also allow for other groups who may be interested in the general service to garner interest.
Examples of B2B Marketing Campaigns & the Industry Leaders to Mimic
Federal agents are taught to spot a counterfeit bill not by studying what makes the counterfeit a counter but by studying the genuine bill and its characteristics. The security features, the distinct paper it’s printed on and the unique watermarks are surefire proofs of the real deal. In the same sense, identifying and studying the patterns and trends of industry leaders in B2B marketing will give predictive insight and business intelligence on how to develop strategic campaigns for your company’s B2B needs.
B2B Business Name
Characteristics that Made it Successful
“What is HubSpot” video
A short 2:30 video on the death of traditional marketing techniques and benefits of inbound marketing utilizing HubSpot.
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“SnowBoards”: Tongue-in-cheek print advertising.
Intriguing statements that capture the attention of businesses looking for a data storage business. For example: “Grillin’, Chillin’, & SQL-in’ — The Zero Maintenance Cloud Data Warehouse.”
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Billboards—Snowflake proves that traditional marketing techniques can be revolutionized for the 21st century.
Social Media (ongoing)
Drift’s people-centered approach to marketing engages its current and prospective clients on a higher level than most organizations. They take the time to respond to tweets, retweets, posts, reviews and more.
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Twitter and other social media platforms
“Watson” on Jeopardy
IBM implemented its supercomputer “Watson” into a segment of the game show Jeopardy. The healthcare AI machine won the show and IBM split the proceeds between two charities. The B2B payoff came when IBM’s AI, Watson, became a lung specialist. Health care entities began to purchase the AI services form IBM to help providers make informed decisions about patient treatments.
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There are countless of other B2B marketing campaigns that haven’t made the list. The one thing many of these industry leaders have in common is an analytical software that turns a good marketing campaign into an extraordinary one. If you own or work for a B2B company, investing in these tools will significantly improve your B2B marketing to help guide your decision making and maximize your campaigns. Anyleads has a wealth of tools, resources, and support to help you and your B2B company make the best of your marketing efforts.
Looking Ahead at B2B Marketing to Prepare for 2020
Being ahead of the game is a tremendous competitive advantage in B2B marketing.
Nine times out of ten, you’re simply re-inventing the wheel with innovation and creativity. But with technology steadily advancing and changing the way we make choices, shop and more, understanding the upcoming trends and insights are crucial to maximizing your campaign efforts.
- Human-centric insights
- Leveraging advanced marketing software, tools, and technology
- Voice marketing
- Engaging visual content
Data-driven decisions are effective in getting to the “what” needs to be done but human-centric insight gets to the heart, or the “why.” With the big push for analytics and predictive business intelligence, incorporating the people-centered approach in your B2B marketing campaign is going to be crucial to maintaining relevancy and relatability.
Even though you are pithing to other companies who sell businesses and services as well, the fact remains that there is a human on the other end of that email or social media post. Why people make certain buying choices, why they choose certain communication methods over others, and more are all questions that can’t be answered by just looking at the numbers. But in 2020 and the upcoming years, it is imperative that you are able to listen to buyer insights and answer these questions— a human-centric approach will help you get to the root, allowing you to build a more successful campaign.
Leveraging Advanced Marketing Software, Tools & Technology
From friendly chatbots to targeted marketing utilizing local GPS search features, the technological advantages for B2B marketers are ever-increasing and increasing rapidly. To keep in line with the big dogs, you have to stay up-to-date with the latest available technology that will help advance your B2B marketing efforts. Don’t settle for what worked in 2017 up until now.
With new & improved SaaS constantly surfacing, it is in the best interest of your company’s needs to identify what the next technological steps will look like in 2020, in alignment with your strategic planning sessions. Anyleads has a great variety of marketing tools and software that can help drive your B22 marketing campaigns from email automated software to friendly, AI-powered chatbot features.
Currently, one billion monthly searches are conducted through a voice search feature. Studies show that by 2020, roughly 50% of all searches will be conducted through voice automated features. By 2022, OC&C Strategy Consultants estimate that $40 billion worth of shopping will be done using voice search features. Needless to say, voice marketing is a crucial component for any B2B company and the sooner you capitalize on it, the better. From wearable technology such as Apple Watches and smart speakers such as Alexa, the use of voice marketing is an exciting opportunity for B2B marketers to explore and leverage for their ranking and growth benefits.
Since this is a relatively new space, there is a lot of room for innovation in how to effectively utilize voice marketing. One example includes voice-enabled chatbots that will help with user engagement and customer experience. Another more costly feature would be to utilize the “Alexa Skill” service provided by Amazon that would tailor the AI from Alexa to your B2B’s mobile application. However, this option is quite expensive and requires a significant amount of research and development.
Engaging Visual Content
While this is technically not a new strategy, it is going to have to become a large component of your B2B marketing strategy if it’s not already. With attention spans getting shorter and shorter, the need to captivate a prospective client’s attention within the first 5-10 seconds is becoming as important as the entire campaigns itself. Whether it’s through B2B influencer marketing or email campaigns, creating engaging visual content such as videos, animations, infographics, etc., are going to become a priority in 2020. With dozens of other B2B companies vying for the same client, your content is going to have to be witty, creative and engaging.
Best B2B Marketing Automation Examples
B2B marketing automation is not just an opportunity for your business to utilize human capital effectively. A short summary provided by Marketo defines marketing automation as “a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.” When done right, automated marketing can turn leads into business, upsell products for current clients, and creatively keep your contacts engaged, promoting your brand awareness and integrity. Marketing automation software can do a variety of tasks from CRM software that monitors daily users and tracking their movement across your website to email marketing software that sends routine automated emails to your contacts based on predefined settings and parameters.
Below is a list with some examples of how you can leverage automated technology for your B2B campaigns and get an idea of the innovative methods you can utilize for your business needs:
- Email marketing
- Chat features and notifications
- Data prospecting
- Lead nurturing
This method of automated marketing targets both prospective and current clients. The key to successful email marketing campaigns lies in two distinct areas:
a) Marketing Automation Software: Utilizing the appropriate software for your company’s needs will require you to conduct adequate research on the different providers, their benefits and if they align with your marketing budget. Anyleads specializes in user-friendly email drip campaigns that can help bring a competitive edge to your marketing efforts.
b) Relevant Workflows: With the use of marketing automation software, you can program email workflows that are designated by the data that is relevant to the individual contact. The automated software will identify key triggers to the workflows including a new customer, a blog subscriber or a prospective client who downloaded a free eBook. Workflow content can be categorized by relevance such as industry-related topic workflows, blog subscriber workflows, onboarding workflows and more. By designating your software to initiate email campaigns based on data, you increase your chances for both conversion and retention.
Chat Features and Notifications
Considering the number of prospective clients visiting your website, you want to take advantage of their attention while it’s in the grasp of their interest. If they are visiting your website, they are intrigued to some extent by your products and services. Automated marketing software that can engage them with an artificial intelligence chatbot, then redirect them to a live person who can further assist them. Another useful feature that comes with chatbots is the notifications that pop up on the user’s tab while they are on the website. Similar to notifications from when a user gets a message from one of their social media outlets, this automated feature capitalizes on the human nature of curiosity (and a little FOMO).
Creating an email campaign is one thing, but sending it to the right people is another. You can write the best emails with amazing communications but if you’re not sending it to the decision-makers and influencers, it will all be for nothing. This is where an automated data prospecting tool comes in handy. This software service is able to generate a list of emails based on domain names. For example, say you wanted to email someone working at LinkedIn. If you input the email domain name for LinkedIn (@linkedin.com), then the automated software would populate a spreadsheet with email addresses from that domain. This is notably helpful in making sure your B2B marketing efforts are being funneled in the right direction.
Once you secure a lead through lead generation, you are responsible to maintain the prospective interest through lead nurturing. Marketing automation software is a great way to do so by being consistent in follow-ups, educating, informing, engaging and eventually converting the prospect into a paying client. By utilizing automated features in marketing software, you can create automated, timely email cycles that don’t necessarily push for the “big ask” upfront. Instead, this method “nurtures” the prospect by providing valuable resources, building rapport and educate the leads.
B2B Influencer Marketing Examples that Drive Engagement
Influencer marketing is another hot topic in the B2B marketing world. For some reason, no matter what the context is, a barber, a coffee shop, a B2B product or service — consumers trust the opinion of other consumers. Influencer marketing takes this human trait and magnifies it to leverage the fame and persona of an “influencer”— social media influencers, celebrities, and industry experts—to gain new customers and retain current clients.
Before you consider beginning an influencer marketing campaign, there are certain parameters you need to clearly define when selecting your influencers. Your marketing team should ask themselves:
- Have you determined the audience you want to connect to — a group that you haven’t been able to reach, a specific industry, professions, etc.?
- Does this influencer align with the vision, mission, values, and culture of the company?
- Do they align with the “persona” you intend to connect with?
- Is this influencer relevant to the target population you want to reach?
- Do they have a footprint in this audience and so, is it a positive one?
- What social media channels do they have the most impact on and is that an area of need for your company?
After you have identified the right influencer(s), you want to build a creative campaign around the influencer’s strengths and your company's needs. The following table provides examples of some of the best influencer marketing examples and characteristics of what made these campaigns successful.
One of the best ways to meet influencers and other industry leaders is by attending some of the best B2B marketing conferences. These conferences are held all over the world, year-round, and one can truly benefit from meeting their peers and potential leads and customers face to face.
Influencer Marketing Campaign
The communications company recruited IT professionals to discuss their experience with Cisco products and general IT knowledge relevant to their industry.
American Express recruits influential bloggers and social media sites to use this hashtag to promote their premium business services.
Landis + Gyr
They created a campaign that made the most of their human capital that was already active on social media outlets.
Nick Offerman Yule & Log Video
This creative ad won the Shorty Award and captivated 2 million people in one week. The video simple featured celebrity Nick Offerman drinking the whiskey brand by a fireplace, witty spin on the popular videos.
B2B Social Media Marketing Examples that Generate Leads
This comprehensive guide would be insufficient without some excellent examples of social media marketing from the best in the industry. These B2B companies have been able to create a massive following with consistent crowd engagement. They've been able to develop a presence wherewith followers are eager—not annoyed—by their consistent tweets, posts, blogs and more.
Intel: This long-standing giant in the tech space keeps up with the trending movements of pop culture through its participation on Twitter. One example is their #ILookLikeAnEngineer posts that highlighted engineers within their company.
Citrix: Citrix’s Instagram page doesn’t have as many posts as its competitors but they ensure that the quality of their social media content makes up for it. With their “GoToMeeting” campaign, Citrix only posts resourceful and valuable content for their followers which helps build their credibility.
GE: General Electric uses LinkedIn as an opportunity to streamline its massive information base, into easy to digest posts relevant to the professionals and businesses who follow them. Through LinkedIn’s diverse features, GE is able to provide bite-size updates and combine it with long, detailed article posts.
HP: HP is another tech giant that has been able to attract a following on social media. Their campaigns are multifaceted in that they show off HP’s tech abilities while still engaging their audience. For example, one of their Facebook posts provided data for the most talked-about beaches on Twitter and then asked their audience to provide their input on the summer’s best beaches.
Adobe: If you ask any creative, having your products displayed and received well are a sure-fire way to toot their horn. Adobe capitalizes on this niche group of creatives by using a seasonal hashtag where followers can submit their artwork — graphic design, logos, photography, etc. If selected, the creative software company will feature the artists’ work on their page. Through this campaign, Adobe is able to create a community surrounding its users while also increasing user engagement.
So, now that you have the fundamentals of getting started on your B2B marketing campaign, you have to go out there and take the first steps! At Anyleads, we have a variety of tools and services that can help you put your best foot forward, From email automation to lead generation, our goal is to support you and your B2B company get results!